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Climate Change & Ocean Acidification

Maerl by Sue ScottThe climate shows considerable variation over short and long timescales. However, in recent years there has been a marked increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere of the Earth and, at the same time, sea surface temperature has risen as have sea levels. Changes in the biological components of the seas have been observed including earlier plankton blooms, a northward movement of some species and a reduction in seabird populations, all of which have been linked to climate change.

At the same time, the seas are becoming more acidic, the consequences of which, especially for calcareous organisms, could be significant. Reductions in the emissions of greenhouse gases are required and Scotland has set ambitious targets. However, even with such reductions, it is highly likely that further consequences of climate change on the marine environment will be observed.