The 2010-2011 Annual Report Card provides an update on scientific understanding of climate change impactson our seas. As in previous report cards, changes in ocean climate set the context for evidence of impacts on biologically diverse, clean and safe, and commercially productive seas.
Since the last full MCCIP report card was published in 2008, and the Ecosystem Linkages Report Card in 2009, there have been some significant advancements in knowledge, both for 'what is already happening' (e.g. an emerging picture of how variable the Atlantic heat conveyor is on short timescales) and 'what could happen' in the future (e.g. identification of future changes to the distribution of some species of fish).
'UK State of Seas reporting' and MCCIP
The Charting Progress - An Integrated Assessment of the State of UK Seas report in 2005 led to the formation of MCCIP, which is now well established as the primary UK tool for communicating marine climate change information. The second State of UK Seas report (Charting Progress 2) has drawn heavily on MCCIP expertise, including the compilation of the climate change chapter. The chapter brings together evidence of climate change impacts to date and also considers future impacts in relation to updated climate change projections.
Topic changes since the 2007-2008 MCCIP Annual Report Card
There are some changes to the topics in the 2010-2011 Annual Report Card which are as follows:
Four new topics: air-sea exchanges of CO2, deep-sea habitats, waterbirds, and human health (vibrios).
A re-structure of the 'habitat' topics covered in the biologically diverse section, to bring more into line with Charting Progress 2 reporting (the habitats covered now are 'coastal'; 'intertidal'; 'shallow and shelf subtidal'; and 'deep sea').
Regional snapshots of marine climate change impacts
For this report card, MCCIP has adopted the Charting Progress sub-divisions of UK waters to provide a stronger emphasis on regional issues, and to maintain consistency with Charting Progress reporting. Regional climate change snapshots for what is already happening, and what could happen in the future, are included to highlight some key differences by Charting Progress regions. Some of the topic headline messages also refer to these regions explicitly and many of the detailed topic reports provide more detailed information on marine climate change impacts by Charting Progress regions.
Wherever a topic is referred to in the regional snapshot map, a UK map symbol appears next to that topic.
UKCP09 climate change projections
UKCP09 is the most recent suite of UK climate change projections, which has significantly enhanced its consideration of marine and coastal environments.
It includes projections of changes in air-temperature over the sea, projected future sea-level rise, sea temperature, salinity, stratification and circulation, as well as surges and waves.
MCCIP co-authored the marine and coastal projections report and provided advice on user requirements for the marine scenarios. MCCIP also has a webpage about the projections (www.mccip.org.uk/projections) which includes MCCIP briefing notes on UKCP09.
Contributors to this year's annual report card have considered these projections when summarising future impacts.
These projections have also been used to produce the regional charts of sea surface temperature change.