A NOC-led study, published in Nature Communications, finds that with just 15 more years of current emissions, over half of the world’s ocean will be exposed to more than one source of stress, affecting everything from the tiniest plants to the mightiest whales. By 2050, that figure rises to around 86% of the ocean.
This study showed that in fifteen years’ time 60% of the ocean will be experiencing more than one of acidification, de-oxygenation and/or warming at once. However, the study also showed that if the climate change mitigation measures, outlined in the IPCC report, are implemented the time when the ocean was dominated by multiple ‘stressors’ will be delayed by twenty years.
Lead author Dr Stephanie Henson, from the NOC, said “Understanding how the marine ecosystem might respond to these changes in the next big question in oceanography. This study shows that the physical ocean environment is changing rapidly and forms part of the NOC’s on-going research into the future of the ocean.”
Understanding the relationship between the ocean and the climate forms part of the NOC’s on-going research.