Posts Tagged 'report'

Ocean acidification in the Arctic: scientific and governance responses


  1. Noting the early response of Arctic environments to global environmental change, this Fact Sheet outlines high rates of ocean acidification experienced in Arctic waters and resulting threats posed to Arctic communities and ecosystems.
  2. The Arctic remains at the forefront of ocean acidification research and governance. In addition to nation actions, the Arctic Council and its working groups engage in ongoing scientific research and governance initiatives addressing ocean acidification throughout the region. The Arctic Council additionally promotes the integration of Indigenous knowledge in research and governance, which may further advance understandings of ocean acidification and other marine stressors.
  3. While scientific and governance attention towards ocean acidification has increased in the Arctic, the issue of ocean acidification remains largely peripheral to global discussions of environmental change. It has therefore been argued that more explicit and specific efforts are need to effectively address ocean acidification, both globally and within the disproportionately vulnerable Arctic environment.
Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification in the Arctic: scientific and governance responses’

Ocean and climate synergies – from ocean warming to rising sea levels

This working paper compiles major impacts of climate change on the ocean, focusing on ocean warming, rising sea levels and ocean acidification. It compiles the reports and projections about ocean and climate in the Asia-Pacific region, emphasizing on extreme weather events, heatwave, coral bleaching, fish migration, degradation of the marine ecosystems, and biodiversity. It also provides sea-level calculations based on satellite data and statistical tools with Asia and Pacific regional examples.

Continue reading ‘Ocean and climate synergies – from ocean warming to rising sea levels’

State of the ocean report 2022: pilot edition

This pilot edition of the State of the Ocean Report (StOR) was proposed and developed to demonstrate the feasibility of keeping the world up to date on the current state of the ocean. Building on examples from IOC-led or joint initiatives, the report is structured around the initial Challenges of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, 2021–2030.

The StOR reveals a lack of reliable benchmarks in many aspects of ocean knowledge. Most sections in the report tend to be descriptive and qualitative, consistent with the recent seminal Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Assessment (IPBES, 2019) that stated: ‘human actions threaten more species with global extinction now than ever before’. The IPBES further elaborates: ‘marine ecosystems, from coastal to deep sea, now show the influence of human actions, with coastal marine ecosystems showing both large historical losses of extent and condition as well as rapid ongoing declines (established but incomplete)’. Indeed, a key conclusion from the pilot StOR is that ocean knowledge is generally able to identify (‘establish’) issues but falls short of these being comprehensive and, hence, actionable (‘incomplete’) – ‘one cannot manage what one cannot measure’.

There is, therefore, an urgent need for a quantitative description of the state of the ocean, with established benchmarks and the capacity to report changes. The overall aim remains – to produce (probably annually) a brief, accessible, one-stop overview of the current state of the ocean, and to mobilize global society to act towards ‘the ocean we need for the future we want’ as a contribution to sustainable development, and in particular to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14. To achieve this, the StOR must be more encompassing. So, for subsequent editions, the IOC will invite contributions from UN agencies and professional organizations, turning the StOR into a pan-UN publication.

Continue reading ‘State of the ocean report 2022: pilot edition’

The United Nations Ocean Conference, 27 June -1 July 2022, Lisbon, Portugal, briefing

Pollution, ecosystem decline, climate impacts and overfishing threaten the health of the world’s ocean. The 2022 Ocean Conference provides an opportunity to strengthen synergies among stakeholders to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, ‘Life Below Water’. The targets set under SDG 14 have largely not been achieved on an international level. Marine pollution remains a major issue, while increasing deoxygenation and acidification is putting marine species and coastal communities alike in danger. Existing and emerging economic activities (such as shipping and seabed mining) are competing for the use of marine space and are threatening ecosystems and biodiversity. Fish stocks continue to be overexploited. The economies of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and many Least Developing States (LDS) depend on the health the ocean.

Continue reading ‘The United Nations Ocean Conference, 27 June -1 July 2022, Lisbon, Portugal, briefing’

Antarctic climate change and the environment: a decadal synopsis and recommendations for action

Scientific evidence is abundantly clear and convincing that due to the current trajectory of human-derived emissions of CO₂ and other greenhouse gases, the atmosphere and ocean will continue to warm, the ocean will continue to acidify, atmospheric and ocean circulation patterns will be altered, the cryosphere will continue to lose ice in all forms, and sea level will rise.

