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Environmental change is affecting every corner of the planet. In the oceans, changes are apparent in circulation patterns, temperature, salinity, and extreme events such as marine heat waves (MHWs), each of which have consequences for marine ecosystems. Over the next century, the rate and magnitude of changes in the Atlantic Ocean are expected to increase although spatial variations will occur. To effectively manage these ecosystems, including their Blue Economy potential, it is essential to quantify these changes. To this end, this report examines present and future changes in physical properties that may impact on ecosystem health.
We investigate the present state (1980-2019) of the ocean using both observations and output from high- resolution ocean models. To investigate future changes, we use an ensemble of forecast model experiments covering the period 2014-2070. These datasets are used with three objectives in mind: (i) characterise present and future changes in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) strength at various latitudes throughout the Atlantic Ocean; (ii) analyse present and future changes in the key water masses at the 12 iAtlantic case study regions; (iii) investigate extreme events in the form of MHWs.
The report is structured as follows: First, we provide an overview of the AMOC and how it connects the entire Atlantic Ocean system, before describing the main dynamic regimes and water masses for each of the 12 iAtlantic case study regions. Next, we introduce the datasets used and our methodology. In the results section, we first present the variability of the AMOC between 1980 and 2070 focussing on latitudes relevant to the iAtlantic regions. We then show time series of temperature and salinity between 1980- 2070 for the main water masses in each region and give a brief discussion of the results with respect to changes in the circulation. Next, we use the MHW algorithm to examine extreme events for the period 1980-2019. Finally, we provide a summary of the key results.
Download the full report
iAtlantic Deliverable 1.2: Ecosystem relevant variations and oceanographic trends from present day to 2070.
Report by Kristin Burmeister, Clare Johnson, Sam Jones, Mark Inall, Stuart Cunningham, Arne Biastoch, Peter Brandt, Klaus Getzlaff, Patricia Handmann, Josefine Herrford, Rebecca Hummels, Ioana Ivanciu, Franziska Schwarzkopf & Sebastian Wahl. January 2022.
PDF file, 8MB