Predicting Change

Climate change, and associated phenomena, is one of society’s key concerns. Understanding what may or may not happen under future climate scenarios, and thereby identifying adaptation and management strategies, is of prime importance. We have pioneered the development of climate forced regionally downscaled ecosystem models. Our models allow us to assess the impact of climate change at different scales from global oceans over regional seas to coasts and estuaries, applied in a variety of ways to explore impacts of ocean acidification, changes in ecosystem habitats, eutrophication and impacts of benthic trawling.
 

Climate response

We use our models to project the future evolution of marine systems under a changing climate in order to understand the extent of these changes and quantify potential impact on society.

The increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the resultant connected changes, such as temperature rise, are expected to drive substantial alterations in marine ecosystems by affecting the physical and biogeochemical state of the ocean.  Our models suggest that this will lead to considerable changes in marine systems with a general shift of warmer waters towards the poles resulting in a reduction of biological productivity across the marine food web. These changes are expected to have substantial  knock-on effects on essential ecosystem services provided by the ocean, such as fisheries, tourism and carbon sequestration.

Our interdisciplinary team includes scientific experts in a variety of fields ranging from sea-water chemistry and cell physiology, ocean physics and marine ecology to fisheries and socio-economics. Applying our unique suite of model systems along with advanced statistical analysis tools, machine learning and neural network techniques we can develop understanding, assessment and quantification of the impacts of climate change at all levels from biogeochemical cycles over the marine food-web to the impacts on human activities.

Further information

Please contact: Yuri Artioli

Related publications

  • Chust et al. 2014. Biomass changes and trophic amplification of plankton in a warmer ocean. Glob Change Biol 20, 2124–2139, doi:10.1111/gcb.12562
  • Holt J, Butenschön M, Wakelin SL, Artioli Y, Allen JI. 2012. Oceanic controls on the primary production of the northwest European continental shelf: model experiments under recent past conditions and a potential future scenario. Biogeosciences 9, 97–117, doi:10.5194/bg-9-97-2012
  • Holt J, Allen JI, Anderson TR, Brewin R, Butenschön M, Harle J, Huse G, Lehodey P, Lindemann C, Memery L, Salihoglu B, Senina I, Yool A. 2014. Challenges in integrative approaches to modelling the marine ecosystems of the North Atlantic: Physics to fish and coasts to ocean. Progress in Oceanography, North Atlantic Ecosystems, the role of climate and anthropogenic forcing on their structure and function 129, Part B, 285–313, doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2014.04.024
  • Fernandes JA, Cheung WWL, Jennings S, Butenschön M, de Mora L, Frölicher TL, Barange M, Grant A. 2013. Modelling the effects of climate change on the distribution and production of marine fishes: accounting for trophic interactions in a dynamic bioclimate envelope model. Global Change Biology 19, 2596 – 2607. doi:10.1111/gcb.12231
Show more publications


Evolution of the biogeography of the North Atlantic under unmitigated climate change. The biogeography is represented by areas of distinct environmental conditions also referred to as biomes.
Note the extension of the less productive sub-tropical biome towards mid-latitudes (light green) and the reduction of the productive subpolar biomes (orange and yellow).

 
 

Ocean Acidification

Ocean Acidification (OA) refers to the increase in acidity of seawater as a result of the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The consequences on marine organisms are not fully understood yet, however there is clear evidence that some species will suffer, particularly small shelled organisms such as crustacean and bivalves. Changes to ocean chemistry can damage their shells with resultant effects for the whole marine food and potential consequences for human activities (e.g. fishing and aquaculture). There is also evidence that some phytoplankton may benefit from increased CO2 whilst some may not. The resulting change in community structure and phenology is likely to have impacts the filter through the whole system.
 
Modelling how the acidity of the ocean will change and resulting biological impacts, especially at regional scales, allows us to better understand the consequences of Ocean Acidification.  This is vital in order to assess its impact on the human society and plan potential adaptation strategies.

Further information

Please contact: Yuri Artioli or Jerry Blackford

Related projects

EPOCA (European Project on OCean Acidification)
UKOA (UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme) 

Related publications

  • Artioli Y, Blackford JC, Nondal G, Bellerby RGJ, Wakelin SL, Holt J, Butenschön M, and Allen JI. 2014. Heterogeneity of impacts of high CO2 on the North Western European Shelf. Biogeosciences 11:601-612.
  • Queirós AM, Fernandes JA, Faulwetter S, Nunes J, Rastrick SPS, Mieszkowska N, Artioli Y, Yool A, Calosi P, Arvanitidis C, Findlay HS, Barange M, Cheung WWL and Widdicombe S. 2015. Scaling up experimental ocean acidification and warming research: from individuals to the ecosystem. Global Change Biology 21:130-143.


This video shows the difference in pH (the indicator of the level of acidity, a decrease in pH corresponds to increase in acidity) in the North Western European Shelf as projected for the end of the century by models in use at PML.

 
 

Scaling climate response

Climate change is expected to drive substantial environmental changes across the entire planet. These changes have been extensively investigated and reported at a global scale by the use of Earth System Models e.g. in the Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In contrast, comparatively little information is available at regional and local scales. Information on changes at these smaller scales has become increasingly important to help understand the underlying mechanisms of change and to deliver specific guidance on the development of strategies to address and mitigate climate change at international, national and regional levels.  

We aim to address these issues by maintaining a cascade of models that allow us to assess the impact of climate change from global oceans over regional seas to coasts and estuaries.

Further information

Please contact: Yuri Artioli

Related projects

EURO-BASIN
MEECE (Marine Ecosystem Evolution in a Changing Environment)
VECTORS (Vectors of Change in Oceans and Seas Marine Life, Impact on Economic Sectors)

Related publications

  • Barange M, Merino G, Blanchard JL, Scholtens J, Harle J, Allison EH, Allen JI, Holt J and Jennings S. 2014. Impacts of climate change on marine ecosystem production in societies dependent on fisheries. Nature Clim. Change 4, 211–216. doi:10.1038/nclimate2119
  • Holt J, Allen JI, Anderson TR, Brewin R, Butenschön M, Harle J, Huse G, Lehodey P, Lindemann C, Memery L, Salihoglu B, Senina I, Yool A. 2014. Challenges in integrative approaches to modelling the marine ecosystems of the North Atlantic: Physics to fish and coasts to ocean. Progress in Oceanography, North Atlantic Ecosystems, the role of climate and anthropogenic forcing on their structure and function 129, Part B, 285–313. doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2014.04.024
  • Wakelin SL, Artioli Y, Butenschön M, Allen JI and Holt J. 2015. Modelling the combined impacts of climate change and direct anthropogenic drivers on the ecosystem of the northwest European continental shelf. Journal of Marine Systems 152:51-63. doi.org/10.1016/j.jmarsys.2015.07.006
 


This animation shows the different levels of detail included in the PML model suite.