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What are the safe operating thresholds for our oceans?

This is the main focus for the new EU Horizon 2020 project COMFORT: to detect and minimise dangerous climate change in the oceans. The project focuses on global ecosystems tipping points.

Such tipping points are critical points where anthropogenic forces become significant enough to cause a large ecosystem change.

  • Where and when do we reach tipping points in the ocean in case of warming, ocean acidification, and oxygen dead zones?
  • What will be critical ecosystems thresholds in view of these tipping points?
  • What feasible pathways exist to limit respective damage?

The Seapodym team at CLS was awarded a 4 year contract as part of the project consortium. The model focusing on the four species dominating world tuna fisheries (skipjack, yellowfin, bigeye, and albacore) will be used to project the impact of climate change predicted by existing (CMIP5) and new (CMIP6, abrupt climatic events) scenarios.

Specifically, our work package is in charge of:

  1. Determining the impacts of climate-induced changes on the functioning of biological systems driven by key biological first principles in the global ocean and regional seas and basins; and
  2. Quantifying the impacts, risks, and thresholds for habitat conditions, ecosystem changes, and fisheries demonstrating the effects of multiple stressors, propagation to higher trophic levels, and identifying early-warning indicators for critical impacts.