Warming Neptune’s Kingdom

The Impacts of Global Climate Change on Marine Ecosystems By Edward L. Miles
Bloedel Professor of Marine Studies and Public Affairs Senior Fellow and Co-Director Center for Science in the Earth System, JISAO University of Washington Seattle, WA. 98195

The Keeling Curve

Peter Brewer. 2004 ICES LECTURE
• “My message is simple; there are massive, and until very
recently unrecognized, changes of geologic scale taking place in the ocean as we have entered the anthropocene era, and these may very well have profound effects on ocean ecosystems world wide…ocean chemistry is being altered on a scale not seen for millions of years, and there are very basic questions on the impact on ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles to which we do not yet have answers.

Framing the Problem: Climate in a World of Multiple Stresses
• Increasing surface & sub-surface heat in the • •
world ocean. Large scale changes in ocean chemistry (Feely et al., 2004; Sabine et al. 2004). Global overfishing--”Fishing down the food chain”, (Pauly, 2003). Land-based pollution of the coastal ocean (GESAMP, 2001). Proliferation of invasive species

Trends in Surface and Subsurface Heat in the World Ocean

Major Sources of Dislocation for marine Ecosystems: Changes in Surface and Sub-surface Heat
• Levitus, Antonov, Boyer, and Stephens. 2000.
Warming of the World Ocean. SCIENCE. VOL. 287 (24 March). Levitus, Antonov, and Boyer. 2005. Warming of the world ocean. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS. VOL. 32, 1029/2004GL021592. Barnett, Tim P., David W. Pierce, Reinur Schnur. 2001. Detection of Anthropogenic Climate Change in the World’s Oceans. SCIENCE, VOL. 292 (13 April).

• [Barnett, Tim P. et al. 2005. Penetration of Human Induced Warming
into the World’s Oceans. SCIENCE,VOL. 309 (8 July)].

Levitus et al. 2000. Fig. 1.

Implications of Levitus et al. 2000 Results
• On basis of limited data set for years 1948 – 1996 based on standard depth
measurements from surface through 3000 m, composites of deep ocean T. data constructed for multiyear periods for each ocean basin and for world ocean as whole. In each basin prior to mid-1970’s, temperatures of all basins relatively cool; warming increasing from mid-1970’s, particularly in N. Atlantic. What looks like a significant PDO signal in both N & S Pacific in upper ocean heat content. May be an NAO signal in significant increase in N. Atlantic and Indian Ocean increases in mid-1990’s. Global sea surface T. series from 1900 showing warming in 2 periods : 1920 – 1940 & from 1970’s. [This finding similar to changes in global mean T. for last century (IPCC, 2001)]. But increase in world ocean heat content preceding increase in SST’s.

The Implications of the Levitus et al 2005 Results

• Between 1955 – 1998, world ocean heat content

between 0 – 3000 m increased 14.5 x 1022 J = mean T. increase of 0.037° C at rate of 0.20 Wm- 2. Large part of change occurring in upper 700 m of world ocean. Substantial regional variability observed. Note that increase of 0.037° C a very large increase, since a 0.1° C increase roughly = mean T. change of 100° C of global atmosphere if all heat instantaneously transferred.

Levitus et al. 2005.

matches model hindcasts very well

Global Averaged Upper-Ocean Temperature
in Models


Global Averaged Upper-Ocean Temperature
in Models in Models


Global Averaged Upper-Ocean Temperature
in Models in Models


Climate Impacts on Marine Ecosystems

How Does Climate Affect Ocean Ecosystems?

• Fish inhabit hydrographic structures consisting • • •
of temperature, salinity, and depth. Ecosystems exist from the level of plankton on up the food chain. Climate is a very large driver in the stability and productivity of marine ecosystems by sustaining or changing habitat. Multiple stresses now a significant threat; between sub-surface heat increases and increasingly acidic ocean major changes in store. Prediction capability severely limited.

