Author Archive

COP21 by numbers

As world leaders reach a landmark deal aiming to curb global emissions of greenhouse gases, and keep temperature rise below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, we take a look at the COP21 vital stats.

Oceans and climate change: ecosystems

As the final part of our oceans and climate change series, this article explores marine ecosystems, looking at primary productivity, microorganisms, and changes in species composition and biodiversity.  Have a look at the previous parts of the oceans series.  Part 1 includes the key facts on the global ocean. Part 2 explores physical ocean processes and Part 3 explores ocean chemistry and the impacts climate change may have on the marine environment.  Written in collaboration with Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science, their original reports and outreach materials can be accessed here.   Primary productivity, phytoplankton and microorganisms   Primary productivity Primary productivity is the rate at which living...

Oceans and climate change: ocean chemistry

As part of our oceans and climate change series, this article explores ocean chemistry and the impacts that climate change may have on the marine environment. We focus on ocean acidification and eutrophication. Take a look at Part 1 of our oceans series to get the key facts on the global ocean. Part 2 explores physical ocean processes. Written in collaboration with Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science, their original reports and outreach materials can be accessed here. Ocean acidification Almost one third (c.30%) of human-induced CO2 emissions – from burning fossil fuels, for example – since the beginning of industrialisation has been absorbed by the oceans. Without...

Oceans and climate change: physical processes

As part of our oceans and climate change series, this article explores physical ocean processes and the ways that they interact with, and respond to, climate drivers. We examine key issues such as changes in ocean circulation and sea level rise. Part 1 of our oceans series can be found here. Written in collaboration with Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science, their original reports and outreach materials can be accessed here.   Changes to temperature, circulation and ice cover The North Atlantic Ocean is the driver of Earth’s ocean circulation. This is due to the heat transfer of the North Atlantic currents – the warm North Atlantic current...

Oceans and climate change: Key facts

 What is an ocean? The global ocean covers 71% of the planet. While there is one global ocean, it is split into five geographical regions. These are the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and the Arctic Ocean. There are also dozens of seas, such as the Mediterranean Sea, the Greenland Sea, and the Weddell Sea. Seas are usually associated with a particular ocean. For example, the Mediterranean Sea is linked to the Atlantic Ocean – via the Straits of Gibraltar. The key difference between a sea and an ocean is that a sea is much smaller, and is commonly...