Sam Smith criticised for being ‘surprised racism exists in the UK’

Crooner Sam Smith. Photo: SuppliedSam Smith has been criticised for a series of tweets in which he described witnessing a friend being racially abused.

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In one of the tweets, posted in the early hours of Wednesday morning, he wrote: “I feel like I have to say something. I’m just so upset. So UPSET.” Just experienced my friend getting verbally abused racially in London. I am absolutely SPEECHLESS.— Sam Smith (@samsmithworld) January 20, 2016I never ever ever ever thought that would happen here. Absolutely speechless and hurt.— Sam Smith (@samsmithworld) January 20, 2016I feel like I have to shine some sort of light on it. The police were so unhelpful in the situation and its deeply shocked me.— Sam Smith (@samsmithworld) January 20, 2016

After he tweeted the comments ‘Sam Smith’ became a trending topic as critics slammed his seemingly cloistered outlook on racial attitudes in Britain: Why are people surprised that Sam Smith is only discovering racism exists? He’s white. He wouldn’t even know what racism feels like.— En Sabah Nur (@RakimIllest) January 20, 2016I hope Sam Smith’s train isn’t late tomorrow. Not sure if he can handle another surprise at this time.— Genuine Eel (@genuine_eel) January 20, 2016Sam Smith is surprised racism exists in the UK. Unrelated: he won best male, R&B act, song and album at 2014 MOBOs. https://t.co/JfzNVJTygI— Thomas Seal (@TW_Seal) January 20, 2016Sam smith is living in the blindness world of white privilege. He’s “speechless” that racism still exists. Does he watch the news?— Fat-ley Gilbert (@Just_Ashley13) January 20, 2016Sam Smith makes big deal of him being shocked and hurt cause his friend experienced racism. White privilege level: Maximum— Jon Deep (@charlielunn182) January 20, 2016

However, some fans came to his defence: Don’t think Sam Smith genuinely thought racism didn’t exist. He was live tweeting after witnessing something that shocked him. You’re petty— Becky (@Little_Lilsx) January 20, 2016Well let’s hope Sam Smith has learnt his lesson and will now keep his mouth shut about how bad racism is. Good job, everyone!— BiggerBoat Film Quiz (@film_quiz) January 20, 2016Harsh write up of Sam Smith tweets. Surely just saying he wants to ‘shine light’ on incident, as friend doesn’t have 4m twitter followers.— Tom Thorogood (@TomThorogood) January 20, 2016

Smith, born Samuel Frederick, grew up in Great Chishill, Cambridgeshire, first hit the music scene in 2012, appearing on Disclosure’s single, Latch.

He’s since been described as Britain’s biggest musical export since Adele Adkins.

In 2015 he won four Grammys and set a record with his debut album In The Lonely Hour, which was in the UK top 10 for 67 consecutive weeks.

In October he made chart history as the first artist to top the charts with a James Bond theme song.

Writing’s on the Wall, the title track for the Bond film Spectre, went straight to number one with combined chart sales and streams of 70,000. The song was Smith’s fifth number one.

He said at the time: “It was such an honour to be asked to write and record Writing’s on the Wall and it’s incredible that it’s become the first number one Bond theme song. It’s been an unforgettable experience working with Barbara [Broccoli] and Sam [Mendes] to become part of this British legacy. I couldn’t have done this without my fans – this is a special moment I’ll never forget.”

The Telegraph

Dugong recovered: Sickly but good chances of survival | photos, video

Dugong recovered: Sickly but good chances of survival | photos, video The dugong that has been living in Merimbula Lake has been captured and will be flown to Sea World for rehabilitation before it is released into the wild.

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The dugong that has been living in Merimbula Lake has been captured and will be flown to Sea World for rehabilitation before it is released into the wild.

The dugong that has been living in Merimbula Lake has been captured and will be flown to Sea World for rehabilitation before it is released into the wild.

