Apart from Human Health and Coastal Flooding, there are no new headlines to report for this theme. This is due to the fact that despite new monitoring data being available for all the topics, the large number of influencing factors (both marine and terrestrial, anthropogenic and natural) means climate change impacts cannot be easily identified.
For Pollution (Bathing and Shellfish) and Pollution (Estuarine and Coastal), an example of key influencing factors is the interaction between rainfall (which may be affected by climate change) and farmland management. Thus, identifying a clear climate signal is problematic.
There is concern over issues with Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) such as continued blooms of Karenia mikimotoi. HABs can be influenced by a variety of environmental factors which may increase or reduce their occurrence and thus the impact of climate change on HABs is difficult to predict. Tracing changes in climate to impacts on Nutrient Enrichment is also difficult; as changes may be driven both by direct human pressures and climate mediated factors such as shelf sea stratification.
Arrows show change in confidence since the 2010-11 MCCIP Report Card
WHAT IS ALREADY HAPPENING
WHAT COULD HAPPEN
Environment Agency; NOC; University of Dundee; Marine Institute
The approximate 14 cm rise in mean sea-level since the beginning of the 20th century, has significantly increased (as much as doubled) the risk of flooding at many locations around the coast.
Relative sea level will continue to rise, leading to increased risk of flooding. For example, a predicted 910,000 residential properties in England and Wales will be at significant risk of tidal flooding by the 2080s.
Recent analysis shows that there was a transition in the1980s in the North Sea to a vibrio-dominated bacterial community, corresponding with warming in the area.
There is limited evidence of an expansion of the biogeographical ranges of the harmful warmer water phytoplankton species into higher latitudes. For example, there has been an apparent increasein Protoceratium reticulatum (a producer of toxins) inUK waters which can accumulate in shellfish or canbe directly ingested.
There has been an apparent increase in vibriosis in Northern Europe, with outbreaks typically linked to warm weather episodes. Marine vibrio pathogens,which can cause gastro-enteritis and septicaemia, have led to disease outbreaks in Northern Europe and are now being routinely isolated from UK shellfish and bathing waters in the summer.
Most vibrio species of human health relevance grow preferentially in warm (>15 ºC) sea water. Increasing sea temperatures around the UK are anticipated to result in an increase in marine vibrio infections.
Cefas; Environment Agency; NOC; The University of Strathclyde; Marine Scotland; Marine Institute; DOENI; AFBI; EPA