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Climate change and tropical coastal ecosystems

Climate change and tropical coastal ecosystems

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Climate change and tropical coastal ecosystems

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  1. Climate change and tropical coastal ecosystems Ove Hoegh-Guldberg Global Change Institute University of Queensland

  2. Climate change Ecosystems People

  3. Centre of Biodiversity • Corals (>76%), mangroves (>70%) • Seagrass (>70%), Reef fish species (37%) • Epicentre of most marine organisms • 100 million people living coastally • Coastal resources are all important

  4. 300 page report : www.panda.org/wwf_news/?164062/

  5. Tropical coastal resources are critical to 100 million yet are severely threatened. • Coastal resources provide: • Food • Income • Building materials • Coastal protection • Wave energy • Storm/tsunami impacts • Coastal stability • Traditional medicines • Bio-discovery • Cultural importance Sea grass Local factors • Water quality • Over-fishing • Physical destruction Global factors • Ocean warming • Acidification • Sea level rise • Storm intensity Coral reefs Mangroves Loss so far: 30-50%. Coral reefs are declining at 1-2% per year (Bruno and Selig 2007)

  6. The waters of the Coral Triangle are rapidly warming and acidifying ppm NOAA Up to 3-4oC per century (1-2oC is too much) ppm ppm Peñaflor et al., Coral Reefs in press; permission of Springer Science and Business Media Need blue conditions to maintain carbonate coral reefs

  7. PLUS sea level rise

  8. Tropical coastal resources are critical to 100 million yet are severely threatened. • Coastal resources provide: • Food • Income • Building materials • Coastal protection • Wave energy • Storm/tsunami impacts • Coastal stability • Traditional medicines • Bio-discovery • Cultural importance Sea grass Local factors • Water quality • Over-fishing • Physical destruction Global factors • Ocean warming • Acidification • Sea level rise • Storm intensity Coral reefs X Mangroves X Loss so far: 30-50%. Coral reefs are declining at 1-2% per year (Bruno and Selig 2007)

  9. Implications for the future? Worst Case (IPCC A1B) Best Case (IPCC B1) 50% of current ecosystems by 2050 30% of current ecosystems by 2100 Food harvested (protein) 50% of today by 2050 30% of today by 2100 but rebounds Management of local threats makes big difference ... • 50% of current ecosystems by 2050 • <5% of current ecosystems by 2100 • Food harvested (protein) • 50% by 2050 • 5% by 2100, continues to erode • Management of local threats makes no real difference ... Extent of ecosystems relative to today (%) Atmospheric CO2 (ppm)

  10. Conclusion: Not too late but we need to take 4 urgent steps: • Stabilise of atmospheric CO2 well below 450 ppm (and +2oC) • Reduce the impact of local stresses on coastal ecosystems • Decrease vulnerability of coastal people and infrastructure • Establish financial mechanism to allow CT countries to respond to inevitable changes