Climate impacts on ecosystems

DIRECT Habitat suitability changes
– thermal stress, or thermal tolerances are exceeded, too little sunlight, too much current …

INDIRECT “Bottom-up”
– Habitat change causes changes in food-web production

• “Top-down”
– changes in the predator field

• Timing shifts due to
temperature change

• “match-mismatch” in

How Do We Know What We Know Concerning Climate Impacts on Marine Ecosystems?
• Via the fossil record over millennia--primarily through benthic
invertebrates ( Roy and Pandolphi, 2005). • Inferences re T. changes & shifts in ocean chemistry possible, as well as fluctuations in sea level. • Focus on shifts in ocean circulation, surface & subsurface, and implications for shifts in geographic ranges of spp., localized extinction events, and changing phenology of plankton blooms with consequent breaks in linkage between phytoplankton and the zooplankton that feed on them--changes which ricochet up the food chain with community-scale effects. • But these effects do not occur equally across all spp.

Current Evidence from the North Pacific Ocean

• In 20th century, shifts in PDO from cool to warm phase

result in ~1° C in SST  major shifts in composition of coastal ocean foodwebs. Cold water forage fish & plankton in reduced abundance; warm water fish--mackerel, hake, sardines--significantly increased in abundance. Salmonid distribution in NCCS declining significantly (Field, 2004).



Bottom trawl surveys in Pavlov Bay, Alaska (source: Bottsford et al. 1997 Science)


the North-South see-saw in salmon production has broken down in the past few years -- and so has the regional coherence in coastal ocean temperatures spring chinook returns to the Columbia River mouth (1000s)
Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO)

Alaska pink and sockeye catch (millions)

Cool PDO

Warm PDO

Cool PDO

Warm PDO

upwelling food webs in our coastal ocean: the California Current
Cool water, weak stratification high nutrients, a productive “subarctic” food-chain with abundant forage fish and few warm water predators

Warm stratified ocean, few nutrients, low productivity “subtropical” food web, a lack of forage fish and abundant predators

And the top …

Source: NMFS acoustic surveys

PICES Conclusions re Effects of Regime Shifts in North Pacific Over 20th Century
• Ecosystem responses to ocean climate most quickly detected in
lower trophic levels, i.e., phytoplankton, zooplankton, and invertebrates--rapid reproduction rates reveals fluctuations in abundance over short periods of time (PICES, 2004, Edwards and Richardson, 2004). • Now becoming clearer and clearer that climate variability and change impact marine ecosystems most significantly via a bottomup process (changes in primary productivity) and secondarily via a top-down process mediated through predator-prey interactions. • It is the bottom-up process that cascades all the way up the food chain(Field, 2004; Ware and Thomson, 2005). Must think about planktonic ecosystems and community structure and interactions across multiple trophic levels(Ruhl and Smith,Jr., 2004).

Findings re Planktonic Ecosystems and Cod Recruitment in Northeast Atlantic

• Very similar to N.E. Pacific. Same bottom-up/top-down
pattern. Bottom-up process is primary driver (Richardson and Schoeman, 2004; Beaugrand et al., 2003).

Recent Evidence of the Impacts of Climate change on Marine Ecosystems
A Focus on the Bering Sea and the Northeast Atlantic

The Northeast Atlantic
• Study by Perry, Low, Ellis, and Reynolds(2005) with focus on
demersals,both exploited & unexploited spp. • North Sea warming by 0.6 C 1962-2001 and 1.05 C 1977-2001. 15 of 36 spp. studied moving north--latitudinal changes combined with depth. • Evidence of differential rates of shifts suggest possibility of altering spatial overlap among spp. Disrupting interactions and compounding phenological shifts. • Beaugrand et al (2003) with focus on cod in North Sea suggesting that larval cod survival sensitive to variability in T. Rising T. since mid-1980’s modifying planktonic ecosystem in way that reduces survival of young cod--the bottom-up process at work.

