The eight regions shown are based on bio-geographical areas used for UK marine assessments and EU directives. A ninth region (CI) refers to the Channel Islands.
What is already happening
Improved environmental conditions (i.e. summer warming) for anchovy have led to an increase in their abundance.
A general northward range shift is taking Atlantic white-sided dolphins out of UK waters. At the same time, striped dolphins are moving in from the south.
Short-beaked common dolphins are being sighted in the Northern North Sea and northern most part of the Scottish Continental Shelf more regularly.
Wintering numbers of little egretare increasing on estuaries in north-west England.
The northwards movement of the non-native Asian club tunicate Styela clava has accelerated in the last decade in response to rising sea temperatures.
The non-native Chilean oyster Ostrea chilensis is increasing in abundance and distribution in response to rising sea temperatures and high plankton availability coinciding with their breeding season.
Numbers of intertidal topshells Phorcus (Osilinus) lineatus and Gibbula umbilicalis are increasing in response to rising sea temperatures.
Population densities of intertidal species, e.g. the honeycomb worm Sabellaria alveolata, brown alga Bifurcaria bifurcata and limpet Patella depressa, are increasing in response to rising sea temperatures.
Bristol Channel crustaceans have shown an increase in abundance of mysid shrimps (Schistomysis spiritus, Gastrosaccus spinifer, Mesodopsis slabberi and Neomysis integer) and prawns (Crangon crangon, Pandalus montagui and Palaemon serratus), in response to rising sea temperatures.
Warm-water species are being increasingly targeted by recreational anglers, for example triggerfish on inshore wrecks.
The timing of spawning in sole has shifted earlier at a rate of 1.5 weeks per decade since 1970.
What could happen
A warmer northern North Sea will favour deeper-water, warm-water species (e.g. hake) but drive outcold-water species (e.g. haddock).
White-beaked dolphin, harbour porpoise and minke whale abundances may decline.
Warming sea temperatures will mean the non-native Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas continues to expand northwards and increase in abundance, to the detriment of native oyster Ostrea edulis and other bivalve species.
The melting of Arctic sea-ice will further encourage the use of polar transit routes between Europe and Asia by commercial ships.
By the end of this century, populations of horse mackerel and anchovy are expected to increase in northern waters.
Climate projections suggest fish species distribution will shift northwards at a faster rate, from a current rate of approximately 20 km per decade to an average of 27 km per decade by 2050.
The highest number of propertiesat risk from coastal flooding is likelyto be around Yorkshire and the Humber Estuary.
Future sea-surface temperature
Seasonal mean sea-surface temperature projections for the 2070-2099 period (compared with a 1961-1990 baseline) for each region. Changes are based on the UK Climate Projections (UKCP09) under a medium emissions (IPCC A1B) scenario. Data courtesy of Met Office Hadley Centre.