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Transferring science to Policy Makers & Potential uses of 1 Year to Decadal Predictions. Stephen Dye, THOR End-User Workshop London, October 2012. MCCIP Secretariat Cefas Marine Climate Change Centre (MC 3 ). THOR End-User Workshop – October 2012. UK Govt needs marine climate evidence.

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Stephen dye thor end user workshop london october 2012

Stephen Dye, THOR End-User Workshop London, October 2012

MCCIP Secretariat

Cefas Marine Climate Change Centre (MC3)

THOR End-User Workshop – October 2012

UK Govt needs marine climate evidence

There are many key policy drivers which call for evidence and advice:

The UK Climate Change Act 2008 extends throughout the whole of the UK Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The Act will require the Government, to assess the risks to the UK from the impact of Climate Change and report to Parliament (every 5 years).

The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 includes commitments to “look ahead at the predicted impacts of climate change on the marine environment, how marine activities contribute towards it, and also how they are affected by it”.

The 2009 Green Paper on ‘Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy’ recognizes that “The new policy has to play a role in facilitating climate change adaptation efforts. Climate change is an added stress on marine ecosystems which makes a reduction of fishing pressure to sustainable level even more urgent”.

The EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive which recognizes that “given the impact of climate change, it is essential to recognise that the determination of good environmental status may have to be adapted over time.”

THOR End-User Workshop – October 2012



Builders and Holders




Decision Makers

Network of wider stakeholders

(opinions, priorities, policy, impacts)



Steering Group

Expert advice

THOR End-User Workshop – October 2012

  • A comprehensive scientific community view

  • We have over 100 scientists from 40 institutes contributing on 30 topics, peer reviewed by topic specialists

  • A science summary – not policy statements!

  • Make sure the summary is a summary!

  • 12 page-summary card with headline messages.

  • What do we really know...

  • Communicating uncertainty on each topic

  • Make it relevant:

  • We highlighting changes based around UK vision of clean, safe, healthy and biologically diverse seas Answer the ‘so what’ question!

  • Keep it up to date!

  • Next ‘full’ MCCIP report published mid-2013

And creating a ‘trusted’ scientific community view for them

THOR End-User Workshop – November 2012

Complex information
Complex information?

Keep messages targeted and simple without mis-representing the science

THOR End-User Workshop – October 2012

Complex information1
Complex information?

Especially where the source material is quite technical in nature

THOR End-User Workshop – October 2012


  • Fish distributions: Changes in depth / spatial distribution / migration / spawning

  • Management: Technologies make cultivated species robust and protected areas could help against CC impacts.

  • Socio-economics: Potential importance of positive impacts on recreational fishing (e.g. Seabass).

  • Wider implications: Shifting distributions have led to international disagreements which CC could exacerbate.

Clear messages up front, which for the latest special topic are about...

THOR End-User Workshop – October 2012

Marine scenarios behind atmospheric
Marine scenarios behind atmospheric

Stakeholder message:

Quantification of uncertainty in present assessments and future projections.

Lead times of 5, 10, 20 years

CCRA needed:

3 Emissions Scenarios

3 time slices

(2020s- 2050s-2080s)

‘Land’ atmosphere

25km grid

3 Emissions Scenarios

7 time slices


‘True’ marine variables

(SST, salinity etc..)

12km grid

1 Emissions Scenario

1 time slices (2080s)

Prediction or Projection?

THOR End-User Workshop – October 2012

Marine Strategy Framework Directive

  • The MSFD establishes a framework within which Member States shall take the necessary measures to achieve or maintain good environmental status in the marine environment by the year 2020 at the latest.

  • Good Environmental Status: Characterise -> assess -> strategy [7 year review cycle ]

  • Initial assessment requires characterisation of the seas (T, S, circulation) and assessment of past and future trends.

  • National waters should be considered in the context of the regional and subregionalsystems.



THOR End-User Workshop – October 2012

Fish climate relationships
Fish-Climate relationships

THOR End-User Workshop – October 2012

Cod and decadal variability

1) Cod spawn younger with higher temperature (Brander)

2) Cod grow faster with warmer temperature (Brander)

3) Cod recruitment has an optimum temperature (Planque) ~Northern and Southern boundary

Sundby and Nakken

In the 20th C Arcto-Norwegian cod stock made delicate adjustments in its spawning location, moving N into Troms and Finnmark and out of More, and then back






2004/05: Recovery of East Finmark spawning areas after 40 years of absence



PINRO - Barents Sea Temperature

Marine variability as context
Marine variability as context

For the past... But what could predictabiltiy on 1-30year do?

THOR End-User Workshop – October 2012

Conclusions where next
Conclusions. Where next?

  • Communicating to stakeholders

  • Non technical summaries should be exactly that and this does take time (and lots of painful discussion) you have to make time to do it properly.

  • The ‘so what’ question can often be the hardest to answer but if you ignore it your work could well be ignored, especially by the policy community.

  • Don't shy away from uncertainty and differences in opinion, it’s the first thing we get asked about!

  • What we don’t know or can’t do is really important to explain.

  • Seasonal  Decadal Predictions

  • Marine stakeholders are varied but often treated as one sector.

  • UKCP09 projections were limited for Marine, but a big step forward. But the next 5 or 30 years is closer to the useful timescale for many (not all) applications.

  • Maybe marine is the first place that subdecadal predictions/forecasts will be available.

  • Users are realistic- maybe predictions are not available yet but assessment of predictability would be really useful.

THOR End-User Workshop – October 2012

Sst predictability
SST predictability?

Too Parochial?

Ho et al., ClimDyn, 2012

THOR End-User Workshop – October 2012

Some extras on marine ecosystems

THOR End-User Workshop – November 2012

Beaugrand et al