The dugong that has been living in Merimbula Lake has been captured and will be flown to Sea World for rehabilitation before it is released into the wild.

The dugong that has been living in Merimbula Lake has been captured and will be flown to Sea World for rehabilitation before it is released into the wild.

The dugong that has been living in Merimbula Lake has been captured and will be flown to Sea World for rehabilitation before it is released into the wild.

The dugong that has been living in Merimbula Lake has been captured and will be flown to Sea World for rehabilitation before it is released into the wild.

The dugong that has been living in Merimbula Lake has been captured and will be flown to Sea World for rehabilitation before it is released into the wild.

The dugong that has been living in Merimbula Lake has been captured and will be flown to Sea World for rehabilitation before it is released into the wild.

The dugong that has been living in Merimbula Lake has been captured and will be flown to Sea World for rehabilitation before it is released into the wild.

The dugong that has been living in Merimbula Lake has been captured and will be flown to Sea World for rehabilitation before it is released into the wild.

The dugong that has been living in Merimbula Lake has been captured and will be flown to Sea World for rehabilitation before it is released into the wild.

The dugong that has been living in Merimbula Lake has been captured and will be flown to Sea World for rehabilitation before it is released into the wild.

The dugong that has been living in Merimbula Lake has been captured and will be flown to Sea World for rehabilitation before it is released into the wild.

The dugong that has been living in Merimbula Lake has been captured and will be flown to Sea World for rehabilitation before it is released into the wild.

The dugong that has been living in Merimbula Lake has been captured and will be flown to Sea World for rehabilitation before it is released into the wild.

The dugong that has been living in Merimbula Lake has been captured and will be flown to Sea World for rehabilitation before it is released into the wild.

The dugong that has been living in Merimbula Lake has been captured and will be flown to Sea World for rehabilitation before it is released into the wild.

The dugong that has been living in Merimbula Lake has been captured and will be flown to Sea World for rehabilitation before it is released into the wild.

The dugong had a police escort to the airport.

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Paris climate limit will see some parts of world warm by 6 degrees: Nature paper

The Mediterranean, central Brazil and the lower 48 states of the US are among the areas likely to warm by 2 degrees by about 2030. Photo: Leigh Henningham Some of the warmest temperature gains in a 2-degree warmer world will be in the Arctic. Photo: Nature

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The Paris pact to limit global temperature increases to less than 2 degrees will still result in some parts of the planet warming by as much as 6 degrees due to regional variations, researchers in Switzerland and Australia said.

While the world will likely pass two degrees of warming by the 2040s on the current trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions, some parts of the Arctic had already passed the 2-degree mark by 2000 compared with pre-industrial times, the scientists at ETH Zurich and the University of New South Wales found.

The Mediterranean, central Brazil and the lower 48 states of the US are among the areas likely to warm by 2 degrees by about 2030, according to the research published on Thursday in Nature journal.

The paper noted that purported impacts of drought in Syria and the regional unrest may be an indication of what is to come if worsening regional extreme undermine fragile socieities.

“Given current political tensions around the Mediterranean basin, implications of locally more rapid climate change could extend to regional impacts, adding to wider political instability,” the paper said.

Globally, most land regions will warm faster than oceans in part because the loss of soil moisture and ice or snow amplifies the heating trend.

Sea circulation can also transport additional heat to ocean depths in a manner not possible on land, said Markus Donat, a research fellow at UNSW’s ARC Centre for Excellence for Climate System Science and one of the paper’s authors.

Interestingly, Australia generally avoids the biggest changes in land temperatures, roughly rising at the same pace as the global average, according to the modelling based on work done for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“There are two possible reasons [for the Australian result],” Andy Pitman, a co-author and director of the ARC Centre, said. “There is something peculiar about the nature of the feedbacks that link average and extreme warming,” which leads to land areas in the southern hemisphere warming at a slower pace than in the north.

