How climate-change affects UK seas

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How climate-change affects UK seas

Climate-change is affecting marine species and habitats in UK waters – though not necessarily in the ways anticipated 10 years ago.

According to a new scientific report, some warmwater marine species such as squid and anchovies have become more commonplace because of climate-change, though other non-native species arriving in home waters are as likely to have been brought by shipping (in ballast water or on hulls) as because of global-warming,

The report has been published by the UK Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership (MCCIP), a partnership of scientists, government, its agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Based on contributions from 400 scientists over the period since it was set up in 2006, it has found that despite year-to-year temperature fluctuations, a long-term underlying warming trend remains apparent.

Ocean acidification may be taking place more rapidly in UK seas than in the wider north Atlantic, says the report, and this is expected to have a negative impact, particularly on shellfish.

The report also covers issues such as the effect of climate change on seabirds and potential for coastal flooding.

“As often happens in science, we have learnt that things are more complicated than first thought but, in general, earlier predictions on climate impacts on the marine environment have been borne out,” said Dr Matt Frost, Chair of the MCCIP working group that delivered the report.

The report “Marine Climate Change Impacts” can be found here.

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