Whales and Global Warming
Whales and Climate Change
Global Warming is a huge issue for whales to deal with. They have migration patterns that are part of their lives. However, this can all be upset dramatically as the climate changes. They may become confused about when to migrate and when to remain in their habitat.
Whales rely upon layers of fat called blubber to keep them warm since they are warm blooded.
When the climate is warmer than it should be, they won’t eat more to build up those layers of blubber. They can result in them being too cold as their bodies aren’t prepared for the lower temperatures. The mass weight of whales can drop by hundreds of pounds. This makes them more susceptible to the water as they can’t stay as more as they need to. This in turn can prevent the blood from circulating like it should. They heart has the burden of pumping faster than before in order to make up for this.
The numbers of whales are also worrisome because both males and females mature late. They won’t have offspring until they are from 7 to 10 years of age. Females will have one calf every 2 or 4 years. They will be less likely to be interested in mating if there isn’t adequate food supplies in the waters. Therefore the number of babies can be less than before due to the climate changes. The mothers need to eat plenty to supply several gallons of milk each day for the babies. If they don’t have the food supply though they won’t be able to make it.
When the calves are about a year of age they will start to eat on their own. They will eat small fish very small life forms found in the bodies of water. Yet the amount of those are also dropping due to the climate change. Therefore the chances of these young being able to make it to adulthood is also reduced. When you combine the fact that they don’t reproduce very fast with the fact that the young now have a significant threat you should be very worried about the future for whales if global warming continues.
Experts that have been watching the migration patterns of whales believe that climate change has definitely impacted this element of things. Some whales are only going half the distance that they once migrated. This is because they find the new areas to be warmer than they once did. Internally, they believe they have reached their destination. Some of these areas though don’t have enough food though for the influx of whales. These are often areas that were once very cold and are now warm enough for the whales to be comfortable there.
While there is research to indicate that whales are highly adaptable, there is only so much they can adapt to. This is why the climate changes out there will continue to result in health issues for them. This is scary because many of species already have drastically reduced numbers due to environmental issues and whaling. Global warming is an issue that will affect all of the creatures in the water, those on land, and humans. Making positive changes now to the environment is the best course of action we can take at this time.
It is believed the highest risk to whales with climate change has to do with great whales. They are already having the most trouble adapting to the changes in the climate. This will become more of a concern if the situation continues. They also consume so much food that they won’t be able to survive as others in their food chain drop in numbers as well.