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Deep waters buffering climate change – Sea-level rise ‘could last twice as long as human history’
Research warns of the long timescale of climate change impacts unless urgent action is taken to cut emissions drastically. The report, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, notes most research looks at the impacts of global warming by 2100 and so misses one of the biggest consequences for civilisation – the long-term melting of polar ice caps and sea-level rise.
Huge sea-level rises caused by climate change will last far longer than the entire history of human civilisation to date, according to new research, unless the brief window of opportunity of the next few decades is used to cut carbon emissions drastically. Even if global warming is capped at governments’ target of 2C – which is already seen as difficult – 20 per cent of the world’s population will eventually have to migrate away from coasts swamped by rising oceans. Cities including New York, London, Rio de Janeiro, Cairo, Calcutta, Jakarta and Shanghai would all be submerged.
By far the greatest contributor to the sea level rise – about 80 per cent – would be the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet. Another new study in Nature Climate Change published on Monday reveals that some large Antarctic ice sheets are dangerously close to losing the sea ice shelves that hold back their flow into the ocean.
MCCIP recently launched its report card looking at the implications of climate change for the implementation of marine biodiversity legislation. Much of the detail supporting the card has now been published as an open access paper.
Atmospheric carbon dioxide is a global potential tragedy, and stabilizing Earth’s climate will require more collectively decided direction of human activity than we as a species have ever yet been forced to accomplish. But the Paris agreement gives hope that we will rise to the occasion.
A report from the RSPB that presents the evidence that wildlife in the UK and beyond is already facing a more challenging time due to the climate change that has occurred; and that things are, for the most part, only likely to get worse. The report includes coastal examples.
The impacts of climate change are being observed earlier in the Arctic with more immediate and severe consequences than in most of the rest of the world. The Arctic atmosphere is warming at a rate almost twice the global average and reductions in Arctic sea-ice and permafrost and changes in weather are increasingly visible.
In the last century, the global temperature has increased by 1.4 degrees F (0.8 degrees C), according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and changes are being observed in regions around the world: melting snow ice and glaciers in Europe, shifts in terrestrial ecosystems in Asia, wildfires in the state of Alaska. But just how much are humans responsible for climate change?
Researchers argue that both ocean scientists and world leaders should pay more attention to how communities are experiencing, adapting to and even influencing changes in the world’s oceans. [see Allison & Bassett 2015]
University of Bristol Ocean acidification (the ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth’s oceans, caused by the uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere), is affecting the formation of the skeleton of coralline algae which play an important part in marine biodiversity, new research from the University of Bristol has found.
Coralline red algae form maerl beds which provide important habitat in shallow waters, including the UK coastal shelf. Maerl hosts a high diversity of organisms by providing habitats, shelter and nursery areas for, amongst others, fish larvae and young scallops. Both coralline algae and the maerl beds they generate are protected by national and international regulation as they form biodiversity hotspots and support fisheries.
The skeletal structure of coralline algae is composed of high- magnesium calcite, the most soluble form of calcium carbonate, and is therefore potentially vulnerable to the change in carbonate chemistry resulting from the absorption of man-made CO2 by the ocean.