Key Paper: Deep-Ocean Impacts of Climate Interventions
In March 2023, we published a paper in Science on how manipulating the ocean to mitigate climate change may harm deep-ocean ecosystems. You can read the paper free of charge at this link.
The Issue: Global seafloor exploration reveals diverse deep-sea ecosystems, but their sensitivity to climate change remains uncertain. Beyond biodiversity conservation, the combined impacts of climate change and resource exploitation (e.g., fishing, extraction of minerals and hydrocarbons) on deep-sea ecosystems and services require attention.
Synergies across marine, climate, geoscience and economic disciplines highlight the vulnerability of the deep-sea to climate change. Evidence shows climate forces affecting deep-sea ecosystems, from storms to ocean oscillations, especially in ecological hotspots like seamounts, ridges, and canyons. Models predict climate-driven effects on ocean biogeochemistry (deoxygenation, acidification, carbon flux changes). Areas with human activities and increased vertical ocean mixing, e.g., seamounts and canyons, are particularly sensitive, emphasising the importance of climate considerations in environmental management and conservation.
The Working Group: The DOSI Climate Change Working Group, seeks to centralise data on the impact of climate change on deep-sea ecosystems, and address cumulative stressors. The goal is to facilitate integration of this information into environmental impact assessments, management plans, and Marine Protected Area design. The group strives to identify vulnerable areas and foster interdisciplinary research on how deep-sea ecosystems interact with climate. They emphasise a need for experimental and theoretical support, to enhance predictive models for this vital but often overlooked part of the Earth system. Additionally, the Working Group communicates deep-ocean climate science to various international organisations and policy makers through presentations, policy briefs, webinars, and publications.
- Our team is attending the 28th UN Climate Change Conference to support delegates with the following information:
- Read our paper, Current Perceptions of the Ocean-Climate Nexus: An Analysis of Submissions to the UNFCCC Ocean and Climate Change Dialogue (2020).
- Producing a series of policy briefs on Deep Ocean Climate Intervention Impacts. The first three briefs in the series are now available:
- Formation of a Climate Working Group subgroup, Deep Ocean Climate Intervention Impacts (DOCII) to explore deep-sea roles and intervention impacts and governance issues.
- Delivering a full quantitative analysis of submissions to the UNFCCC Ocean and Climate Change Dialogue. Read Executive Summary here.
- Development of the Zotero-based deep-sea climate change bibliographic database and work on indexing papers (region/stressor/ecosystem/species)
- Continued policy work (with Oceans and Climate Platform and others) to raise awareness of deep ocean in climate change via meeting attendance, reports and assessments at UNFCCC COPs, IPCC Oceans, CBD, SDG14, IPBES and EU initiatives, IGC, WCMC, DOOS, IMO and ISA
- Engagement with UN World Ocean Assessment II
- Enhance public awareness of the role of deep-sea ecosystems in global climate change – via media, blogs and other channels.
- Continue to promote dedicated ecological studies (international and interdisciplinary collaborations) and connect with deep-ocean observing strategies and initiatives such as DOOS