The Ocean is Breaking – and That's Not A Good Thing

The changes to the world’s oceans from warming, acidification and the resultant hypoxia are far greater in magnitude  than previously thought, and are happening much faster than predicted.

This is the conclusion of leading researchers on ocean stress, from an April, 2011 workshop at Oxford University.

The key points needed to drive a common sense rethink are:


  • Human actions have resulted in warming and acidification of the oceans and are now causing increased hypoxia.
  • The speeds of many negative changes to the ocean are near to or are tracking the worst case scenarios from IPCC and other predictions.  Some are as predicted but many are faster than anticipated, and many are still accelerating.
  • The magnitude of the cumulative impacts on the ocean is greater than previously understood.
  • Timelines for action are shrinking.
  • Resilience of the ocean to climate change impacts is severely compromised by the other stressors from human activity, including fisheries, pollution and habitat destruction.
  • Ecosystem collapse is occurring as a result of both current and emerging stressors.
  • The extinction threat to marine species is rapidly increasing.

The workshop was led by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) together with International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Full report here.


More in a Travis Donovan post at HuffPo and by Richard Black at BBC.