Climate Change

In a world of increasing atmospheric CO2, impacts on the ocean could be extensive, including increased water temperature, sea level rise, changing upwelling events and oceanic currents, ocean acidification, and more extreme events such as intense storms and high waves. PISCO studies how climate change will further impact coastal ecosystems and translates that research for decision-makers seeking policy-relevant information in real time.  PISCO’s integration of science from small-scale genes to large-scale ecosystems provides a unique and timely model for delivering innovative solutions for managing the ocean’s changing coastal ecosystems.

Climate Change and Coastal Oceans: Increasing carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is fundamentally altering coastal ecosystems. Major disruptions such as hypoxia and ocean acidification are already affecting the coastal ocean of the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem. PISCO's integrated research seeks to understand the causes and consequences of these and other impacts of a changing climate. 

 PISCO is currently examining whether species from upwelling systems are better adapted for climate change, which species and which life stages are particularly susceptible to ocean acidification, how populations of marine species will respond to increasingly acidic oceans, and how the interaction between acidity and rising temperature will stress marine organisms.

Climate impacts on coasts to INFORM CLIMATE POLICY

Photo credit: Peter Taylor
Photo credit: Peter Taylor

The effects of a changing climate on coastal oceans worldwide will require modifications to marine management based on fishery regulation, marine protected areas, and ecosystem-based management, Scientific knowledge about ecosystem functioning and the interactions within ecosystems is key to devising coordinated management strategies that are rooted in sound science and future sustainability. Over the last decade, PISCO has developed a program with key elements that are valuable for informing climate change policy.

Building on ten years of success, PISCO is primed to provide ecosystem knowledge necessary for managing the west coast’s marine systems in the face of climate change. The PISCO enterprise can contribute to regional, national, and international management discussions by quickly transmitting scientific information to decision-makers as they seek to address climate change’s effects on coastal ocean ecosystems. This effort will be critical as local, federal, and international governing bodies develop climate mitigation and adaptation policies that consider future changes in the coasts and oceans.

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