Humpback Whale Population Declines 20% Amid Climate Change Heatwave

Humpback whale population drops by 20% in North Pacific Ocean, possibly linked to "The Blob" marine heatwave. AI tech aids tracking amid climate change concerns.

After being hunted for decades, humpback whales have made a remarkable return to the Pacific Ocean. Population numbers were steadily recovering until a recent study brought alarming news – the humpback whale population has dropped by 20%. This decline coincided with a period of record temperatures in the region, indicating a potential link between climate change and the well-being of these majestic creatures.

Study reveals decline in humpback whale population

A study focused on estimating humpback whale numbers in the North Pacific Ocean has revealed a sharp decline from 2012 to 2021. Researchers made use of crowdsourced photos sent in by both scientists and the public to track the population. This new method has unveiled the worrying drop in humpback whale numbers, potentially linking it to the marine heatwave experienced during the same period. The study suggests that this marine heatwave, referred to as “The Blob,” could have caused a significant setback in the recovery of these whales, undoing years of conservation efforts.

The humpback whale population in the North Pacific Ocean was once on the brink of extinction due to commercial whaling. It finally reached a peak, thanks to conservation efforts that helped increase the population to a few thousand individuals. However, this recent decline of 20% within less than a decade raises concerns about the future of these magnificent creatures.

AI technology aiding in tracking humpback whales

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology has become instrumental in helping scientists track the movements and behaviors of humpback whales. By analyzing thousands of public photographs, AI algorithms have been employed to identify and classify individual whales. This technology has aided in monitoring the recovery and decline of humpback whale populations, providing valuable insights into the impact of climate change and environmental factors on these vulnerable animals.

This recent decline in humpback whale numbers highlights the potential effects of marine heatwaves and climate change on marine ecosystems. As these events become more frequent and severe, it is crucial for scientists, policymakers, and the public to come together to protect and conserve these magnificent creatures.

List of key points:

  • A study reveals a sharp decline in the humpback whale population in the North Pacific Ocean.
  • The decline coincided with a period of record temperatures and a marine heatwave known as “The Blob.”
  • Crowdsourced photos sent in by researchers and the public were used to estimate humpback whale numbers.
  • The use of AI technology has been crucial in tracking humpback whale movements and behaviors.
  • The decline raises concerns about the potential impact of climate change and marine heatwaves on the future of humpback whales.
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