Posts Tagged 'socio-economy'

Ocean and coastal indicators: understanding and coping with climate change at the land-sea interface

The U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) encompasses approximately 3.4 million square nautical miles of ocean and a coastline of over 12,300 miles. Along with the Great Lakes, this vast area generates ~US 370 billion of U.S. gross domestic product, 617 billion in sales and 2.6 million jobs each year. These ocean and coastal ecosystems also provide many important non-market services including subsistence food provisioning, health benefits, shoreline protection, climate regulation, conservation of marine biodiversity, and preservation of cultural heritage. As climatic changes occur, these benefits or ecosystem services may be significantly reduced or in some cases enhanced. These services are also under an array of pressures including over-exploitation of natural resources, pollution, and land use changes that occur simultaneously in synergistic, multiplicative, or antagonistic ways. This results in direct and indirect impacts that are often unpredictable across spatial and temporal scales. Here, we discuss a set of indicators designed in close collaboration with the U.S. National Climate Indicators System. Tracking the impacts via indicators will be essential to ensure long-term health of the marine environment and sustain the benefits to stakeholders who depend on marine ecosystem services.

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Chapter 2: The impact of climate change on oceans: physical, chemical and biological responses

The rising concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have caused observed physical, chemical and biological changes in the oceans, with further changes projected over coming decades. The impact of climate change on the oceans are profound, with rapid warming in ocean hotspots combined with extreme events such as marine heatwaves changing the distribution and abundance of a wide range of marine species. Further, ocean acidification, sea level rise, and deoxygenation may have important consequences for the marine ecosystems and the ecosystem services derived from the ocean. These observed and future ocean changes are irreversible on the timescale of many centuries. As a result, management of marine resources, for both extractive (for example, fishing) and non-extractive (for example, marine tourism) will need to account for the effects of climate change. For example, changes in abundance of marine species will impact harvesting levels and ecosystem structure, while changes in species’ distribution will challenge place-based management and agreements between nations. Adaptation to some of these changes will be possible; however, without substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions the oceans will change and not provide the same support for human activities as currently enjoyed. The changing nature of the ocean, and the impact it may have on ecosystems and communities, represents a huge challenge to future community interactions at local, national and international scales. It also raises the possibility of active intervention in the climate system to minimize the impacts of climate change which will introduce a complex set of issues to be considered before implementing any intervention.

Continue reading ‘Chapter 2: The impact of climate change on oceans: physical, chemical and biological responses’

Chapter 18: Responding to ocean acidification beyond climate governance

Ocean acidification (OA) has significant impacts on marine species and ecosystems. Responses to acidification to date have been piecemeal and uncoordinated, but there is a growing focus on possible strategies to ameliorate the environmental, social and economic impacts of ocean acidification. Rather than asking how the ‘issue’ of acidification should be governed, this chapter argues that a ‘solutions-based’ approach that focuses on response strategies to ocean acidification provides an important foundation for governance of the problem. These include reducing non-climate sources of OA, improving ecosystem resilience by reducing other stressors, alteration of ocean chemistry, and options for assisting dependent communities, sectors and industries to adapt to inevitable changes. The diversity of response options and relevant regulatory arrangements requires that governance be similarly diverse across sectors, scale, participants and mechanisms. Both international and domestic environmental laws will have a role to play in managing response strategies. This approach does not require regimes to be tightly integrated or interdependent. Instead, progress can be made in some areas more easily than others, and this ‘mosaic’ or ‘patchwork’ approach enables action to be undertaken wherever possible. A solutions-oriented approach will also have the advantage of moving on more established legal realms, potentially depoliticizing responses to what could be seen as a ‘climate change’ problem.

