Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Do you buy an EV or do the Dolphins get it? Activists now hope that our love for dolphins will lead us to accept their claims about wild climates.
Devastating skin disease that covers up to 70% of a dolphin's body and is related to climate change
from the Marine Mammal Center
DECEMBER 18, 2020
Scientists at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California, the world's largest marine mammal hospital, and international colleagues have identified a novel skin disease in dolphins that is related to climate change. The study is a landmark discovery as it was the first time since the disease first appeared in 2005 that scientists were able to link a cause to the condition affecting coastal dolphin communities around the world. Due to the decreased salt levels in the water caused by climate change, dolphins develop patchy and raised skin lesions on their bodies that sometimes cover more than 70 percent of their skin.
At all of these locations A sudden and drastic drop in salinity in the waters was the common factor. Coastal dolphins are used to seasonal changes in salinity in their marine habitat, but do not live in freshwater. The increasing severity and frequency of storm events such as hurricanes and cyclones, especially when preceded by drought conditions, results in unusual amounts of rain that turn coastal waters into fresh water. Freshwater conditions can persist for months, especially after strong storms like Hurricanes Harvey and Katrina. With climatic temperatures rising, climatologists have predicted that extreme storms like these will be more common and, consequently, lead to more frequent and severe disease outbreaks in dolphins.
The deadly skin disease was first identified by researchers on around 40 bottlenose dolphins near New Orleans in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.
Read more: https://phys.org/news/2020-12-devastating-skin-disease-dolphin-body.html
The referenced study is a little less certain about the link between climate change and dolphin health.
… Forecasts assume that air temperatures on land will rise in large parts of Australia in the coming decades and that precipitation will decrease. The combination of these drivers is likely to result in decreased overall runoff, and hence decreased electricity flow and decreased lake storage. However, current climate models are particularly limited with respect to coastal and freshwater systems, making them difficult to use for biological impact and adaptation studies. That's why, How exactly the warming temperatures interact with the complex interaction between the drivers described above is uncertainHowever, it is expected that the extreme precipitation and the frequency of severe weather events such as floods, storms and cyclones will increase in the future.
Read more: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-78858-2
Nobody likes to see animals suffer. I think we should all be grateful that our modern fossil fuel economies give us the wealth and leisure time to care for sick animals.