Below the surface with SAMS – January 2020

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Climate change report card

A report on how the UK’s seas are responding to climate change had input from seven SAMS scientists, giving us one of the largest representations of any institute.

The Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership (MCCIP) Report Card 2020 includes evidence on 26 topics relating to the seas around the UK and had input from 150 scientists at 50 research organisations.

SAMS scientists contributed to topics as diverse as fisheries, coastal habitats, Atlantic heat exchange, harmful species, sea ice and aquaculture.
There is clear evidence that warming seas, reduced oxygen, ocean acidification and sea-level rise are already affecting UK coasts and seas.

Increasingly, these changes are having an impact on food webs, with effects seen in species on the seabed, as well as plankton, fish, birds and mammals.

The upper range for the latest UK sea-level rise projections is higher than previous estimates, implying increased coastal-flood risk. The likelihood of compound effects from tidal flooding and extreme rainfall is increasing, which can greatly exacerbate flood impacts.

Oxygen concentrations in UK seas are projected to decline more than the global average, especially in the North Sea and fisheries productivity in some UK waters has been negatively impacted by ocean warming and historical overexploitation.

SAMS Director Prof Nicholas Owens.
Part of a global community

Our director Professor Nicholas Owens today (Thursday) returns from Qingdao, China, where he was chairing the annual meeting of the Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean (POGO), an international group of influential marine science leaders.

Meanwhile, SAMS scientist Dr Leslie Mabon spoke last Friday at the United Nations University (UNU) in Tokyo, Japan on the oceans and climate change adaptation.

The social scientist was speaking at the Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability and used the trip to build on SAMS’ status as an associate institute of the UNU.

The Challenger challenge!

This year we have been tasked with organising the UK’s biennial marine science gathering, The Challenger Society Conference, which is expected to bring hundreds of scientists to Oban.

It will be held from September 7–11 and we plan to show delegates the best of what Oban and Lorn has to offer.

It should be a lively conference, coming just months before Glasgow hosts a crucial world climate change conference, COP26.

SAMS is due to host another UK marine science conference, the Porcupine Marine Natural History Society Conference, in March.