The State of the Ocean 2013

I was just going to do an update on some oceans reports that I’ve found but there’s just too much happening. Just recently The International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) released it’s, “State of the Ocean Report 2013“. Has anyone heard anything about it?

  I thought not! What it says is not good. “…concluded that not only are we already experiencing severe declines in many species to the point of commercial extinction in some cases, and an unparalleled rate of regional extinctions of habitat types (e.g. mangroves and seagrass meadows), but we now face losing marine species and entire marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs, within a single generation. Unless action is taken now, the consequences of our activities are at a high risk of causing, through the combined effects of climate change, overexploitation, pollution and habitat loss, the next globally significant extinction event in the ocean.”

From the press release: “Among the latest assessments of factors affecting ocean health, the panel identified the following areas as of greatest cause for concern:

  • De-oxygenation: the evidence is accumulating that the oxygen inventory of the ocean is progressively declining. Predictions for ocean oxygen content suggest a decline of between 1% and 7% by 2100. This is occurring in two ways: the broad trend of decreasing oxygen levels in tropical oceans and areas of the North Pacific over the last 50 years; and the dramatic increase in coastal hypoxia (low oxygen) associated with eutrophication. The former is caused by global warming, the second by increased nutrient runoff from agriculture and sewage. Acidification: If current levels of CO2 release continue we can expect extremely serious consequences for ocean life, and in turn food and coastal protection; at CO2 concentrations of 450-500 ppm (projected in 2030-2050) erosion will exceed calcification in the coral reef building process, resulting in the extinction of some species and decline in biodiversity overall. • Warming: As made clear by the IPCC, the ocean is taking the brunt of warming in the climate system, with direct and well-documented physical and biogeochemical consequences. The impacts which continued warming is projected to have in the decades to 2050 include: reduced seasonal ice zones, including the disappearance of Arctic summer sea ice by ca. 2037; increasing stratification of ocean layers, leading to oxygen depletion; increased venting of the GHG methane from the Arctic seabed (a factor not considered by the IPCC); and increased incidence of anoxic and hypoxic (low oxygen) events. • The ‘deadly trio’ of the above three stressors – acidification, warming and deoxygenation – is seriously effecting how productive and efficient the ocean is, as temperatures, chemistry, surface stratification, nutrient and oxygen supply are all implicated, meaning that many organisms will find themselves in unsuitable environments. These impacts will have cascading consequences for marine biology, including altered food web dynamics and the expansion of pathogens. • Continued overfishing is serving to further undermine the resilience of ocean systems, and contrary to some claims, despite some improvements largely in developed regions, fisheries management is still failing to halt the decline of key species and damage to the ecosystems on which marine life depends. In 2012 the UN FAO determined that 70% of world fish populations are unsustainably exploited, of which 30% have biomass collapsed to less than 10% of unfished levels. A recent global assessment of compliance with Article 7 (fishery management) of the 1995 FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, awarded 60% of countries a “fail” grade, and saw no country identified as being overall “good”.”
Another study just recently published in the journal PLOS Biology states, “Our results suggest that the entire world’s ocean surface will be simultaneously impacted by varying intensities of ocean warming, acidification, oxygen depletion, or shortfalls in productivity. Only a very small fraction of the oceans, mostly in polar regions, will face the opposing effects of increases in oxygen or productivity, and almost nowhere will there be cooling or pH increase. …
The social ramifications are also likely to be massive and challenging as some 470 to 870 million people – who can least afford dramatic changes to their livelihoods – live in areas where ocean goods and services could be compromised by substantial changes in ocean biogeochemistry.”
This EDF Blog post is titled, “Five Ways Climate Change is Affecting Our Oceans“. It’s based on the IPCC report.
This story titled, “Key species mysteriously dying off Oregon Coast” shows that things are already happening to the oceans. The picture below is the “key species” Krill.
This story tells about a family of oyster farmers fleeing the west coast of Washington to Hawaii. “Ocean acidification left the Nisbet family no choice. Carbon dioxide from fossil-fuel emissions had turned seawater in Willapa Bay along Washington’s coast so lethal that slippery young Pacific oysters stopped growing. The same corrosive ocean water got sucked into an Oregon hatchery and routinely killed larvae the family bought as oyster seed.”
This article tells us about, “Pacific Ocean acidification jeopardizes marine life”. At the end of the articles it states, “Scientists are seeing changes in their own lifetime that in the past would have taken thousands of years.”
This story starts out with this statement, “For many U.S. fisherman, there’s no debate about climate change. It’s here, and already majorly impacting their industries.” It explains why we need to have an industry based on jellyfish.
Let’s not forget our freshwater lake and streams. This story explains what’s happening to them. “Now, a new report from the National Wildlife Federation puts a magnifying glass on freshwater, climate change, and the most well-known denizens of lakes and waterways – fish.
According to the report released today, increasingly severe droughts, warming winters, and wildfires, are expected to destroy approximately 50 percent of the nation’s coldwater fish habitat by the end of the century.”

“A study published last spring by researchers at UC Davis predicted that climate change would eliminate 82 percent of California’s 121 native freshwater species by the end of the century.”
 And finally this story proves it’s happening now. “Walleye move in to a warming Lake Superior.





4 thoughts on “The State of the Ocean 2013

  1. Excellent research, Richard. And very disturbing information. I haven’t read all the articles, so I was wondering, did you come across the fact that most of our oxygen is produced by photosynthesizing plankton in the ocean? I believe I read that somewhere recently, which means that we land-based creatures should be very worried, too. If the plankton die off, our atmosphere will likely change dramatically. Breathing is kind of key to survival, wouldn’t you say?

  2. Ocean Acidification Report – greenbirdingmendo

  3. What is Turning Starfish into Goo? – greenbirdingmendo

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