An updated synthesis of the observed and projected impacts of climate change on the chemical, physical and biological processes in the oceans

The 5th Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states with very high certainty that anthropogenic emissions have caused measurable changes in the physical ocean environment. These changes are summarized with special focus on those that are predicted to have the strongest, most direct effects on ocean biological processes; namely, ocean warming and associated phenomena (including stratification and sea level rise) as well as deoxygenation and ocean acidification. The biological effects of these changes are then discussed for microbes (including phytoplankton), plants, animals, warm and cold-water corals, and ecosystems. The IPCC AR5 highlighted several areas related to both the physical and biological processes that required further research. As a rapidly developing field, there have been many pertinent studies published since the cut off dates for the AR5, which have increased our understanding of the processes at work. This study undertook an extensive review of recently published literature to update the findings of the AR5 and provide a synthesized review on the main issues facing future oceans. The level of detail provided in the AR5 and subsequent work provided a basis for constructing projections of the state of ocean ecosystems in 2100 under two the Representative Concentration Pathways RCP4.5 and 8.5. Finally the review highlights notable additions, clarifications and points of departure from AR5 provided by subsequent studies.

Howes E. L., Joos F., Eakin M. & Gattuso J., 2015. An updated synthesis of the observed and projected impacts of climate change on the chemical, physical and biological processes in the oceans. Frontiers in Marine Science 2:36. Article.


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