Ocean changes unsettling to solo sailor

Derek Hatfield at the helm of Active House
Velux 5 Oceans ©
La Nina one reason for extreme swings in southern seas

A Canadian sailing in a solo around-the-world race says he is disturbed by the 'horrendous' conditions he has encountered in the southern oceans — including the near absence of large sea life.

Derek Hatfield has rounded the planet alone twice before but this trip through the southern ocean has been a relentless stream of extreme storms and deepest calms.

'The conditions are — to put it bluntly — horrendous,' adds Hatfield.

Much of that can be attributed to an extreme year for La Nina, a weather event where the Pacific Ocean cools in the east and warms in the west. This gives rise to dramatic changes in weather patterns and to events like the destructive flooding seen in Australia this year.

Compounding this may be the fact that the Earth's oceans on average have warmed by half a degree over the last decade, says Australian meteorologist Roger (Clouds) Badham.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/politics/story/2011/01/25/oceans-conditions-hatfield.html#ixzz1C9f1XGX1