Ecosystem overviews

Azores Ecosystem Overview

Climate change impacts

​​At the global level, current greenhouse gas emissions correspond most closely to the IPCC Regional Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5. Within the Azores ecoregion, this scenario projects a 2.5°C warming above mean conditions for the years 2050–2099. There is little spatial variability in projected warming across this relatively small ICES ecoregion.

Human-induced climate change and ocean acidification may be expected to have a significant influence on the ecoregion in the future. There is, however, little or no information at present on existing or predicted future changes in the biology of the ecoregion as a consequence of climate change.

​This ecoregion is a hotspot for cold-water corals, and laboratory studies have demonstrated that cold-water corals are vulnerable to ocean acidification (Carreiro-Silva et al., 2014).

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Figure 6: ​Ensemble mean sea surface temperature (SST) from the 5th Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5), interpolated on a 1° × 1° grid for the entire year in the Azores ecoregion. Left panel: Historical SST for 1956–2005. Right panel: Difference in the mean climate in the future time period (RCP8.5: 2050–2099), compared to the historical reference period.

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Azores Ecosystem Overview

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