January 21, 2022 5:46 pm

The effects of the climate crisis on the oceans will be more intense than previously believed

The increase in global temperatures man-made is a growing threat to marine ecosystems. This is revealed by the results of an international study of ecological modeling, recently published in the magazine Nature Climate Change.

According to research, the negative effects of global warming intensify in the Marine animals. These suffer a increased natural mortality, a reduction of calcification in the tissues of organisms and a distribution modification in the ocean. The interactions between species, the abundance and one generalized decrease in the biomass of these.

The research has been carried out by an international scientific team of 36 researchers, two of whom are Spanish: Jose A. Fernandes and Marta Coll, experts in big data and ecosystem modeling of AZTI, a center specialized in the marine environment and food, and of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), respectively.

The effects of global warming on marine ecosystems include an increase in mortality and a decrease in the abundance and biomass of species

“Projections of the impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems reveal a long-term decline in global marine animal biomass and show that the consequences for fisheries they are unevenly distributed, ”the authors state.

The new simulations, much more advanced and accurate than previous ones, show that high warming and changes in nutrient and food availability will create a more marked decline in animal biomass in the world’s oceans than previously projected. Reducing uncertainty about how marine ecosystems will respond to the climate crisis will contribute to a more effective adaptation and mitigation planning, indicates the scientific team.

We must move towards adaptation and mitigation

“Although our results show worrying trends, we also highlight the importance of better understanding regional changes, where considerable uncertainty remains and yet there is an urgent need to help adaptation,” he explains. Derek Tittensor, lead author and researcher at Dalhousie University (Canada).

It is a critical time to mitigate and adapt to climate change. We have to bet on new forms of work that allow us to cause fewer impacts on ecosystems

Jose A. Fernandes, expert in big data and ecosystem modeling

The results are part of the Project for the Intercomparison of Fishing Models and Marine Ecosystems (Fish-MIP), an initiative that aims to answer questions about the future of fishing, the supply of seafood, the marine biodiversity and the operation of marine ecosystems.

“The project brings together disparate models of marine ecosystems so that we can better understand and predict the long-term impacts of the climate crisis on fisheries and marine ecosystems, and provide a database to help inform the fishing policies, climate change and biodiversity”, Emphasize the researchers.

Fernandes underlines that it is a “critical moment to mitigate and adapt to climate change. We have to bet on digitization and new ways of working that allow us to be more efficient and cause less impact ”.

This research represents a step forward in planning future pathways to sustainability and an important contribution to the sixth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR6), whose publication is scheduled for next year.

In addition, it is of special relevance to the Glasgow Climate Summit (COP26) held in November and in which world leaders will discuss their commitments to combat the climate crisis.


Tittensor et al. “Next-generation ensemble projections reveal higher climate risks for marine ecosystems”. Nature Climate Change. 2021

Source: AZTI

Rights: Creative Commons.


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