Posts Tagged 'mitigation'

Climate-smart design for ecosystem management: a test application for coral reefs

The interactive and cumulative impacts of climate change on natural resources such as coral reefs present numerous challenges for conservation planning and management. Climate change adaptation is complex due to climate-stressor interactions across multiple spatial and temporal scales. This leaves decision makers worldwide faced with local, regional, and global-scale threats to ecosystem processes and services, occurring over time frames that require both near-term and long-term planning. Thus there is a need for structured approaches to adaptation planning that integrate existing methods for vulnerability assessment with design and evaluation of effective adaptation responses. The Corals and Climate Adaptation Planning project of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force seeks to develop guidance for improving coral reef management through tailored application of a climate-smart approach. This approach is based on principles from a recently-published guide which provides a framework for adopting forward-looking goals, based on assessing vulnerabilities to climate change and applying a structured process to design effective adaptation strategies. Work presented in this paper includes: (1) examination of the climate-smart management cycle as it relates to coral reefs; (2) a compilation of adaptation strategies for coral reefs drawn from a comprehensive review of the literature; (3) in-depth demonstration of climate-smart design for place-based crafting of robust adaptation actions; and (4) feedback from stakeholders on the perceived usefulness of the approach. We conclude with a discussion of lessons-learned on integrating climate-smart design into real-world management planning processes and a call from stakeholders for an “adaptation design tool” that is now under development.

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Using prokaryotes for carbon capture storage

Geological storage of CO2 is a fast-developing technology that can mitigate rising carbon emissions. However, there are environmental concerns with the long-term storage and implications of a leak from a carbon capture storage (CCS) site. Traditional monitoring lacks clear protocols and relies heavily on physical methods. Here, we discuss the potential of biotechnology, focusing on microbes with a natural ability to utilize and assimilate CO2 through different metabolic pathways. We propose the use of natural microbial communities for CCS monitoring and CO2 utilization, and, with examples, demonstrate how synthetic biology may maximize CO2 uptake within and above storage sites. An integrated physical and biological approach, combined with metagenomics data and biotechnological advances, will enhance CO2 sequestration and prevent large-scale leakages.


Microorganisms have the ability to respond quickly to environmental changes and to bind CO2, potentially removing it from the surrounding environment.

High-throughput sequencing can be used to identify the microbial metagenomic fingerprint, which can be used to develop simplified, efficient genetic methods to monitor CCS sites.

CCS monitoring would be most effective with a multidisciplinary monitoring program, combining geology, biogeochemistry, physics, microbiology, molecular biology, and genomics.

The advances in our knowledge in prokaryotic genomics, metabolic pathways, microbial communities, and the potential to engineer CO2 binding properties in microbes provide opportunities for transforming CCS sites into bioreactors for value-added chemicals.

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Adaptation policies and strategies as a response to ocean acidification and warming in the Mediterranean Sea

1. Introduction

The ocean are a fundamental component of the Earth’s climate regulation, life and its carbon cycle. By burning fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution, and thus emitting large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, humans are changing the ocean in several ways. In particular, the ocean is absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) at such an unprecedented rate that it is rapidly changing its chemistry, resulting in “ocean acidification”, a reduction in pH, carbonate ion concentration and the ocean’s buffering capacity. Ocean acidification is a global environmental issue posing a threat to open ocean and coastal marine ecosystems, including semi-enclosed seas such as the Mediterranean Sea. (…)

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Ocean acidification: impacts and governance

1. What is ocean acidification?

The ocean provides a vital benefit to human society by absorbing one-fourth of all man-made carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere, thus substantially limiting climate change (Le Quéré et al. 2015). However, oceanic CO2 uptake come with a cost. Known s “the other CO2 problem”, ocean acidification is a new and emerging challenge for sustainable development and ocean governance. In short, the term describes a series of chemical changes occurring when atmospheric CO2 dissolves in seawater, with potentially dire consequences for marine organisms, ecosystems and the services they provide. (…)

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Quantitative analysis of anthropogenic influences on coastal water – A new perspective

Coastal environment has been disturbed by human activities for a long time, especially in the rapidly urbanizing and industrializing areas. Although the surrounding area has achieved great economic success in the past 30 years, Western Xiamen Bay (China) is seriously affected by pollutants and is facing increasing ecological pressure. Because of this, Xiamen was selected in 1994 as a demonstration site for implementing an integrated coastal management program, which included a series of measures for protecting the coastal environment. However, coastal environment is dynamic, complex and site-specific, and thus a scientific quantitative evaluation framework is necessary for environment quality analysis and effective coastal management. In this study, we used oceanographic knowledge together with quantitative methods (Bai-Perron’s structural break test) to analyze the long-term variations of water quality indices (pH, DO, COD, DIN, PO4-P and Oil) in Western Xiamen Bay. In addition, we compared with other coastal areas to identify the effectiveness of phosphorus-based nutrient management measures and predicted the probable variation trend in the future. The results show that in Western Xiamen Bay: (1) the concentrations of DO and Oil in seawater are effectively controlled by local coastal management measures; (2) seawater acidification will continue to worsen based on the present situation; and (3) the P-limitation treatment strategies are effective and PO4-P concentration starts to fall according to the multiple statistical analysis and Environmental Kuznets Curve. This paper hopes to provide an epitome of the conflicts and consolations between socioeconomic development and environmental quality in the past, and hints for coastal management in the future.

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Response and adaptation to climate change in the South China Sea and Coral Sea

Over the past decades, climate change in the tropical western Pacific has led to surface warming, a distinct decrease in sea surface salinity, obvious sea level rise (SLR), and ocean acidification in the South China Sea (SCS) and Coral Sea (CS), which have had profound impacts on marine ecosystems and coastal communities. The aim of this study is to examine and compare the extent of marine climate change in these two areas, and to summarize possible adaptations in response to climate change. Our results indicate that a fast rise in sea surface temperature (SST) at a rate of more than 0.07 °C decade−1 and a decrease in sea surface salinity (SSS) at a rate of more than −0.09 g kg−1 decade−1 appeared in the SCS, which are greater than that in the CS, although SST changes also show a plateau consistent with the global warming hiatus since 2000. As a proxy for marine productivity, concentrations of chlorophyll-a apparently varied with the SSS and SST changes in the two areas. Our findings suggest that marine ecosystem functions have been greatly affected by climate change through changes in tropical evaporation and rainfall. Meanwhile, persistent SLR and ocean acidification pose serious threats to low-lying coastal areas, small islands, coral-dominated reef ecosystems, and related subsistence fisheries. The sustainable development of communities in low-lying coastal zones and small islands faces significant future challenge. Adaptation strategies for mitigating the effects of climate changes need to be developed and put forward.

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Clarifying the role of coastal and marine systems in climate mitigation

The international scientific community is increasingly recognizing the role of natural systems in climate-change mitigation. While forests have historically been the primary focus of such efforts, coastal wetlands – particularly seagrasses, tidal marshes, and mangroves – are now considered important and effective long-term carbon sinks. However, some members of the coastal and marine policy and management community have been interested in expanding climate mitigation strategies to include other components within coastal and marine systems, such as coral reefs, phytoplankton, kelp forests, and marine fauna. We analyze the scientific evidence regarding whether these marine ecosystems and ecosystem components are viable long-term carbon sinks and whether they can be managed for climate mitigation. Our findings could assist decision makers and conservation practitioners in identifying which components of coastal and marine ecosystems should be prioritized in current climate mitigation strategies and policies.

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book