While uncertainties remain about various aspects of the Earth System, what is known is beyond dispute. The trends, based on observations and confirmed by modelling, will accelerate if high rates of CO₂ and other greenhouse gas emissions continue.

The IPCC AR6 WGII Summary for Policymakers (SPM D.5.3) unambiguously emphasises this conclusion: The cumulative scientific evidence is unequivocal: Climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health. Any further delay in concerted anticipatory global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.

Human influence on the climate is clear, with observed changes in the climate and in greenhouse gas concentrations unequivocally attributable to human activities.

Human-induced climate change has caused extensive negative impacts, including losses to people and to nature, some of which are irreversible, such as the extinction of species.

Climate change is increasingly exacerbating the impact of other human-caused effects on nature and human well-being, and the impacts are expected to grow with increasing climate change magnitude.

Observations, modelling and global assessments describe significant changes in Antarctic physical and living systems, both marine and terrestrial.

Changes in Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments are linked to and influence climate impact drivers globally.

The most significant potential influence of Antarctica’s changes will be on global mean sea level change and its influence on society and nature in all coastal regions of the globe.

Further global impacts influenced by Antarctic change include extreme climate and weather events, droughts, wildfires and floods, and ocean acidification. These impacts cause ecosystem disruption and loss of biodiversity beyond the Antarctic region.

Continue reading ‘Antarctic climate change and the environment: a decadal synopsis and recommendations for action’

State of Hawai‘i ocean acidification action plan 2021 -2031

The State of Hawaiʻi Ocean Acidification Action Plan was developed by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) with support from the Hawai‘i Department of Health, Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture, the State of Hawai‘i Climate Change and Mitigation Commission, the University of Hawai‘i – School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program, the International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification, and many other partners and stakeholders.

This Ocean Acidification Action Plan for the State of Hawai‘i is based feedback from state departments, local experts, and partners on local Hawai‘i issues, and from the International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification’s “Action Plan Toolkit”, which was developed through the West Coast Consortium, a partnership of the States of Washington, Oregon, California, and the province of British Columbia.

The State of Hawai‘i activities, projects, and programs that have related to ocean acidification are jointly done by a number of departments and partners. This plan outlines existing activities that State Departments and partners are involved in, as well as forecasting future needs for activities projects, and programs from collaborative partnerships. For this reason, there was effort to put a stand alone plan together as well as integrate ocean acidification and climate considerations into other state plans.

DAR held several webinars to share the recent scientific understand of ocean acidification in Hawai‘i and talk about the ways different states have built their Ocean Acidification Action Plans, and some pathways forward the State of Hawai‘i could take. COVID-19 changed the way that we were able to host meetings and workshops, and so DAR hosted meetings with the contributors with a focus on each Goal related to their expertise to develop objectives and actions. DAR brought the 5 overall goals developed to the State Climate Change and Mitigation Commission for approval as part of the plan development process.

This Ocean Acidification Action Plan is the first of an iterative planning document that provides a strategic vision for developing and coordinating action around ocean acidification and the ocean-climate nexus. The State’s actions will include ways to be understand, adapt, and mitigate, communicate, and network to combat the impacts of ocean acidification in Hawai‘i. In future years, more comprehensive progress reports will include updates of actions implemented by this plan, and edits or changes to suggested actions can be made.

It will be important for State Legislature to create a formal working group of State and County that can guide the implementation and updates to this plan.

Continue reading ‘State of Hawai‘i ocean acidification action plan 2021 -2031’

Ocean acidification (OA) in the Baltic Sea from a Swedish perspective

This report is produced as part of the project “Baltic Sea Acidification Mitigation” (BALSAM), supported by the Swedish Institute. The aim of this report and other, corresponding reports (produced for the other countries participating in BALSAM) is primarily to inform environmental NGOs and other stakeholders interested in environmental issues. The aim of this country report is to provide information on Ocean Acidification (OA) in the Baltic Sea with special emphasis on Swedish waters, and to provide an insight into the research and monitoring that are the basis of the current understanding of OA in these waters. This is done as support for campaigning towards mitigation of greenhouse gases and protection of the seas. Whereas this document is not a comprehensive literature review, it is intended as a timely guide to the concept of OA, and does contain key publications and links to further indepth reading and sources of additional information.

