Gippsland’s Seas are Warming 17.4.15

A CSIRO article by Alistair Hobday and Jason Hartog entitled Sea temperatures and climate change in Victoria clearly illustrates that the ocean is warming in the Gippsland region. This warming is pronounced. They note that in “…eastern Victoria, offshore water temperatures are influenced by the East Australia Current (EAC), which flows south. This current does not penetrate into Bass Strait, as the Bass Strait flow is generally from west to east. The seasonal cycle of the EAC along the east coast is visible as warm water pulses pushing south in the summer, and then a retraction of warm water to the north in winter.”

The article identifies a 0.8C increase in our sea temperatures above the long term average. Whilst this “…doesn’t sound like much, it can have a real impact on Victoria’s marine ecosystems and fish distributions. Marine species have their own set of conditions they prefer to live in, like temperature and pH. Some biota will move (if they can) – also known as shifting their range – in search of these conditions if things get too hot at home. Others may adapt well to warming seas; while some will not survive in the changing conditions.”

An example of this is “…the Common Sydney Octopus (Octopus tetricus), usually found in NSW and southern Queensland seas, has been spotted in Victorian waters in recent years. It’s no wonder some marine animals are being spotted further south of their usual range: possibly looking for cooler waters?” A number of other species can be added to this example including four species of shark and a number of otherwise unidentified jellyfish species that are now found in the Gippsland Lakes. All this is just another example that shows that concerted action on climate change is needed now. The full article can be accessed here.