Continue reading ‘Chapter 18: Responding to ocean acidification beyond climate governance’

Economic impacts of ocean acidification: a meta-analysis

This paper presents the first comprehensive review and synthesis of studies that forecast economic impacts of ocean acidification. The changes in seawater chemistry resulting from increased carbon dioxide emissions, collectively known as ocean acidification, will have detrimental impacts to marine ecosystem services. Those services include wild capture fisheries, aquaculture, recreation, shoreline protection, and others. The current literature valuing expected impacts to those services is rather thin and tends to focus on mollusk harvesting and aquaculture. Despite the paucity of studies, we divide all relevant estimates into seven additively separable economic sectors to provide the first aggregate estimate of economic damages from ocean acidification at the end of this century. We perform non-parametric bootstrap to characterize the distribution of estimates within each sector and the aggregation across sectors. We also perform meta-regressions to explore whether estimates provided by these studies are generally consistent with expectations based on ocean chemistry and economic theory. We find a global average of per capita annual losses in the year 2100 between $47 and $58 and we find strong evidence that estimates are consistent with expectations given future emissions and socio-economic scenarios that underlie the original studies.

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Synthesizing and communicating climate change impacts to inform coastal adaptation planning

Planning for adaptation to climate change requires regionally relevant information on rising air and ocean temperatures, sea levels, increasingly frequent and intense storms, and other climate-related impacts. However, in many regions there are limited focused syntheses of the climate impacts, risks, and potential adaptation strategies for coastal marine areas and sectors. We report on a regional assessment of climate change impacts and recommendations for adaptation strategies in the NE Pacific Coast (British Columbia, Canada), conducted in collaboration with a regional planning and plan implementation partnership (Marine Plan Partnership for the North Pacific Coast), aimed at bridging the gaps between climate science and regional adaptation planning. We incorporated both social and ecological aspects of climate change impacts and adaptations, and the feedback mechanisms which may result in both increased risks and opportunities for the following areas of interest: “Ecosystems”, “Fisheries and Aquaculture”, “Communities”, and“Marine Infrastructure”. As next steps within the region, we propose proactive planning measures including communication of the key impacts and projections and cross-sectoral assessments of climate vulnerability and risk to direct decision-making.

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First-hand knowledge of BC ocean change: oyster farmers’ experiences of environmental change and oyster die-off events

Recent studies call for transdisciplinary research to address the consequences of anthropogenic change on human-environment systems, like the impact of ocean acidification (OA) on oyster aquaculture. I surveyed oyster farmers in coastal British Columbia, Canada, about their first-hand experiences of ocean change. Farmers reported that oyster mortality (die-off events) is one of many challenges they face and is likely related to several interacting environmental factors, including water temperature and oyster food, particularly in 2016. I examined temperature, productivity, and carbonate chemistry conditions from 2013 to 2017 using available observations and the Salish Sea model, to understand poor oyster growing conditions in 2016. While temperatures were relatively high and chlorophyll relatively low during the 2016 spring bloom, carbonate conditions were relatively good, suggesting OA was not a key driver of difficult oyster growing conditions. This work provides a novel example of using local knowledge to better inform scientific investigation and adaptation to environmental change.

Continue reading ‘First-hand knowledge of BC ocean change: oyster farmers’ experiences of environmental change and oyster die-off events’

Effects of climate change on coastal ecosystem food webs: implications for aquaculture

Highlights

• Food web models and scenarios were used to forecast effects of climate change.

• Modeled bays were vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

• In two of three study bays the ability to support bivalve aquaculture disappeared.

Abstract

Coastal ecosystems provide important ecosystem services for millions of people. Climate change is modifying coastal ecosystem food web structure and function and threatens these essential ecosystem services. We used a combination of two new and one existing ecosystem food web models and altered scenarios that are possible with climate change to quantify the impacts of climate change on ecosystem stability in three coastal bays in Maine, United States. We also examined the impact of climate change on bivalve fisheries and aquaculture. Our modeled scenarios explicitly considered the predicted effects of future climatic change and human intervention and included: 1) the influence of increased terrestrial dissolved organic carbon loading on phytoplankton biomass; 2) benthic community change driven by synergisms between climate change, historical overfishing, and increased species invasion; and 3) altered trophic level energy transfer driven by ocean warming and acidification. The effects of climate change strongly negatively influenced ecosystem energy flow and ecosystem stability and negatively affected modeled bivalve carrying capacity in each of our models along the Maine coast of the eastern United States. Our results suggest that the interconnected nature of ecosystem food webs make them extremely vulnerable to synergistic effects of climate change. To better inform fisheries and aquaculture management, the effects of climate change must be explicitly incorporated.

