Posts Tagged 'mitigation'

Assessing carbon dioxide removal through global and regional ocean alkalization under high and low emission pathways

Atmospheric CO2 levels continue to rise, increasing the risk of severe impacts on the Earth system, and on the ecosystem services that it provides. Artificial Ocean Alkalization (AOA) is capable of reducing atmospheric CO2 concentrations, surface warming and addressing ocean acidification. Here we simulate global and regional responses to alkalinity addition (0.25 PmolAlk/year) using the CSIRO-Mk3L-COAL Earth System Model in the period 2020–2100, under high (RCP8.5) and low (RCP2.6) emissions. While regionally there are large changes associated with locations of AOA, globally we see only a very weak dependence on where and when AOA is applied. We see that under RCP2.6, while the carbon uptake associated with AOA is only ~ 60 % of the total under RCP8.5, the relative changes in temperature are larger, as are the changes in pH (1.4×) and aragonite saturation (1.7×). The results of this modelling study are significant as they demonstrate that AOA is more effective under lower emissions, and the higher the emissions the more AOA required to achieve the same reduction in global warming and ocean acidification. Finally, our simulations show AOA in the period 2020–2100 is capable of offsetting global warming and ameliorating ocean acidification increases due to low emissions, but regionally the response is more variable.

Continue reading ‘Assessing carbon dioxide removal through global and regional ocean alkalization under high and low emission pathways’

Management strategies for coral reefs and people under global environmental change: 25 years of scientific research

Highlights

• We develop a typology of management strategies for coral reefs and people under GEC.
• Using this typology we review research efforts on management strategies over 25 years.
• Half of all case studies focus on corals reefs in Australia and the United States.
• Most research focuses on marine protection; repair & adapt strategies need attention.
• Developing countries in the Indo-Pacific and the Caribbean are poorly studied.

Abstract

Coral reef ecosystems and the people who depend on them are increasingly exposed to the adverse effects of global environmental change (GEC), including increases in sea-surface temperature and ocean acidification. Managers and decision-makers need a better understanding of the options available for action in the face of these changes. We refine a typology of actions developed by Gattuso et al. (2015) that could serve in prioritizing strategies to deal with the impacts of GEC on reefs and people. Using the typology we refined, we investigate the scientific effort devoted to four types of management strategies: mitigate, protect, repair, adapt that we tie to the components of the chain of impact they affect: ecological vulnerability or social vulnerability. A systematic literature review is used to investigate quantitatively how scientific effort over the past 25 years is responding to the challenge posed by GEC on coral reefs and to identify gaps in research. A growing literature has focused on these impacts and on management strategies to sustain coral reef social-ecological systems. We identify 767 peer reviewed articles published between 1990 and 2016 that address coral reef management in the context of GEC. The rate of publication of such studies has increased over the years, following the general trend in climate research. The literature focuses on protect strategies the most, followed by mitigate and adapt strategies, and finally repair strategies. Developed countries, particularly Australia and the United States, are over-represented as authors and locations of case studies across all types of management strategies. Authors affiliated in developed countries play a major role in investigating case studies across the globe. The majority of articles focus on only one of the four categories of actions. A gap analysis reveals three directions for future research: (1) more research is needed in South-East Asia and other developing countries where the impacts of GEC on coral reefs will be the greatest, (2) more scholarly effort should be devoted to understanding how adapt and repair strategies can deal with the impacts of GEC, and (3) the simultaneous assessment of multiple strategies is needed to understand trade-offs and synergies between actions.

Continue reading ‘Management strategies for coral reefs and people under global environmental change: 25 years of scientific research’

Short-term spatial and temporal carbonate chemistry variability in two contrasting seagrass meadows: implications for pH buffering capacities

It has been hypothesized that highly productive coastal ecosystems, such as seagrass meadows, could lead to the establishment of ocean acidification (OA) refugia, or areas of elevated pH and aragonite saturation state (Ωa) compared to source seawater. However, seagrass ecosystems experience extreme variability in carbonate chemistry across short temporal and small spatial scales, which could impact the pH buffering capacity of these potential refugia. Herein, short-term (hourly to diel) and small-scale (across 0.01–0.14 km2) spatiotemporal carbonate chemistry variability was assessed within two seagrass meadows in order to determine their short-term potential to elevate seawater pH relative to source seawater. Two locations at similar latitudes were chosen in order to compare systems dominated by coarse calcium carbonate (Bailey’s Bay, Bermuda) and muddy silicate (Mission Bay, CA, USA) sediments. In both systems, spatial variability of pH across the seagrass meadow at any given time was often greater than diel variability (e.g., the average range over 24 h) at any one site, with greater spatial variability occurring at low tide in Mission Bay. Mission Bay (spatial ΔpH = 0.08 ± 0.08; diel ΔpH = 0.12 ± 0.01; mean ± SD) had a greater average range in both temporal and spatial seawater chemistry than Bailey’s Bay (spatial ΔpH = 0.02 ± 0.01; diel ΔpH = 0.03 ± 0.00; mean ± SD). These differences were most likely due to a combination of slower currents, a larger tidal range, and more favorable weather conditions for photosynthesis (e.g., sunny with no rain) in Mission Bay. In both systems, there was a substantial amount of time (usually at night) when seawater pH within the seagrass beds was lower relative to the source seawater. Future studies aimed at assessing the potential of seagrass ecosystems to act as OA refugia for marine organisms need to account for the small-scale, high-frequency carbonate chemistry variability in both space and time, as this variability will impact where and when OA will be buffered or intensified.