Concerning the Limits of What We Know and the Significance of What We Don’t Know
• All the studies cited couple the physics to the biology; only 2
consider explicitly the impacts of fishing effort as well as climate change; none considers the increasing acidification of the world ocean; and none considers the increasing pollution of the coastal ocean on a global basis. • In a word, we don’t have reliable knowledge about the future of marine ecosystems in a world of multiple stresses where climate change and the large anthropogenic footprint (overfishing and coastal pollution) are the principal drivers. • Most urgent problem is almost total ignorance about the potential large scale effects on marine ecosystems of an increasingly low pH ocean.

So, What is To Be Done?
• Constraints: tax cuts & deficits; 9/11 & homeland • •
security; Iraq; Mars; Katrina. Unlikely that funds for large scale effort would come from U.S. Gov’t. at present. So shift strategy to private sector in U.S. as catalyst-NGO’s, corporations, & foundations & try to get international participation beginning with UK Royal Society as lead into ICES community. Agent is Heinz Center & “four sector” mode. Why Heinz? Miles on the Board. Feely & Langdon to participate in Steering Com.

What Strategy?
• Four products: • Seek funding for international meeting to define research agenda for
impacts of acidification on marine ecosystems. Use output to shop around internationally and in U.S. for support. Choose large marine regions and seek to begin with North Pacific & North Atlantic?? • Connect levels of ocean acidification to thresholds and targets issue as defined in FCCC. Seek separate foundation support for that group in Heinz Center. • Create working group in HC for elaborating a methodology for a bounded multiple stress analysis. • Do the multiple stress analysis. Staggered products over 5-year period initially.


• •

• • • •

Agostini, Vera. 2005.Climate, Ecology, and Productivity of Pacific Salmon and Hake. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington. Barnett, Tim P., David W. Pierce, Reiner Schnur. 2001. Detection of Anthropogenic Climate Change in the World’s Oceans, SCIENCE, vol. 292(13 April), 270-274. Barnett, Tim P. et al. 2005. Penetration of Human-Induced Warming into the World Oceans, SCIENCE, vol. 309(8 July), 284-287. Beaugrand, Gregory et al. 2003. Plankton effect on cod recruitment in the North Sea. NATURE, vol. 426(11 December), 661-664. Botsford, Louis W., Juan Carlos Castilla, Charles H. Peterson. 1997. The Management of Fisheries and Marine Ecosystems. SCIENCE, vol 277(25 July), 509-515. Brewer, Peter G. 2004. Beyond Climate: The Emerging Science of a Low pH-High CO2 Ocean, ICES Annual Science Conference, Open Lecture, unpub. Doc. Edwards, Martin and Anthony J. Richardson. 2004. Impact of climate change on marine pelagic phenology and trophic mismatch. NATURE, vol. 430(19 August), 881-884.

References, cont’d.
• Feely, Richard A. et al. 2004. Impact of Anthropogenic CO2 on the CaCO3 •

System in the Oceans. SCIENCE, vol. 305(16 July), 362-366. Field, John C. 2004. Application of Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management Approaches in the Northern California Current. Unpub. Ph.D. dissertation, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, 407pp. Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP). 2001. A Sea of Troubles, (Geneva: UNEP), Report No. 70. GESAMP. 2001. Protecting the Oceans from Land-based Activities, (Geneva: UNEP),Report No. 71. Levitus, Sydney, John I. Antonov, Timothy Boyer, Cathy Stephens. 2000. Warming of the World Ocean. SCIENCE, vol. 287(24 March), 2225-2229. Levitus, S., J. Antonov, and T. Boyer. Warming of the World Ocean, 19552005. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, vol. 32, 1029/2004GLO21592, LO 2604.

