Adriatic sea could become a dead marine island

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A cold current which normally allows the waters of the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas to mix has disappeared as a result of global warming, scientists have revealed.

The flow of cooler water which normally comes from the Gulf of Trieste on Italy's north coast vanished in 2003, and its disappearance now threatens to turn the Adriatic sea into a salt lake with no marine life.

A new report from the Italian Institute of Marine Research (ICRAM) said that a warmer Mediterranean now prevented the two seas from mixing, which could lead to a decline in the micro-algae which are the foundation of the marine food chain.

Alfonso Pencoraro Scanio, Italy's Environment Minister, described the situation as 'a national crisis'.

This article first appeared in the Ecologist September 2007