Global Warming Brings Catastrophe to U.K. Seabirds

Seabirds on the coast of Scotland are facing unprecedented catastrophe, and scientists attribute it directly to global warming. The hundreds of thousands of skuas, terns, and guillemots that populate the coastal cliffs are simply not breeding, and when they are, few offspring survive. They are starving, because the sandeels, small fish that the birds feed on, have vanished. The sandeels have vanished because the microscopic plankton that sandeel larvae feed on are moving north as the North Sea warms — some 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 20 years. “[T]he whole engine is now spluttering and starting to malfunction,” said Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ Euan Dunn of the North Sea. But while the massive breakdown of bird breeding has dire consequences for tourism and cultural identity in the U.K., continued global warming means it is “just a foretaste of what lies ahead,” said Tony Juniper of Friends of the Earth.