marine

Australia: Sea surface temperatures unusually warm in 2013

Australia had elevated sea surface temperatures for 2013: Source: BOMAustralia had elevated sea surface temperatures for 2013: Source: BOMSea surface temperatures around Australia in 2013 were unusually warm reported the Australian Bureau of Meteorology in it's annual climate statement. Record ocean temperatures were recorded for January and February, with November the second-highest on record. This continues a long term trend for increasing sea surface temperatures around Australia and globally. Original article by Takver from Indymedia Australia.

Updates:

Fish Heading for cooler waters - Climate Change Impact of warming oceans on global fish stocks

For the first time scientists have demonstrated the impact of climate change on ocean warming and sea surface temperatures affecting global fisheries stocks. Previous studies were limited to individual fisheries. The changes have been occurring clearly since the 1970s, the scientists say. The implications of this research raises the need for timely changes in fisheries management practices and adaptation plans for communities dependant on fishing, particularly climate vulnerable developing countries in the tropics.

"Given global fisheries contribute hugely to the world's economy and food security, this is a significant finding," said co-author Dr Reg Watson from the University of Tasmania's specialist Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies."We are no longer talking about future hypotheticals - we are talking about impacts on a global scale that we can already demonstrate."

Previous research by Dr Watson published last year demonstrated that marine fishes are now smaller in size. "Last year we showed that one of the consequences of climate change and excessive fishing is that globally marine fishes are smaller," said Dr Watson.

The paper - Signature of ocean warming in global fisheries catch - was published in Nature on 15 May 2013. The study was lead by Assistant Professor William Cheung, University of British Columbia, with collaboration from Professor Daniel Pauly and Dr Reg Watson.

I wrote about a related issue on the Velocity of climate change imperiling ocean diversity, particularly with regard to Australia, in January 2012.

Western Australia: Marine heatwave with elevated sea surface temps threatening marine biodiversity

Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly for Australia 28 December 2012Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly for Australia 28 December 2012High sea surface temperatures (SST) of up to five degrees above normal are currently being experienced off the north-western Australian coast in a marine heatwave event. Like the extreme marine heatwave event in 2011 this will change marine ecosystems causing coral bleaching and fish mortality and impact on fisheries management and biodiversity.

A similar event occurred over several weeks during the 2010/2011 summer which impacted seafood stocks and marine ecosystems and was associated with an extremely strong La Niña event and a record strength Leeuwin Current down the Western Australian coast.

Elevated SST off Western Australian coast

Elevated SST off Western Australian coast

Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly for Australia 28 December 2012

China's coral reef ecosystems suffer devastating 80 per cent decline

Coral Atoll in South China Sea: Image by Storm Crypt - Boomerang Island - part of the disputed Spratly Islands in South China Sea - from Flickr used under Creative commons licence  (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)Coral Atoll in South China Sea: Image by Storm Crypt - Boomerang Island - part of the disputed Spratly Islands in South China Sea - from Flickr used under Creative commons licence (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)In the last 30 years the coral reef ecosystems off the coast of mainland China and Hainan Island have suffered an 80 per cent decline largely due to unrestrained economic development driving coastal development, pollution and overfishing.

The study, published in the journal Conservation Biology - The Wicked Problem of China's Disappearing Coral Reefs - was conducted jointly by scientists from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University, and from the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

"A wicked problem is one that is very hard to solve without having a whole lot of other foreseen and unforeseen consequences to people, industries and to the environment itself," said lead author Professor Terry Hughes.

Ocean acidification increasing at unprecedented rate not seen in last 300 million years

In a new study marine scientists warn that the rate of ocean acidification presently occurring is unprecedented in the last 300 million years. This is due to dissolving carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, much of which human activity has contributed over the last 200 years through the use of fossil fuels. The extent of the acidification and rate of acidification enhances the prospect for a mass marine extinction event this century.

Related: Dec 2011 - Ocean acidification warning to Durban climate negotiators to act on reducing CO2 emissions | June 2011 - Oceans at high risk of unprecedented Marine extinction scientists warn | April 2010 - Paleo-perspectives on ocean acidification - marine ecosystems under threat | Feb 2010 - Marine Extinction looms with Ocean Acidification increasing

Oceans at high risk of unprecedented Marine extinction scientists warn

A report issued last week from the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) has strongly warned of the damage to the health of the world's oceans and marine life from several factors including the impacts of climate change. The report warned that if the current business as usual trajectory of damage continues "that the world's ocean is at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history."

Related: International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) | The Ocean in a high CO2 world | Frontline - World's oceans in crisis: What can be done? | Takver: articles on climate change and oceans | NOAA: Major flooding on the Mississippi river predicted to cause largest Gulf of Mexico dead zone ever recorded

Marine Scientists call for climate action over Ocean Warming and Acidification

A Marine Climate Change report card released by Australian Scientists has warned that: ocean temperatures have warmed; the flow of the East Australian Current has strengthened, and will likely increase a further 20% by 2100; Marine biodiversity is changing in south-east Australia in response; and declines of over 10% in growth rates of massive corals on the Great Barrier Reef are likely due to ocean acidification and thermal stress.

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