Ocean acidification (OA) comes in the wake of climate change as the result of increased atmospheric CO2, which is taken up by the oceans. About 30 % of the CO2 that is emitted to the atmosphere because of human activity ends up in the waterbodies. Part of the CO2 reacts with water, and forms carbonic acid. Some of the carbonic acid dissociates, resulting in bicarbonate and in hydrogen ions. This process leads to acidification (lower pH, i.e. higher concentration of hydrogen ions). Organisms in the oceans are adapted to the pH-conditions that have prevailed in the seas prior to this human driven acidification-process. Especially calcifying organisms are sensitive to acidification, but the physiology of many other organisms can be affected as well, as can the complex ecological interactions between organisms. In a global setting, ongoing and projected effects of OA have been extensively described in several IPCC reports (e.g. IPCC, 2018, 2019).

In Sweden, an interdisciplinary review on causes and consequences of OA in the Swedish Seas (including both the Baltic Sea and the more saline waters of Skagerrak at the Swedish west coast), as well as knowledge gaps, was published relatively recently as part of work supported by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (Havenhand et al. 2017). Additionally, in the same context, a scientific review focusing on the ecological consequences of OA was published by Havenhand et al. in 2019. A policy brief1 on OA in the Baltic Sea was furthermore published in 2020 by The Baltic Sea Centre of Stockholm University (Gustafsson & Winder 2020). This policy brief provides a general view of OA as support for policy making.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification (OA) in the Baltic Sea from a Swedish perspective’

Tampa Bay coastal acidification research featured in EPA National Estuary Program report

Tampa Bay coastal acidification research conducted by Dr. Kim Yates of SPCMSC was highlighted in the latest Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Estuary Program (NEP) Report, “The National Estuary Program: At the Forefront of Climate Change Adaptation, Hazard Mitigation, and Resilience.”

Dr. Kim Yates of the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center has partnered with the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, EPA National Estuary Program, University of South Florida, and other state and local collaborators for several years to conduct coastal acidification research in Tampa Bay. The partners developed and deployed two ocean carbon systems, one within the bay and a second 60 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico to study changes in acidification parameters within and near the bay. The results of these studies are used to study processes and consequences of acidification, effects of seagrass beds on seawater carbon chemistry and blue carbon, and the potential role of seagrass in protecting Tampa Bay’s marine species from harmful effects of climate change and coastal and ocean acidification. These data are shared and compared across regions and synthesized into national assessments such as the recent EPA report, “Measuring Coastal Acidification Using in Situ Sensors in the National Estuary Program.”

three panel image. a buoy on the surface of the ocean. map with three dots in the bay & dot in gulf. a tower above water.
(A) Ocean Carbon System version 3 (OCSv3) located in the Gulf of Mexico at COMPS C12 buoy. (B) Map of Tampa Bay and coastal Gulf of Mexico with locations of OCS systems. White circles indicate locations of OCS systems. Green triangles indicate the mouths of the Little Manatee River to the northeast and the Manatee River to the southwest of the OCSv2 system. (C) Ocean Carbon System version 2 (OCSv2) located in lower-middle Tampa Bay at PORTS station. (Credit: Mitch Lemon, Cherokee Nation Systems Solutions, Contracted to USGS. Map image is the intellectual property of Esri and is used herein under license. Copyright © 2021 Esri and its licensors. All rights reserved.)

This research is featured within a recently released Environmental Protection Agency report, “The National Estuary Program: At the Forefront of Climate Change Adaptation, Hazard Mitigation, and Resilience.” The report describes the NEP’s efforts to address climate change impacts in their watersheds, working in partnership with federal, state, and local entities. The document specifically focuses on more than 145 NEP projects active in the past four years, between fiscal years 2017-2020. The NEPs implement a wide-ranging portfolio of climate adaptation, hazard mitigation, and resiliency projects. The NEP was established as a non-regulatory program to improve the waters and habitats of 28 estuaries of national significance, including Tampa Bay.