“Or, it could be that the models are biased to the areas where the modellers are based” in the northern Hemisphere, he said. “Perhaps there are systematic errors so we don’t see the amplification.”

At the Paris climate summit late last year, almost 200 nations agreed to keep average global warming to less than 2 degrees. On the pledges made so far, temperatures are on track to rise at least 2.7 degrees from pre-industrial times – assuming countries keep their promises to cut back greenhouse gas emissions towards zero net pollution by the second half of the century.

The global budget to keep within 2 degrees mean warming level is cumulative emissions of about 850 gigatonnes (GT) of carbon, the paper said.

To prevent the Mediterranean region warming by that amount, however, the  budget is about 600 GT. Since emissions have totalled about 500 GT, rising at about 10 GT, the world has 10 years or less on current trends to avoid that mark, Professor Pitman said.

“It was an urgent problem 25 years ago,” he said. “Now it’s way past urgent to look at deep and meaningful emission reductions.”

One reason for the urgency is that the pattern of warming is unlikely to be a smooth one, with unexpected “tipping points” accelerating the process.

“We have no way of knowing when our climate may change abruptly from one state to another, meaning we could potentially see even greater regional variation than these findings show,” Dr Donat said.

The Arctic, as it warms, will likely see more melting of the permafrost, which will release more methane. Methane is about 25 times more potent in trapping heat than C02 over a century.

“Whilst Paris did put us on a better path, it’s not a path that is consistent with the science,” Professor Pitman said.

South China Sea: Vietnam accuses China of dragging oil rig into its waters

The Haiyang Shiyou oil rig. Photo: Jin LiangkuaiAnti-Chinese rioting in Vietnam turns deadlyChina withdraws oil rig early from contested waters

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Bangkok: Vietnam has accused China of towing a $1 billion oil rig into disputed waters of the South China Sea in a potential re-run of a stand-off that sparked violent anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam in 2014.

But China insists the giant state-owned rig called Haiyang Shiyou 981 is still in its territorial waters and called on Vietnam to remain calm over the dispute.

China’s decision to again tow the same rig from its shores as it did in 2014 comes at a highly sensitive time in Vietnam as the country’s communist leaders gather for their five-yearly congress.

Carlyle Thayer, an expert on Vietnam and the South China Sea from Australia’s Defence Force Academy, said China’s move appeared ill-timed and counter-productive, possibly boosting support for the country’s reforming communist leaders who have been locked in a bitter factional struggle with traditional old guard leaders, who are closer to Beijing.

In 2014 China’s deployment of the rig about 120 nautical miles off Vietnam’s coast led to the worst breakdown in relations between the neighbouring communist countries in decades.

Five people were killed and hundreds of Vietnamese factories owned by Chinese and other countries were looted and burned.

Chinese and Vietnamese vessels faced each other down near the rig the size of a football oval for months before it was removed.

Analysts said that dispute accelerated Vietnam’s efforts to improve relations with the United States and other global powers.

Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry claims the deep-water rig was towed into disputed waters last Saturday and demanded that it be withdrawn.

But China’s Foreign Ministry hit back, saying the rig is operating in “Chinese controlled waters that are completely undisputed.”

“We hope the Vietnamese side can view this calmly, meet China half-way and jointly work hard to appropriately handle relevant maritime issues,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei.

The rig owned by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation is China’s first domestically-built mobile drilling platform.

China’s Maritime Safety Administration said it would be drilling 150 kilometres west of the Paracel Islands that China occupies and Vietnam claims until March 10.

The agency warned ships to stay clear of the area. .

Earlier in January Vietnam accused China of jeopardising the safety of civilian flights over the South China Sea by landing aircraft on an artificial island that China had constructed in a contested area.

China rejected the complaint, saying the planes landed within China’s sovereign territory.

Also earlier in January the United States obtained final approval to expand its military presence in the Philippines in a move seen as countering China’s claims in the flashpoint waters where there are overlapping territorial claims by China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.