References, cont’d.
• Pauly, Daniel, et al. 2003. The Future for Fisheries. SCIENCE, vol. 302(21 •
November), 1359-1361. Perry, Allison L. et al. 2005. Climate Change and Distribution Shifts in Marine Fishes, SCIENCE, vol. 308(24 June), 1912-1915. North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES). 2004. Marine Ecosystems of the North Pacific Ocean. PICES Special Publication Number 1. PICES. 2005. PICES Advisory Report on Fisheries and Ecosystem Responses to Recent Regime Shifts. North Pacific Marine Science Organization, Sidney, Canada. 12p. Richardson, Anthony J. and David S. Schoeman. 2004. Climate Impact on Plankton Ecosystems in the Northeast Atlantic. SCIENCE, vol. 305(10 September), 1609-1612.

• •

References, cont’d.
• Roy, Kaustuv and John M. Pandolphi. 2005 Responses of Marine Species • • •
and Ecosystems to Past Climate Change in Thomas E. Lovejoy and Lee Hannah (eds.), (New Haven and London: Yale University Press),160-175. Ruhl, Henry A. and Kenneth L. Smith Jr. 2004. Shifts in Deep-Sea Community Structure Linked to Climate and Food Supply. SCIENCE, vol. 305(23 July), 513-515. Sabine, Christopher L. et al. 2004. The Oceanic Sink for Anthropogenic CO2 . SCIENCE, vol.305(16 July), 367-371. Ware, Daniel M. and Richard E. Thomson. 2005. Bottom-Up Ecosystem Trophic Dynamics Determine Fish Production in the Northeast Pacific. SCIENCE, vol. 308(27 May), 1280-1284.

IPCC Consensus on climate change
• Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases warm the planet (*****) • Greenhouse gases have been increasing (CO2 up 32%) and will • • • • •
increase for a long time, because of human activities (*****) Pre-industrial ambient concentration of CO2 in atmos. = 282 ppmv; 2005 = 380 ppmv. This higher than at any time in last 420k yrs. & maybe 20m. The planet has warmed 0.4-0.8°C (0.7-1.4°F) since 1900 (****) Natural causes an unlikely explanation (***) Further warming of 1.4-5.8°C (2.5-10.4°F) by 2100, faster than any time in at least 10,000 years (****) [Most recent model inter-comparisons (Science,2004) provide est. of climate sensitivity of 3.0 -3.2 C.] Revelle : “Human beings are conducting an unplanned, uncontrolled experiment on a planetary scale”.

Spatial patterns of climate trends: Model versus Observed

Boreal Summer Mean: Warming strongest over land in observations Cooling in N. Hemisphere oceans in observations Weaker land-sea temperature contrast in models Boreal Winter Mean: Strongest warming in high latitudes
Barnett et al., 1999

A 20th century climatology of North America’s Pacific salmon
• Warm periods favored increased salmon production •
in Alaska but decreased salmon production in the NW PDO variability caused coherence in warm and cool periods in the NE Pacific for much of the century, but the PDO pattern was not prominent from the mid-1990s to ~2002
– There are other factors influencing Pacific climate … including century-long warming trends

Stabeno & Overland. 2004. Fig. 1.

The Bering Sea/Shelf (Overland & Stabeno, 2004)
• Depth-averaged T’s for 15 July-15 Sept. warmer by 2° C, • • •
mean of 2001-2003 as compared to 1995-1997. Primary pattern is transition from predominantly cold anomalies (blue) to warm (yellow/red). 1976 marks beginning of trend to warmer summers. Decrease in sea ice delaying spring phytoplankton bloom to later in season, out of synch. with max. zooplankton growth. Consequence that spring phytoplankton bloom benefits primarily the benthic community; later zooplankton bloom benefits primarily the pelagic ecosystem.

Bering Sea/Shelf, cont’d.
• Observed dislocations- large-scale biogeographic shifts
northwards in ecosystem of the Bering Sea involving demersals (very large & profitable fishery), walrus, salmonids, etc. Other major shifts expected. Demersals particularly sensitive to T changes in NCCS; pelagics markedly less so at surface(Agostini, 2005).

• •

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