HABITAT - Foto: Brynjar Stautland

Fotograf: Brynjar Stautland

Climate change

The most visible sign of climate change in the geopark region is the glacier of Folgefonna melting and becoming smaller. Changes in fauna and flora on land and at sea are less significant and occurs so gradually they could be seen as natural fluctuations. As examples the stock of terne, common gull, oystercatcher, greenfinch, and willow are now red listed, but the reasons could be varied. Access of sand eel as food source is one reason for reduction of seabird stocks, but if less sand eel is caused by management or temperature is not yet given. Mussels (Mytilus edulis) are becoming gradually less present along our shores, as in France, Netherlands, and Scotland. There are indications showing that rising surface temperature is one reason, but the picture is not clear yet. It is also discussed if higher temperature is favoring “angry” bacteria being a threat to mussels. Pacific oyster (Crassostrea-gigas) is introduced in our shores now and could displace the flat oyster (Ostrea edulis). Carpet sea skirt (Didemnum exillum) is also on its way in our waters, but if this is because of introduction by ships, and higher temperature, or merely introduction via ships is not proven yet. Fortunately, the utter is now back in our waters after 50 years, caused by intense hunting up till midst 1900.

Our visitor centre Folgefonnsenteret in Rosendal is focusing on the issues The glacier, the fjord, and the circulation of water. The Bjerknes centre for climate research is one of the owners of Folgefonnsenteret. Paleo-oseanographer Kikki Flesche Kleiven is Head of Department of Bjerknes centre, and adviser for Geopark Sunnhordland.