The US has also begun making spy flights over the region in Boeing P-8A Poseidon aircraft based in Singapore, and Vietnam’s new advanced Kilo-class submarines have begun patrols to reinforce that country’s territorial claims.

The South China Sea is believed to be resource rich and goods worth more than US$5 trillion transit its strategic waterways each year.

-With agencies

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NSW Health confirms seven babies given to wrong mothers in mix-up

Stefanie Phillips said she was overwhelmed after Gosford Hospital staff told her that her baby had been breastfed by another mother. Photo: Seven NewsSeven newborn babies have been handed to the wrong mothers in shocking mix-ups in the NSW health system.

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The number of babies given to the wrong mothers for breastfeeding in cases of mistaken identification has reached seven in the past four years, according to a statement by the NSW Health Minister, confirming News Limited reports.

Jillian Skinner, the NSW Minister for Health, said that the occurrence was extremely rare.

“Almost 100,000 babies are born in NSW public hospitals each year and over the past five years there were seven occasions where this error occurred,” she said in a statement. “The error was soon discovered.”

All incidents occurred in public hospitals, according to documents released under freedom-of-information laws; the Health ministry said it had no records of mixups in private hospitals.

Walt Secord, the NSW Labor Health spokesman, obtained the figures from the department.

“As a dad, I know about the importance of the first contact between a mum and their newborn,” he said. “Mixing up a baby is devastating.”

A mother’s breast milk contains natural antibodies that protect their newborns from disease, meaning any mix-up could deprive a child of the natural immunity if it leads to a later failure to breastfeed. Mix-ups also carry a small risk of transmission of illness and the much greater threat of psychological damage.

Mrs Skinner said strict protocols were in place to cross-check infants’ identities with their mothers.

“In the rare cases where an error occurs, immediate serological tests and breast milk screening are undertaken,” Mrs Skinner said. “The affected mothers are offered counselling and support.”

One mother, Stefanie Phillips, was devastated after one such mix-up at Gosford Hospital late last year and said it left her unable to breastfeed her daughter.

Ms Phillips’ baby daughter, Ellie, was returned to the wrong mother for breastfeeding after a period in the hospital’s nursery.

“[I was told] the other mother has breastfed your daughter for two hours and got photos with her … skin-on-skin, did everything I wanted to do with her,” Ms Phillips said at the time. “I was very overwhelmed, I had just become a new mum. I didn’t know what to say in that situation”.

That incident came just days after a similar mix-up at Royal North Shore Private Hospital. In that instance the hospital confirmed a mix-up but said it had been identified before the baby was breastfed.

Mr Secord called on the government to release details about which hospitals were involved in the mixups, something Mrs Skinner has so far refused to do.

Sydney weather: Thursday set to be another scorcher

Thursday is set to be another scorcher. Photo: Kirk GilmourSome parts of world to warm by 6 degreesSydney’s surprise temperature spike

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Sydney can expect another scorcher on Thursday, with temperatures again climbing just shy of the 40-degree mark in the western suburbs.

The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting a top of 35 degrees but the mercury may rise further – as it did on Wednesday when the maximum hit 37.5 degrees – if the sea breeze turns to be later or weaker than expected.

Sydney Airport was the hottest place in the city on Wednesday, with the mercury reaching 40.3 degrees.

“A small delay in a sea breeze can make a significant difference,” Peter Zmijewski, a senior forecaster at the bureau, said. Similarly more cloud cover could trim the temperature by a degree or two.

Thunderstorms are expected across the Sydney Basin on Thursday afternoon and evening as the heat builds up.

Parts of the state’s north should again climb into the 40s, the bureau said.

Holidaymakers heading back to Sydney might want to consider an early start as conditions turn less favourable for the beach after Thursday.

Apart from the north-east corner of NSW, most of the state can expect “a showery, thundery and cloudy day” on Friday, Tristan Meyers, a meteorologist with Weatherzone, said.

