It's easy to pollute a stream in minutes with an oil spill or heat up the ocean in decades but how long does it take to recover from such actions? The answer, at least on the gw side, is alarming to say the least.
Ocean ecosystems that experience rapid upheaval because of climate change can take thousands of years to recover, according to an examination of fossilized ocean fauna on the seafloor by the University of California, Davis.
The study, published online March 30 in the Early Edition of the journal PNAS, is the first record of disturbance and recovery of seafloor ecosystem biodiversity in response to abrupt climate change.
The work, led by Sarah Moffitt, a scientist from UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory and Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute, shows that while climate change and the deoxygenation of seawater can alter ocean ecology very quickly, recovery can be on a 1,000-year scale, not the 100-year scale previously thought.
Addendum: The Exxon Valdez oil spill continues on ... 25+ years later.