Climate Change

The over-riding threat to our marine environment is the risk posed by climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate. As 90% of the world’s global warming has been absorbed by the oceans, it is unsurprising that this is having a wide range of effects including:

Acidification of our marine environment has a range of consequences. One of these is that it affects the ability of mollusc species, such as mussels and oysters, to develop their protective shells by reducing the process of calcification. A pattern of increases in sea temperatures and intensity of storms have both indirect effects on our internationally important breeding seabirds through reductions in food availability and direct effects such as increases in the mortality of birds during extreme weather. For example, black-legged kittiwake, have declined by 70% since the mid-1980s, with the downward trend largely linked to a reduction in their main food supply, sandeels, as result of climate change.

Nesting Kittiwakes
© Susan Davies