Rainfall totals are tipped for Sydney to be as much as 6mm on Friday and possibly 15mm on Saturday.

Saturday morning may also include thundery conditions for Sydney as a moisture-laden change moves through, Mr Meyers said.

Conditions should then be mild for a few days before temperatures start to climb by early February, he said.

After a cool start to January, average maximums in Sydney are running almost one degree above normal for the month.

On current forecasts, it is likely the city will record its 49th consecutive month of warmer-than-average temperatures, according to bureau data.

Weatherzone is owned by Fairfax Media, publisher of this website.

10,000-year-old fossil marks oldest evidence of human warfare, scientists say

This skeleton of a man with “multiple lesions on the front and left side of the skull, consistent with wounds from a blunt implement, such as a club”. Photo: Marta Mirazon Lahr The skeletons were discovered near Lake Turkana in Kenya. Photo: Marta Mirazon Lahr

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The skeletal remains of a group of hunter-gatherers killed in a brutal slaughter 10,000 years ago has been uncovered, with scientists believing it is the oldest known example of human warfare.

The remains of 27 people, including six children and eight women, were found on the border of an ancient lagoon at Nataruk, near Lake Turkana in Kenya, in 2012.

Ten of the 12 complete skeletons excavated appeared to have been of people killed violently with crushing blows to the skull and fatal arrow wounds.

Several others appear to have died with their hands and feet bound, the scientists said.

The fossilised remains of a six- to nine-month-old fetus were discovered in the stomach cavity of one of the female skeletons.

None of the bodies had been buried; they were found scattered around the lagoon, often face down in the mud.

The international research offered “a rare glimpse into the life and death of past foraging people”, according to the findings.

Radiocarbon dating researcher Rachel Wood from the Australian National University estimated the bodies were between 9500 and 10,500 years old, by measuring radioactive traces of uranium in the bones.

“It is a highly emotional find. It is hard not to be moved by the intentional killing of a group of men, women and children, even if it did happen 10,000 years ago,” Dr Wood said.

Arrowheads found near the bodies were made of obsidian, a black volcanic rock not used by the tribes in the region, which suggests the group were killed by external parties.

The origins of human warfare are highly controversial among scientists, the report said.

Previously, evidence of large-scale warfare between hunter-gatherer groups was “extremely rare”, but was more typical of settled societies.

Scientists remain uncertain as to the motivations behind the massacre, but speculate that it was either a raid for resources on a newly settled tribe, or a “standard antagonistic response” to a meeting between two hunter-gatherer groups.

Rainer Grun, director of Griffith University’s Research Centre of Human Evolution, said the findings were one of the “earliest indications of humankind’s propensity for group violence”.

“Not only does this broaden our knowledge of early human behaviour, it raises questions about whether the capacity for organised violence is elemental to our nature or a product of circumstances and opportunity,” Professor Grun said.

“In either case, the deaths at Nataruk are testimony to the antiquity of inter-group violence and war,” the study reported.

The research was led by the University of Cambridge and published in the scientific journal Nature on Thursday.

Rio Olympics 2016: Olyroos miss out on Games after goalless draw with Jordan

Disappointing tournament: Olyroos coach Aurelio Vidmar. Photo: Getty Images Australia’s Olympic soccer dreams are over following the Olyroos failure to break down a stubborn Jordan in the final pool game of their qualifying tournament in Doha, Qatar, overnight.

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The Australians could only manage a scoreless draw when a victory was needed to progress to the knockout phase of the qualifying tournament. Jordan, at age group and senior level, are fast becoming a bogey side for Australia, and Ange Postecoglou’s Socceroos will have to be on their mettle when they meet the Jordanians in a final World Cup qualifying pool game in Sydney in March.

In the end the disappointment came down to an own goal five minutes from time in the opening 1-0 defeat against the UAE – and the fact that coach Aurelio Vidmar was missing more than half a team of players who would probably have been first choice selections in his starting XI.

