The Ocean’s Role in Climate Change. Responding to the Kyoto Protocol Climate Change Action Fund (CCAF) Initiatives Reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Reduce.
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Presentation on theme: "The Ocean’s Role in Climate Change. Responding to the Kyoto Protocol Climate Change Action Fund (CCAF) Initiatives Reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Reduce."— Presentation transcript:
Responding to the Kyoto Protocol Climate Change Action Fund (CCAF) Initiatives Reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Reduce scientific uncertainties, oceans are a major factor. Precautions where appropriate. Assess adaptation strategies.
Global Warming Has Begun 10 warmest years within the last 160 years have just recently occurred. 1997 used to be the warmest over this timeframe, 1998 was significantly warmer. losses from weather related disasters are escalating, to $75 billion (US) in 1998. IPCC suggests “a discernable human influence on global climate”.
Impacts of climate change on ecosystems and people are likely to be severe Oceans are a critical part of the climate system (ocean circulation, greenhouse gases) Variations in ocean climate affect all Canadians The oceans role in the climate system must be better monitored and understood to reduce uncertainties in climate forecasts Key Issues
Climate Change Impacts Fresh Water Species Sea Ice Forest Fires Lake Levels Drought Fish Limit New Species Storms Invertebrates Groundfish Icebergs – sea levels, sea ice – ocean temperature circulation, etc. – fisheries species and distributions – coastal communities Land Environment – increased drought, floods, forest fires – changed hydrology affecting energy, transportation, tourism Marine Environment
Oceans are the Flywheel of the Climate System 71% of Earth’s Surface The oceans are the system’s flywheel, retaining and moving vast amounts of heat. Oceans cover 71% of the Earth’s surface. Oceans remove up to 1/3 of the CO 2 produced by burning fossil fuels Oceans, atmosphere, land and snow & ice form the climate system. Heat CO 2 OCEAN ATMOSPHERE SPACE
El Niño shows how Ocean Changes affect Canadian Climate Map shows 1997/98 fully developed El Niño. Changes are not uniform across Canada. Average Jet Stream El Niño Year Jet Stream El Niño results in: – warmer coastal BC waters. – cooler north Atlantic waters. – deflected jet stream, which in turn affects weather all across Canada.
Projected Effect of Global Warming on Sockeye Salmon Lowest red line is the 1995 southern limit of sockeye salmon. Highest red line shows the projected southern limit of sockeye salmon by 2094 when greenhouse gases will have more than doubled. Scenario suggests that ocean habitat of sockeye may not even include any of the Pacific Ocean.
Sudden Climate Shifts The ocean conveyor presently heats the North Atlantic. Ice cores reveal past rapid temperature shifts. Must reduce scientific uncertainties of climate “surprises”, e.g. ocean conveyor change or shutdown.
Ocean Climate We are not doing enough Inadequate Monitoring –sections (sampling lines) –stations (sampling points) –sea level Minimal Research Program –circulation (heat engine) –CO 2 (oceanic uptake) –impacts assessment (aquatic resources)
Benefits of Ocean Monitoring and Climate Forecasts Economic impacts: Seasonal Forecasting –energy consumers, mariners, farmers Economic decisions: Infrastructure Design –buildings, roads, bridges (e.g. Confederation Bridge design for climate change), coastal facilities Economic Decisions: Adaptation Strategies –alternative resource development (fishers, foresters, farmers) Health and Safety of Canadians –health risk assessment (disease) –flood and drought seasonal predictions
Summary Living marine resources will be heavily impacted by climate change. Improved climate prediction will be impossible without better: –ocean measurements and characterization. –understanding ocean/atmosphere interactions and feedbacks. Improved climate prediction is essential to support policy decisions. Ocean climate needed as part of a National Implementation Strategy Projected Summer Sockeye Salmon Distribution by 2060 Normal 2xCO 2