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El Nino shifting marine life


12-02-2015 15:18 BJT

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As world leaders gather in Paris to seek a deal on tackling climate change, millions of people around the world are suffering the impacts of a strong El Nino weather pattern. El Nino is a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific. Marine life normally seen in tropical regions are showing up in California due to the phenomenon.

The mega El Nino is stirring up more than just warmer waters in the Pacific. Marine life normally seen in tropical regions like Mexico and Hawaii are showing up in California. 

Hammerheads have been sighted in Los Angeles. Venomous sea snakes have washed up north of LA in Ventura a first.

Whale sharks have been spotted in San Diego as well as wahoo and yellowfin tuna, to the delight of fishermen who have never seen anything like this.

All of this unusual activity is a treat for spectators, but for marine life, warmer waters spell trouble. 

Animals like the sea lion, that have been stranding themselves on California beaches in record numbers this year.Here at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, they've rescued about 540 sea lions so far this year, which is far more than usual. But what's even more troubling is that they're starting to re-strand themselves, which means there's really no food out there in the warming ocean waters.

And what's more disturbing is El Nino's consistency. Back to back systems are compounding the problem, giving no time for marine life to recover. 

And if this mass crab death in California earlier this year is a precursor to what lies ahead, the Godzilla of El Ninos will show little mercy.



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