The seas around Bermuda have already started to suffer from damage caused by climate change, an island researcher has warned.
Nick Bates, a senior scientist and director of research at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Science, said Bermuda’s waters had become warmer, saltier, more acidic and less oxygenated.
He added that there was “no easy fix” for the environmental damage and that conditions would get worse before they got better.
Dr Bates said BIOS had tracked ocean changes since the 1950s and they had accelerated in the last decade.
He added: “In the last ten years, the oceans around Bermuda have warmed by nearly 1°C.
“In the last forty years, the ocean summer – when waters are warmer than 25° C – has increased in length by almost a month, while the winter – when waters are cooler than 22°C – has shortened each year by nearly a month.
“This means Bermuda is more at risk from hurricanes as the season when warm waters surround Bermuda is longer.”
Dr Bates said the upper ocean had lost about eight per cent of its oxygen and the amount of salt in the water had increased.
Dr Bates added: “This means that the biology of the reef system and surrounding Sargasso Sea is changing.