Whale Deaths On the Rise in Alaska
American scientists have reported a sharp increase in the number of dead whales found in the Gulf of Alaska. From May through August, 30 whales washed up along the coast of Alaska.
Scientists say there may be a connection between the animals' deaths and warming waters. They say the Arctic is getting warmer faster than any place on the planet.
Deborah Fauquier is a marine mammal scientist at NOAA – the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She wants to learn why so many whales have died this year.
"And the average for the whole year generally is eight. So it is definitely a significantly elevated (level) and for us that was a reason of concern."
She says scientists have formed some ideas about what caused the deaths.
"We might be able to, you know, figure out ‘is it a virus?' ‘Is it,' you know, ‘a ship strike?' ‘Is it a harmful algal bloom?'"
Algae are simply plants or plant-like organisms. Most algae are safe. But scientists say the less-common toxic alga can cause brain damage or even death. In June, the largest alga bloom in more than 10 years was seen along the Pacific coast, from California to Alaska. Scientists say it grew big because of warm water and sunny, calm weather. The alga bloom forced officials to close fishing areas in several states.
Deborah Fauquier says scientists will look for evidence of the harmful alga in the whales.
"So some of the whales actually filter the phytoplankton and the zooplankton, which are the little insects that eat the grass in the sea, basically. So, they get the toxins through that method. The other one is that they eat the fish that eat those. So it just depends where on the food web they eat and as you go higher up the food web, more toxin gets concentrated."
The waters around Alaska began warming in 2014. The water temperature continues rising. It is now three degrees Celsius warmer than normal.
Scientists blame the weather event known as "El Nino" and wind patterns for the warming. The scientists say the warming is not linked to climate change. But industrial gas emissions are warming the planet. They are causing the Arctic to warm faster than anywhere else.
At the beginning of the melt season, Arctic sea ice was at its lowest level ever recorded. Mrs. Fauquier says that is a problem for marine mammals. Polar bears and walruses, for example, live and breed on the ice and use it as a place from which to hunt.
"For Arctic species -- species that normally like cold water -- it is going to change the phytoplankton, so it's going to change the base of the food web. It is going to change the fish. They may go farther north because they don't like warm water. And so then the predators that are mobile are going to have to follow those fish or if they can't follow them, then they can starve."
Mrs. Fauquier says NOAA hopes to learn why so many whales died. She said knowing the cause is the first step to understanding how to solve the problem.
I'm Bob Doughty.
1.the number of ...的数量
Well I can't help but appreciate the number of times they've saved this world.
2.washed up 洗漱；冲刷
There's a bathroom on this floor if you would like to wash up before dinner.
Thunderstorm is much less common in Ireland than in England.
Having failed my French exams, I decided to concentrate on science subjects.
1.Scientists blame the weather event known as "El Nino" and wind patterns for the warming. The scientists say the warming is not linked to climate change. But industrial gas emissions are warming the planet. They are causing the Arctic to warm faster than anywhere else.
linked to 有关；与...相连
Agriculture is linked to industry through rural expenditure on manufactures.
The hearts of the people of all the nationalities are linked to each other.
2.At the beginning of the melt season, Arctic sea ice was at its lowest level ever recorded. Mrs. Fauquier says that is a problem for marine mammals. Polar bears and walruses, for example, live and breed on the ice and use it as a place from which to hunt.
breed 繁殖 ；饲养
Penguins and seals breed on the icy shores and fish for krill in the cool water.
Thousands of waterfowl breed round the lake and live off the fish.
据美国科学家报告称，阿拉斯加湾的死亡鲸鱼数量在急剧上升 。仅从五月到八月，阿拉斯加湾就已有30头鲸鱼被冲上海岸 。
科学家表示，鲸鱼死亡很可能与水温变暖有关 。北极变暖的速度比全球任何地方都要快 。
德博拉·福基尔（Deborah Fauquier）是美国国家海洋和大气管理局(NOAA)的一位海洋哺乳动物学家 。她想知道为什么今年会有这么多鲸鱼死亡 。
她表示，“一般每年死亡的鲸鱼数量为8头 。现在死亡数量明显增加，这令我们非常担忧 。”
藻类是一种常见的植物或植物样生物 。大部分藻类是安全的 。但是科学家表示，一些少见的有毒藻类会造成脑损伤甚至死亡 。今年六月，从加州到阿拉斯加的太平洋沿岸发现了近10多年以来最大规模的藻华 。科学家们表示，藻类之所以疯长是因为温暖的水温和充足的日照 。这种藻华的疯长迫使政府关闭了数个州的捕鱼区 。
她还表示，“实际上，某些鲸鱼会因吃掉以海草为生的浮游动物或是浮游植物而导致毒素进入体内 。另一方面它们捕食那些吃浮游生物的鱼类 。所以这取决于鲸鱼捕食的动物在食物链中的位置 。层级越高的捕食者摄入的毒素就会越多 。”
从2014年起，阿拉斯加周边水域的温度开始变暖，水温还在继续上升 。目前水温比正常温度高三摄氏度 。
科学家将这一气候事件归咎于厄尔尼诺现象及暖气流 。科学家表示，水温变暖和气候变化没有关系 。工业废气排放是全球变暖的主要原因，同样也是导致北极地区比任何地方升温都快的根源 。
融化期刚开始时，北极海冰达到了记录以来的最低水平 。福基尔女士称，这对海洋哺乳动物来说是个问题 。例如以此作为狩猎之地进行生活和繁殖的北极熊和海象 。
“对于喜欢低温水域的北极生物来说，水温变暖会使浮游生物发生改变，从而改变食物链的基础，进而改变鱼类 。由于鱼类不喜欢生活在温水里，它们可能向北迁徙 。这样那些捕食者将不得不跟随这些鱼类迁徙 。否则它们就会饿死 。”
福基尔女士声称，美国国家海洋和大气管理局想要弄清楚为什么会有这么多鲸鱼死亡 。她说，弄清楚原因是解决这一问题的第一步 。