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Maya Lin: A Memorial to
A Vanishing Natural World

The warming of the Baltic Sea is causing an increase in bacterial infections that can lead to cholera and gastroenteritis, according to a new study. An international team of researchers found that each year temperatures in the Baltic Sea spiked by 1 degree C was accompanied by a 200-percent increase in vibrio infections, which can cause serious ailments in humans who ingest the water or eat contaminated shellfish. Vibrio bacteria are generally found in warmer, tropical waters, but the bacteria can also flourish when waters at higher latitudes warm. From 1982 to 2010, the temperature of the Baltic Sea rose by about 2 degrees C, or 3.6 degrees F, making the Baltic “the fastest warming marine ecosystem examined so far anywhere on Earth,” the study said. The scientists attributed that increase largely to global warming and said that when heat waves force Baltic Sea temperatures even higher, vibrio infections rise. Reporting in the journal Nature Climate Change, the researchers said that vibrio infections can be expected to spread into more temperate climes as ocean temperatures increase.

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