For more information please visit:

Read the new EPA report: The National Estuary Program: At the Forefront of Climate Change Adaptation, Hazard Mitigation, and Resilience

Visit the EPA report webpage: The National Estuary Program: At the Forefront of Climate Change Adaptation, Hazard Mitigation, and Resilience

Read the related EPA report: Measuring Coastal Acidification Using In Situ Sensors in the National Estuary Program

Read the Frontiers in Maarine Science research article: Integrating High-Resolution Coastal Acidification Monitoring Data Across Seven United States Estuaries

Continue reading ‘Tampa Bay coastal acidification research featured in EPA National Estuary Program report’

New report shows impacts of climate change and extreme weather in Latin America and Caribbean (text & video)

LAC State of the Climate 2020

Climate change and extreme weather are threatening human health and safety, food, water and energy security and the environment in Latin America and the Caribbean. The impacts span the entire region, including Andean peaks, mighty river basins and low-lying islands, according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). It flags concerns about fires and the loss of forests which are a vital carbon sink.

The “State of the Climate in Latin America and the Caribbean 2020” provides a snapshot of the effects of increasing temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, storms and retreating glaciers. It includes transboundary analyses, such as of the drought of the South American Pantanal and the intense hurricane season in Central America-Caribbean. It provides a detailed regional breakdown of worsening global climate change indicators.

The report and an accompanying story map show how marine life, coastal ecosystems and the human communities that depend on them, particularly in Small Island Developing States, are facing increasing threats from ocean acidification and heat and rising sea levels.

The report was released at a high-level conference on 17 August, “Working together for weather, climate and water resilience in Latin America and the Caribbean” under the auspices of WMO, the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC), and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).

It follows the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science basis, which said that temperatures in the region have increased more than the global average and are likely to continue to do so. It also projected changing precipitation patterns, more sea level rise, coastal flooding and marine heatwaves.

Continue reading ‘New report shows impacts of climate change and extreme weather in Latin America and Caribbean (text & video)’

AR6 Climate change 2021: the physical science basis

The Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report addresses the most up-to-date physical understanding of the climate system and climate change, bringing together the latest advances in climate science, and combining multiple lines of evidence from paleoclimate, observations, process understanding, and global and regional climate simulations.

Disclaimer: The Summary for Policymakers (SPM) is the approved version from the 14th session of Working Group I and 54th Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and remains subject to final copy-editing and layout.

The Technical Summary (TS), the full Report Chapters, the Annexes and the Supplementary Materials are the Final Government Distribution versions, and remain subject to revisions following the SPM approval, corrigenda, copy-editing, and layout.

Full report

CHANGING by Alisa Singer
Changing by the artist Alisa Singer
“As we witness our planet transforming around us we watch, listen, measure … respond.”

Continue reading ‘AR6 Climate change 2021: the physical science basis’

Global warming ‘unequivocally’ human driven, at unprecedented rate: IPCC

A wildfire burns in a national park in Oregon, USA.
A wildfire burns in a national park in Oregon, USA. Unsplash/Marcus Kauffman

Climate change is widespread, rapid, and intensifying, and some trends are now irreversible, at least during the present time frame, according to the latest much-anticipated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, released on Monday.

Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe. Scientists are also observing changes across the whole of Earth’s climate system; in the atmosphere, in the oceans, ice floes, and on land.

Many of these changes are unprecedented, and some of the shifts are in motion now, while some – such as continued sea level rise – are already ‘irreversible’ for centuries to millennia, aheadthe report warns.

But there is still time to limit climate change, IPCC experts say. Strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases, could quickly make air quality better, and in 20 to 30 years global temperatures could stabilize.

‘Code red for humanity’

The UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the Working Group’s report was nothing less than “a code red for humanity. The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable”.

He noted that the internationally-agreed threshold of 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels of global heating was “perilously close. We are at imminent risk of hitting 1.5 degrees in the near term. The only way to prevent exceeding this threshold, is by urgently stepping up our efforts, and persuing the most ambitious path.