Continue reading ‘Short-term spatial and temporal carbonate chemistry variability in two contrasting seagrass meadows: implications for pH buffering capacities’

Simulated effect of carbon cycle feedback on climate response to solar geoengineering

Most modeling studies investigate climate effects of solar geoengineering under prescribed atmospheric CO2, thereby neglecting potential climate feedbacks from the carbon cycle. Here we use an Earth system model to investigate interactive feedbacks between solar geoengineering, global carbon cycle, and climate change. We design idealized sunshade geoengineering simulations to prevent global warming from exceeding 2°C above preindustrial under a CO2emission scenario with emission mitigation starting from middle of century. By year 2100, solar geoengineering reduces the burden of atmospheric CO2 by 47 PgC with enhanced carbon storage in the terrestrial biosphere. As a result of reduced atmospheric CO2, consideration of the carbon cycle feedback reduces required insolation reduction in 2100 from 2.0 to 1.7 W m−2. With higher climate sensitivity the effect from carbon cycle feedback becomes more important. Our study demonstrates the importance of carbon cycle feedback in climate response to solar geoengineering.

Continue reading ‘Simulated effect of carbon cycle feedback on climate response to solar geoengineering’

Differing responses of the estuarine bivalve Limecola balthica to lowered water pH caused by potential CO2 leaks from a sub-seabed storage site in the Baltic Sea: an experimental study

Highlights

  • CO2-induced seawater acidification affected behavioral and physiological traits of Limecola balthica from the Baltic Sea.
  • In response to hypercapnia, the bivalves approached the sediment surface and increased respiration rates.
  • Lower seawater pH reduced shell weight and growth, and increased soft tissue weight that places L. balthica in a unique position among marine invertebrates.

Abstract

Sub-Seabed CCS is regarded as a key technology for the reduction of CO2 emissions, but little is known about the mechanisms through which leakages from storage sites impact benthic species. In this study, the biological responses of the infaunal bivalve Limecola balthica to CO2-induced seawater acidification (pH 7.7, 7.0, and 6.3) were quantified in 56-day mesocosm experiments. Increased water acidity caused changes in behavioral and physiological traits, but even the most acidic conditions did not prove to be fatal. In response to hypercapnia, the bivalves approached the sediment surface and increased respiration rates. Lower seawater pH reduced shell weight and growth, while it simultaneously increased soft tissue weight; this places L. balthica in a somewhat unique position among marine invertebrates.

Continue reading ‘Differing responses of the estuarine bivalve Limecola balthica to lowered water pH caused by potential CO2 leaks from a sub-seabed storage site in the Baltic Sea: an experimental study’

Investigating the collective effect of two ocean acidification adaptation strategies on juvenile clams (Venerupis philippinarum)

Anthropogenic CO2 emissions have altered Earth’s climate system at an unprecedented rate, causing global climate change and ocean acidification. Surface ocean pH has increased by 26% since the industrial era and is predicted to increase another 100% by 2100. Additional stress from abrupt changes in carbonate chemistry in conjunction with other natural and anthropogenic impacts may push populations over critical thresholds. Bivalves are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of acidification during early life-history stages. Two substrate additives, shell hash and macrophytes, have been proposed as potential ocean acidification adaptation strategies for bivalves but there is limited research into their effectiveness. This study uses a split plot design to examine four different combinations of the two substratum treatments on juvenile Venerupis philippinarum settlement, survival, and growth and on local water chemistry at Fidalgo Bay and Skokomish Delta, Washington. Results show no macrophyte or shell hash treatment effect on V. philippinarum settlement or survival. A significant macrophyte treatment effect was detected on clam growth, with mean length higher when macrophytes were absent regardless of the presence or absence of shell hash. Additionally, the macrophyte treatment appeared to have an opposite effect on pH than was anticipated, where pH was higher outside of macrophyte beds than inside. Although these results do not support the use of either treatment as an ocean acidification adaptation strategy, the mixed results reported in the literature for both treatments highlight the nascent nature of this research. As atmospheric CO2 concentrations continue to increase, there is an exigent need for additional studies to determine the specific conditions under which these strategies might help produce conditions conducive to settlement, growth, and survival of bivalves and other calcifying organisms. Such research could help guide local adaptation actions, especially among resource-dependent communities that rely on sustainable fisheries for their health and well-being.

Continue reading ‘Investigating the collective effect of two ocean acidification adaptation strategies on juvenile clams (Venerupis philippinarum)’

Ecological performance of construction materials subject to ocean climate change

Artificial structures will be increasingly utilized to protect coastal infrastructure from sea-level rise and storms associated with climate change. Although it is well documented that the materials comprising artificial structures influence the composition of organisms that use them as habitat, little is known about how these materials may chemically react with changing seawater conditions, and what effects this will have on associated biota. We investigated the effects of ocean warming, acidification, and type of coastal infrastructure material on algal turfs. Seawater acidification resulted in greater covers of turf, though this effect was counteracted by elevated temperatures. Concrete supported a greater cover of turf than granite or high-density polyethylene (HDPE) under all temperature and pH treatments, with the greatest covers occurring under simulated ocean acidification. Furthermore, photosynthetic efficiency under acidification was greater on concrete substratum compared to all other materials and treatment combinations. These results demonstrate the capacity to maximise ecological benefits whilst still meeting local management objectives when engineering coastal defense structures by selecting materials that are appropriate in an ocean change context. Therefore, mitigation efforts to offset impacts from sea-level rise and storms can also be engineered to alter, or even reduce, the effects of climatic change on biological assemblages.

Continue reading ‘Ecological performance of construction materials subject to ocean climate change’


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OA-ICC HIGHLIGHTS

Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book