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It’s Not Just About Sea Surface Temperature: Synthesizing Information to Communicate Climate Change Projections for European Seas
  • Susan Kay
Susan Kay
Plymouth Marine Laboratory

Corresponding Author:suka@pml.ac.uk

Author Profile


Environmental change in coastal and shelf seas provides a challenge to fisheries and aquaculture worldwide. Coupled physical-biogeochemical models can be used to create projections of environmental conditions under different climate scenarios, but models of this type produce a wealth of information covering multiple environmental variables and a range of timescales. It is challenging to synthesize that information into a form which can be quickly and effectively conveyed to stakeholders. I describe how a range of approaches has been used to analyse projections of environmental conditions in European seas, created using a regional model with a resolution of 0.1 degrees. The projections run from the present-day to 2099 and include temperature, primary production, plankton biomass, pH and nutrient and oxygen concentrations for moderate and high carbon concentration scenarios. A range of formats that convey the scale and extent of projected change in the North East Atlantic, the North Sea and the Mediterranean, are included, aiming for simple, visual communication that goes beyond maps of changing sea surface temperature. Colour-coded tables show at a glance which variables are projected to show significant change at a range of locations. Time series and maps are used together to give complementary information. Contours show geographical shifts in conditions. In each case the content can be adjusted to fit the interests of different stakeholder groups: examples from fisheries and aquaculture are included here.