A number of those – players like Lazio’s Chris Ikonomidis and Ross County’s Jackson Irvine – have already played for the senior national team, and their experience and talent would have been vital in such competitive circumstances.

Though the Olyroos had beaten Vietnam 2-0 in their second pool game, it was not enough: the failure to beat Jordan overnight meant that the Olyroos finished the group with four points – a decent return, but not enough to overhaul Jordan (five points) or the UAE (seven points), both of whom were unbeaten in the four-team pool.

The Australians might have controlled possession, but they could not break down a well-drilled Jordanian rearguard. The closest they came was in the dying moments, when Brisbane striker Jamie Maclaren’s lob came back off the crossbar.

It’s impossible not to speculate on how Vidmar’s side would have fared had he been able to pick the players he wanted.

Irvine, Brad Smith (Liverpool), Kenneth Dougall (Sparta Rotterdam), Ryan Williams (Barnsley), Milos Degenek (1860 Munich) and Awer Mabil (Midtjylland) were all candidates who were not released by their clubs.

Smith was, in fact, in action for Liverpool early on Thursday morning when the Reds beat Exeter in an FA Cup third round replay.

Ikonomidis, currently on loan to Salernitana from his parent club Lazio, was originally in the squad but was later withdrawn, as was Roda JC’s Danny De Silva.

For Australia, with so many young players at overseas clubs, these tournaments will always be a challenge as they are not on FIFA designated match days and clubs are under no obligation to release any players selected.

Melbourne Victory, who had five players in the Olyroos squad, will at least benefit, as they will get their players back earlier than might have been the case, perhaps in time to be considered for the Australia Day clash with Sydney FC.

Former Liverpool star Luis Garcia vows to repay Central Coast Mariners’ faith

“I feel very good and I’m confident that I can give things to the team, and hopefully at the weekend I can play a little bit”: Luis Garcia, pictured at Sydney Airport on Thursday morning. Photo: Twitter: @luchogarcia14It was the airport arrival of a high-profile star many Central Coast Mariners fans waited years for and then the sudden jolt of reality none of them wanted to hear. When former Atletico Madrid, Liverpool and Barcelona star Luis Garcia emerged from the gates of Sydney Airport at sunrise on Thursday morning, the Mariners’ new marquee was quickly swamped by about 50 fans that made the long trip down the Pacific Highway to welcome him to the A-League.

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But no sooner than the cheers die down did the 37-year-old Spaniard provide an honest assessment of his role at the bottom-placed club and their fortunes for the season.

“I don’t think I can lift them up, I think I can help to put something good into the team,” Garcia said. “After that the club is mainly going to be there for bringing new players and trying to change the situation of the team. All together, I think we can do something good.”

What he did promise, though, was to repay the faith of the Mariners and help develop their squad full of promising youngsters. After all, the club gave him a chance to resume his playing career after more than a year’s hiatus after he last played in the Indian Super League.

“Garcia In” was the sign raised at by the club’s fans who cheered his arrival and promptly swamped their new star for autographs.

“It’s fantastic to receive that welcome from the people and hopefully I can return that on the pitch,” Garcia said.

He says it took little time for the Mariners to convince him to resume his playing career and abandon his post at global TV network beIN Sports where he had worked as a pundit during his year off field.

The club’s ambition to develop youngsters inspired the veteran to strap his boots on again and he believes he still has a lot to offer and assist particularly with guiding young players.

“Actually they called me. It wasn’t in my mind to come back and play football. I was happy working for beIN Sports … I was alright but I wasn’t missing football so much and when they call me and say ‘listen, come here we have a fantastic support from our supporters, we have a nice place, a nice stadium so maybe you can come out here’. I didn’t think about it too much,” he said.

At his age and having spent a year away from the game, major concerns were held over Garcia’s fitness and ability to compete in a league as physical as the A-League and played during the hot Australian summer.

