500-year-old clam reveals ‘hugely worrying’ evidence of climate change and its effects


From The Independent:

“A worrying effect of climate change has been discovered by scientists studying the world’s longest-living animal, the quahog clam.

Researchers examined growth rings on the shell of the edible mollusc, which can live for more than 500 years, to uncover details of a dramatic shift in the interaction between the North Atlantic Ocean and the atmosphere.

Before the industrial period began some 200 years ago, atmospheric fluctuations were caused by natural changes in the ocean, driven by volcanic eruptions and the sun’s radiation.

But since humans started emitting large amounts of greenhouse gases through industrialisation, a switch has taken place and changes in the ocean are now led by the atmosphere, according to the international team of biologists.

Professor Ian Hall, the study’s co-author, told The Independent the clams had allowed them to create a picture of the history of the planet’s oceans over the last millennium.”

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