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An uncertain future: effects of ocean acidification and elevated temperature on a New Zealand snapper (Chrysophrys a uratus) population

Highlights

• Modelling suggests the effect of climate change on snapper populations is uncertain.

• Impacts range from a 29% reduction to a 44% increase in fishery yield.

• These impacts are most likely mediated via impacts on recruitment.

Abstract

Anthropogenic CO2 emissions are warming and acidifying Earth’s oceans, which is likely to lead to a variety of effects on marine ecosystems. Fish populations will be vulnerable to this change, and there is now substantial evidence of the direct and indirect effects of climate change on fish. There is also a growing effort to conceptualise the effects of climate change on fish within population models. In the present study knowledge about the response of New Zealand snapper to warming and acidification was incorporated within a stock assessment model. Specifically, a previous tank experiment on larval snapper suggested both positive and negative effects, and otolith increment analysis on wild snapper indicated that growth may initially increase, followed by a potential decline as temperatures continue to warm. As a result of this uncertainty, sensitivity analysis was performed by varying average virgin recruitment (R0) by ±30%, adult growth by ±6%, but adjusting mean size at recruitment by +48% as we had better evidence for this increase. Overall adjustments to R0 had the biggest impact on the future yield (at a management target of 40% of an unfished population) of the Hauraki Gulf snapper fishery. The most negative scenario suggested a 29% decrease in fishery yield, while the most optimistic scenario suggested a 44% increase. While largely uncertain, these results provide some scope for predicting future impacts on the snapper fishery. Given that snapper is a species where the response to climate change has been specifically investigated, increasing uncertainty in a future where climate change and other stressors interact in complex and unpredictable ways is likely to be an important consideration for the management of nearly all fish populations.

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Acidification in the U.S. Southeast: causes, potential consequences and the role of the Southeast Ocean and Coastal Acidification Network

Coastal acidification in southeastern U.S. estuaries and coastal waters is influenced by biological activity, run-off from the land, and increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Acidification can negatively impact coastal resources such as shellfish, finfish, and coral reefs, and the communities that rely on them. Organismal responses for species located in the U.S. Southeast document large negative impacts of acidification, especially in larval stages. For example, the toxicity of pesticides increases under acidified conditions and the combination of acidification and low oxygen has profoundly negative influences on genes regulating oxygen consumption. In corals, the rate of calcification decreases with acidification and processes such as wound recovery, reproduction, and recruitment are negatively impacted. Minimizing the changes in global ocean chemistry will ultimately depend on the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, but adaptation to these changes and mitigation of the local stressors that exacerbate global acidification can be addressed locally. The evolution of our knowledge of acidification, from basic understanding of the problem to the emergence of applied research and monitoring, has been facilitated by the development of regional Coastal Acidification Networks (CANs) across the United States. This synthesis is a product of the Southeast Coastal and Ocean Acidification Network (SOCAN). SOCAN was established to better understand acidification in the coastal waters of the U.S. Southeast and to foster communication among scientists, resource managers, businesses, and governments in the region. Here we review acidification issues in the U.S. Southeast, including the regional mechanisms of acidification and their potential impacts on biological resources and coastal communities. We recommend research and monitoring priorities and discuss the role SOCAN has in advancing acidification research and mitigation of and adaptation to these changes.

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Mapping cumulative impacts to coastal ecosystem services in British Columbia

Ecosystem services are impacted through restricting service supply, through limiting people from accessing services, and by affecting the quality of services. We map cumulative impacts to 8 different ecosystem services in coastal British Columbia using InVEST models, spatial data, and expert elicitation to quantify risk to each service from anthropogenic activities. We find that impact to service access and quality as well as impact to service supply results in greater severity of impact and a greater diversity of causal processes of impact than only considering impact to service supply. This suggests that limiting access to services and impacts to service quality may be important and understanding these kinds of impacts may complement our knowledge of impacts to biophysical systems that produce services. Some ecosystem services are at greater risk from climate stressors while others face greater risk from local activities. Prominent causal pathways of impact include limiting access and affecting quality. Mapping cumulative impacts to ecosystem services can yield rich insights, including highlighting areas of high impact and understanding causes of impact, and should be an essential management tool to help maintain the flow of services we benefit from.

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