Joint IPCC workshop of WGI and WGII on impacts of ocean acidification on marine biology and ecosystems

The oceans currently absorb about one-third of fossil fuel CO2 emitted to the atmosphere and have, as a consequence, been increasing in acidity. Ocean acidification is now recognized as a critical component of global change, potentially responsible for a wide range of impacts on ecosystems, with subsequent consequences on livelihoods and food security. Further, one important aspect is that more CO2 mitigation may be required to achieve particular stabilization targets, because acidification limits the ability of the oceans to continue to absorb CO2. Previous IPCC assessment reports considered biogeochemical and temperature effects of anthropogenic carbon on the oceans, but the direct impacts of ocean acidification, its combined effects with ocean warming on marine ecosystems and productivity, and potential feedbacks to the climate system have not been fully assessed.

Since the publication of the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), ocean acidification research, especially experimental studies of the impact of increased concentrations of seawater CO2 on marine biology in different regions, and modeling studies of future ocean environments, has been advancing rapidly. Given this progress and increasing interest from stakeholders in understanding the implications of ocean acidification, an IPCC Expert Meeting will discuss the rapidly advancing scientific findings on ocean acidification and its impacts since the publication of IPCC AR4, and to provide scientific information as input to Fifth Assessment Report (AR5).

17-19 January 2011 — Okinawa, Japan (by invitation only)

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