One of the highlights at last week's ASC was the open session organized by the ICES/PICES Strategic Initiative on Climate Change (SICCME). Four lead authors of the IPCC 5th Assessment Report presented key panel findings with respect to past and future climate change, changes in the oceans, impacts on marine ecosystems, and consequences for fisheries and ecosystem management.
Matt Collins from the University of Exeter, UK delivered the panel's long-term projections of climate change, pointing out that while theory, models, and observations need to be developed further, there are some robust features in climate models that can be used to make assessments of very large-scale climate change.
Svein Sundby from the Institute of Marine Research, Norway, gave a summary of the ocean chapters from the report. The impacts of global climate change on ocean physics and chemistry are threefold: oceans are getting warmer, losing oxygen, and becoming acidified. The overall consequences of climate change for marine ecosystems include alterations in productivity, displacement of species, and changes in species diversity as well as in the structure and functioning of ecosystems.
Anne Hollowed from the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, USA, gave a presentation on the projected impacts of climate change on Arctic marine ecosystems. With climate change having a stronger effect in cold areas, Arctic marine ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to changes, ranging from increased ocean temperature to reduced sea ice cover in the summer and changes in the size, distribution, and abundance of plankton.
Jake Rice from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada, concluded events by summarizing the mitigation report by Working Group 3. He pointed out that climate change mitigation is a global commons problem that requires international cooperation across scales. Technology and human behaviour (and the changing of it) are key in solving the problem.
Future SICCME activities
Organizers of the ASC open session encouraged participants to join future SICCME activities.
ICES, PICES, and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) are organizing the Third International Symposium on the Effects of Climate Change on the World's Oceans in Santos, Brazil, 23-27 March next year. Abstract submission deadline for the symposium is 31 October.
SICCME group is also planning to organize a modeling workshop on the effects of climate change on fish and fisheries next August in the US. The intention is to build a community of research partners to coordinate international efforts assessing how climate change is projected to impact ecosystems with a focus on consequences for fish. For more information, contact ICES Secretariat.
Matt Collins at the SICCME open session in A Coruña.