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Dead Dolphins due to Global Warming

This past Sunday, more than 100 dolphins were found dead. They were found in the Brazilian Amazon, which experienced a record drought and high water temperatures. These water temperatures have even exceeded 102 degrees Fahrenheit, making it nearly impossible for the water to sustain life.

The dead dolphins were found in Lake Tefé. According to the Mamirauá Institute, a research facility funded by the Brazilian Ministry of Science, “a high number of deaths was unusual and suggested record-high lake temperatures and an historic drought in the Amazon may have been the cause.”

Researchers of the institute are scrambling to determine the exact cause and how to prevent it.

“It’s still early to determine the cause of this extreme event but according to our experts, it is certainly connected to the drought period and high temperatures in Lake Tefé, in which some points are exceeding 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit),” the institute reported.

Several other animals that call the Amazon River “home” are also suffering from record-high temperatures. Human activity and extreme droughts are also taking a toll on the region.

Researchers and activists are trying to rescue surviving dolphins by transferring them from lagoons and ponds in the outskirts to the main body of the river. They hope the water is cooler in the main body.

“Transferring river dolphins to other rivers is not that safe because it’s important to verify if toxins or viruses are present [before releasing the animals into the wild],” said André Coelho, a researcher at the Mamiraua Institute.

So why is the water getting warmer?

Climate change affects the world’s water in complex ways. From unpredictable rainfall patterns to shrinking ice sheets, rising sea levels, floods and droughts – most impacts of climate change come down to water (UN Water).

Global warming is trapping gasses in the atmosphere at an alarming rate. All of these gasses are coming down on the water, raising temperatures.

According to World Bank, “rising global temperatures increase the moisture the atmosphere can hold, resulting in more storms and heavy rains, but paradoxically also more intense dry spells as more water evaporates from the land and global weather patterns change”.

If global temperatures keep rising, all animals will be affected, leading our ecosystems to chaos.

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