“We must act decisively now, to keep 1.5 alive.”

The UN chief in a detailed reaction to the report, said that solutions were clear. “Inclusive and green economies, prosperity, cleaner air and better health are possible for all, if we respond to this crisis with solidarity and courage”, he said.

He added that ahead of the crucial COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November, all nations – especiall the advanced G20 economies – needed to join the net zero emissions coaltion, and reinforce their promises on slowing down and reversing global heating, “with credible, concrete, and enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)” that lay out detailed steps.

Continue reading ‘Global warming ‘unequivocally’ human driven, at unprecedented rate: IPCC’

Key climate change effects on the coastal and marine environment around the Pacific UK Overseas Territories

• Climate-driven changes in the central south Pacific Ocean will cause widespread warming of ocean waters, altered circulation, increased stratification of the water column and limited nutrient supply to the surface, decreasing dissolved oxygen, ocean acidification and rising sea levels. These changes will impact marine and terrestrial ecosystems and the communities they support.

• Ultimately, important sectors, such as fisheries and tourism, will be affected by these changes, as will food and water security and essential services, such as energy, transport of goods and coastal protection.

• Coral reefs are unlikely to experience significant heat stress, but should they be impacted by changes in sea temperature, including cold water intrusion, their recovery appears challenging due to the islands’ isolation and therefore the low supply of healthy coral larvae from other reef systems. By the end of the century, even under lowemissions scenarios, acidification conditions in the seawater around the Pitcairn Islands are likely to become marginal for coral calcification.

• Increasing Sea Surface Temperature (SST), ocean acidification and related changes to oxygen concentrations and stratification are expected to affect the health of coral reefs that support coastal fisheries in the Pitcairn Islands, and reduce productivity. Pelagic tuna fisheries are also expected to be affected by climate change with a slight increase in biomass for all tuna species projected for this part of the central south Pacific Ocean.

• Rising sea levels, storm surges, severe storm events and heavy rains will impact infrastructure networks on Pitcairn Island and the safe transport of goods via shipping to the island. Integrating climate change considerations into existing and new infrastructure is essential for building resilience to future climate change impacts.

• Downscaled projections for the Pitcairn Islands (at a relevant scale) will be particularly important for SST, since it is postulated that coral reefs and marine species may be buffered from regional increasing SST due to circulation patterns. This dynamic needs to be examined further to determine if it is in fact occurring or likely to occur, and therefore improve understanding on the potential impacts of increasing SST on marine ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Key climate change effects on the coastal and marine environment around the Pacific UK Overseas Territories’

State of the global climate 2020

In order to unpack such complexity, the WMO State of the Global Climate uses seven Climate Indicators to describe the changing climate providing a broad view of the climate at a global scale. They are used to monitor the domains most relevant to climate change, including the composition of the atmosphere, the energy changes that arise from the accumulation of greenhouse gases and other factors, as well as the responses of land, oceans and ice. The following site aims to provide an overview of the annually produced State of the Climate report.

Resource type: report

Resource format: webpage

WMO – World Metereological Organization, 1 April 2021. Resource.

New report highlights why the ocean matters in climate negotiations & suggests positive actions nations can take as the countdown to COP26 is underway

Leading UK experts shine a spotlight on the critical role the ocean plays in greatly slowing the rate of climate change but also the subsequent impacts of this and why support from nations for better inclusion of the ocean at the United Nations climate negotiations, such as COP26 in Glasgow this November, is so important.

The briefing, led by Plymouth Marine Laboratory, summarises the latest research and knowledge on the importance of the ocean, as well as offering a range of opportunities to nations in order to ensure that the ocean can be developed sustainably for the benefits it provides to people around the world.

Developed by a team of experts from leading UK marine and environmental science universities and centres and published in association with the COP26 Universities Network, the briefing also makes suggestions on how the ocean can be better incorporated in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process.

The key messages are:

Continue reading ‘New report highlights why the ocean matters in climate negotiations & suggests positive actions nations can take as the countdown to COP26 is underway’

  • Reset


OA-ICC Highlights

%d bloggers like this: