Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 24 Issue 02

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Volume 24, No. 2
Pages 13 - 16


COMMENTARY • A Climate Change Atlas for the Ocean

By Philip W. Boyd , Cliff S. Law , and Scott C. Doney 
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Interactive Tools for Ocean Policy Formulation
At both regional and national levels, there is an urgent need to develop a clear picture of how climate change will alter multiple environmental properties in the ocean. Specifically, what will such cumulative alterations mean for local biological productivity, ecosystem services, climate feedbacks, and related effects ranging from biodiversity to economics? Currently, a wide range of confounding issues, such as the plethora and complexity of information in the public domain, hinders accommodating climate change into future planning and development of ocean resource management strategies. This impediment is especially true at the regional level, for example, within national Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs), where critical management decisions are made but for which substantial uncertainty clouds climate change projections and ecosystem impact assessments. Evaluating the susceptibility of a nation’s marine resources to climate change requires knowledge of the geographic and seasonal variations in environmental properties over an EEZ and the range, spatial patterns, and uncertainty of projected climate change in those properties (Boyd et al., 2007). Furthermore, information is needed on the climate sensitivity of the biological species or strains that comprise particular marine resources (Boyd et al., 2007; Nye et al., 2009) and/or contribute to food-web interactions, and also on potential implications for human resource exploitation patterns and intensity.


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