Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Emerald Isle, Emerald Sea

When we arrived here in the west of Ireland in June my wife said, "The sea looks greener than usual."

I pooh-poohed her observation. "It's your sunglasses," I said.

Well, maybe not. Scientists at the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science in Plymouth, England, have been surveying plankton in waters around Britain and Ireland for more than 50 years. A year-round bloom of green algae is making the sea visibly greener, they say.

Presumably another result of global warming. Stronger ocean currents are bringing warm water and nutrients from the south. Last year the temperature of the North Sea was 3 degrees C higher than normal, say the researchers.

"Here, put on your sunglasses and read this," says my wife, as she hands me the story in the London Times.