Hear four different perspectives to climate change impacts on North Atlantic and Irish waters.
Climate change and its likely impacts are as high on the agenda in Ireland as everywhere else. Perhaps, like other places, there is also considerable differences between perception and scientific reality: this will be the focus of our linked presentations. We bring together four scientists working in very different, but closely linked fields to explore what we know and what we don't know.
The first presentation will be on the changes in the wider North Atlantic where waters are showing the expected changes in heat content, but at the same time other indicators, such as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, show potentially conflicting trends that impact on ocean climate in Irish waters.
The second presentation examines changes in the distributions of fish species around Ireland. There are some clear indications of change, Ireland is also a crossroads for Lusitanian and Boreal fish species, but expected changes in fish communities to a more Lusitanian dominated pattern have not been found.
Some Lusitanian species have increased in range and abundance, but the main driver for fish distributions remains fishing pressure and not climate. In addition, Ireland's coasts contain Blue Carbon habitats where carbon is sequestrated and stored long term e.g. seagrass beds and salt marshes. This is the subject of our third presentation. It is not clear how those habitats will be affected by warming conditions. Evidence from the Western Atlantic for instance, suggests that low latitude salt marshes will decrease in resilience with warming, while high latitudes show the opposite trend. New research is looking at where Ireland sits in this continuum.
Our final presentation then looks at how all this, often conflicting, evidence appears in the wider social dimension in the context of Climate Justice. We will consider how issues like fish distribution changes or temperature effects on salt marshes play out in the public arena, looking at coastal communities and those whose livelihoods, or even lives, depend on an ocean that is rapidly changing. In particular, we will focus on inter-generational and inter-sectoral approaches, and how good mitigation/adaptation should encompass all actors in society.