Archive for the 'Newsletters and reports' Category

New edition of the “OA-ICC Highlights”, October – December 2019

highlightsThe new edition of the “OA-ICC Highlights” summarizes the project’s main activities and achievements over the period October – December 2019. This newsletter highlights the UNFCCC COP25, an IAEA training course on measuring ocean acidification using simplified methodologies, a regional workshop in Tanzania, and other updates.

The “OA-ICC Highlights” is a quarterly newsletter. Previous editions can be viewed here.

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An annual update on the state of ocean acidification science in Alaska – 2019 update

What is Ocean Acidification?

Scientists estimate that the ocean is 30% more acidic today than it was 300 years ago, traceable to increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) from fossil fuel burning and land-use change, such as deforestation. As human-generated CO2 is released into the atmosphere, about a third is absorbed by the ocean. The additional CO2 lowers the pH of the seawater, driving the process known as ocean acidification (OA). The current pace of OA is faster than any time on record — 10 times faster than the last major acidification event 55 million years ago.

Why is Alaska at Risk?

Ocean acidification is expected to progress faster and more severely in Alaska than lower latitudes. Waters in Alaska are both ‘cold and old’: cooler water temperatures and global circulation patterns mean that Alaska waters naturally hold more CO2 year round. On top of this high baseline concentration of CO2, other processes also make Alaska’s waters more naturally acidic on a seasonal scale.

Continue reading ‘An annual update on the state of ocean acidification science in Alaska – 2019 update’

Monitoring ocean acidification in Norwegian seas in 2018

This is the annual report from 2018 based on the program: ‘Monitoring ocean acidification in Norwegian waters’ funded by the Norwegian Environment Agency. The measurements are performed by the Institute of Marine Research (IMR), Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), NORCE Norwegian Research Centre (NORCE) and the Univsersity of Bergen (UiB).

The measurements cover the area from North Sea/Skagerrak, the Norwegian Sea, and the seasonally ice covered Barents Sea. IMR conducted water column measurements along repeated transects, mainly in winter in the Skagerrak (Torungen–Hirtshals section), Norwegian Sea (Svinøy-NW, Gimsøy-NW sections), Barents Sea (Fugløya-Bjørnøya, NE Barents Sea section), and at Skrova and Arendal coastal stations. NORCE-UiB conducted water column measurements at Station M, continuous surface measurements at the same site, and water column measurements at three stations in the Hardanger region.

NIVA performed surface water measurements on two sections; Oslo-Kiel (North Sea/Skagerrak) and Tromsø-Longyearbyen (Barents Sea opening) during all of 2018. This report presents and discusses some time series for the period 2011-2018.

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Opportunities for increasing ocean action in climate strategies

The global ocean is warming, acidifying and losing oxygen, and sea level is rising. As a result, keystone species and ecosystems such as warm-water coral reefs, seagrass meadows and kelp forests will face high to very high risks by the end of this century even under low carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions (IPCC, 2019). Moreover, low-lying coastal settlements will face moderate to high sea-level rise risks by the end of the century, even under full and timely implementation of the Paris Agreement, unless comprehensive and intense adaptation efforts are undertaken. This calls for a dramatic scaling up of efforts towards ambitious mitigation and adaptation.

The ocean offers opportunities to reduce the causes and consequences of climate change, globally and locally, as shown by The Ocean Solutions Initiative (Gattuso et al., 2018) and other recent reports (Hoegh-Guldberg et al., 2019; Because the Ocean 20192). However, countries have poorly used ocean-based measures for tackling climate change and its impacts, in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs; Gallo et al. 2017) under the Paris Agreement. The process towards the 5-year revision of NDCs, culminating at the 26th Conference of the Parties of UNFCCC, offers an opportunity for countries to adopt more ocean-inclusive mitigation and adaptation strategies.

In this Policy Brief we assess 18 ocean-based measures to support climate policies and the revision of NDCs in the areas of mitigation and adaptation. Ocean-related measures should not be considered as a substitute for climate mitigation on land, which must also be strongly pursued for the benefit of the atmosphere as well as the ocean.

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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) releases its Special Report on the Ocean and the Cryosphere in a Changing Climate

The new IPCC Special Report, released today,  is the first IPCC Report to focus on the role of the ocean in the global climate and the effects of climate change on the ocean. Ocean acidification is extensively covered throughout the report. A few OA-relevant excerpts from the Summary for Policymakers are cited below:


Observed Physical Changes

A2.5 The ocean has taken up between 20–30% (very likely) of total anthropogenic CO2 emissions since the 1980s causing further ocean acidification. Open ocean surface pH has declined by a very likely range of 0.017–0.027 pH units per decade since the late 1980s, with the decline in surface ocean pH very likely to have already emerged from background natural variability for more than 95% of the ocean surface area. {3.2.1; 5.2.2; Box 5.1; Figures SPM.1, SPM.2}
Continue reading ‘The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) releases its Special Report on the Ocean and the Cryosphere in a Changing Climate’

Ocean acidification and hypoxia plan outlines Oregon’s commitment to addressing climate impacts

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon has a new roadmap for addressing rising ocean acidification and hypoxia – two climate change-induced conditions that could have widespread consequences for the state’s ocean ecosystem and the economy.

Ocean acidification and hypoxia are significant threats to a wide range of marine mammals, from crabs to fish to oysters, with major impacts on the ecosystem and the state’s economy, including tourism and the seafood industry.

“In Oregon, we saw some of the first impacts of ocean acidification and hypoxia when they started appearing in our shellfish. Now those challenges are compounding,” said Jack Barth, an Oregon State University oceanographer and co-chair of the Oregon Coordinating Council on Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia, which developed the plan.

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Forest & Bird calls for urgent action on ocean acidity

Greenhouse gas emissions could double the acidity of New Zealand’s oceans within 80 years, damaging sea life and the fishing industry, says a new report by Forest & Bird.

The report states that the acidity of the seas around Aotearoa has increased by 26 percent since pre-industrial times and could increase by 116 percent by the end of the century.

Forest & Bird is calling on government, councils and the fishing industry to urgently take up the report’s 16 key recommendations to limit the impacts of climate change on our seas.

Continue reading ‘Forest & Bird calls for urgent action on ocean acidity’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book