Garcia acknowledges his pace and stamina is not what it was when he helped Liverpool to the UEFA Champions League title – but says he is in good shape and is experienced enough to know how to get the most out of his body.

“It’s alright. I have to take care of some stuff, don’t get crazy, don’t try to think that I’m 25 anymore. I’m not. But I feel very good and I’m confident that I can give things to the team, and hopefully at the weekend I can play a little bit if the coach is alright with that. I’ll be here to help,” he said. Ready for my new journey. Exciting challenge ahead. @CCMariners#[email protected]杭州夜网/tZGuq0eHoQ— Luis Garcia (@LuchoGarcia14) January 19, 2016

Carbon dioxide causing ‘intoxication’ of ocean fish sooner than expected

Ocean fish risk being lost at sea and prone to predators with rising carbon dioxide in oceans. Photo: Eduardo Sorensen/OceanaOcean fish around the world risk becoming lost at sea if carbon dioxide concentrations in seawater continue to rise on current trajectories, a study from the University of NSW has found.

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The study, published in the journal Nature, is the first global analysis of the impact of rising carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels on natural variations in carbon dioxide concentrations in the world’s oceans.

It found that carbon dioxide concentrations could reach levels high enough to disorient and “intoxicate” fish, a condition known as hypercapnia.

“Essentially, the fish become lost at sea,” said the study report’s lead author,  Ben McNeil, of UNSW.

“The carbon dioxide affects their brains and they lose their sense of direction and ability to find their way home. They don’t even know where their predators are.”

Hypercapnia research in fish is relatively new, starting about 6 years ago.

In the case of ocean fish, high levels of carbon dioxide affect receptors for GABA, “the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the vertebrate brain”.

The study suggested the resulting physiological and behavioural impacts could have extensive implications for “population replenishment, community structure, ecosystem function” and, in turn, the world’s fisheries.

“In terms of the problem for fisheries, you’ve got juvenile fish who can’t recognise where their home is or sense where predators are. So obviously they are very prone to being eaten or lost,” Dr McNeil said.

“It is still really unknown how this will manifest in the future … but it’s a bit of a wake-up call for commercial fisheries [who will] have to manage this, because it is going to be likely quite a big problem.”

Dr McNeil said the effect only occurs as humans increase carbon dioxide output, meaning “the only way to mitigate is to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere”.

The study found a substantial amplification of the annual oceanic carbon dioxide cycle over the 21st century, recording a five- to eight-fold amplification in regions within the Southern, Pacific and North Atlantic oceans.

While the study only looked at open ocean areas, Dr McNeil said the likely hotspots in Australia would be in southern regions, “south of Tasmania and along the Antarctic”.

For this work the team has developed an algorithm to predict future carbon dioxide levels and have launched a challenge for others to help in the next phase of the research.

“We are challenging other scientists with innovative predictive approaches to download the data set we used … to see if they can beat our approach,” Dr McNeil said.

ARC Centre for Excellence in Coral Reef Studies biologist Professor Phillip Munday said the study had sparked a lot of interest among the scientific community, but he was uncomfortable with the description of fish as “intoxicated”.

“I do not agree with the term from a scientific perspective. Intoxication is a term related to the effects of alcohol, which is not what this is.”

He said a more apt description of what fish experience with elevated levels of carbon dioxide is “behavioural impairment”.

“What this paper really tells us is that the levels of carbon dioxide in open oceans are going to be higher and last longer than we may have expected, therefore we need to get a good handle on how these rising levels could affect open ocean species.”

The UNSW scientists utilised a global database of seawater carbon dioxide concentrations from the past 30 years, allowing them to predict that by 2100, creatures in up to half the world’s surface oceans could be affected by hypercapnia.

The findings come just days after an Ellen MacArthur Foundation report found the world’s oceans are expected to contain more plastics than fish (by weight) by 2050.

The New Plastics Economy report outlined an alternative approach to reducing the flow of plastics into natural ecosystems and dissociating plastics from fossil feed stocks.