Welcome to PAP/RAC Mediterranean Coastal Alert! This newsletter is regularly updated monthly. It contains abstracts of selected current articles and archives on various environmental themes, in particular those dealing with all aspects of coastal issues. The selection is made from the articles published in the leading international scientific journals. This newsletter is an excellent way of keeping you updated with coastal studies and processes.

In this issue Issue No. 24, 2011-04-01

The Vlora Project
(Abstract...)

Modeling regional coral reef responses to global warming and changes in ocean chemistry: Caribbean case study
(Abstract...)

A systematic review of observed climate change adaptation in developed nations: A letter
(Abstract...)

Temperature stabilization, ocean heat uptake and radiative forcing overshoot profiles
(Abstract...)

Abstract

The Vlora Project

This volume collects the main results of 2 years of multidisciplinary researches (2007–08) on the Vlora Gulf ecosystem, carried out by a joint Italian (National Interuniversity Consortium for Marine Sciences [CoNISMA], National Research Council [CNR, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche] and Agenzia Regionale per la Prevenzione e la Protezione Ambientale [ARPA] (Puglia) and Albanian (University of Tirana, the Science Academy, and the Ministry of the Environment) research team. The studies and analyses were aimed at identifying the environmental factors and components that strongly interact with, and affect, the marine ecosystem of the region. In particular, the main research tasks were related to geological and hydrogeological aspects of the river basins, the bottom morphology of the whole marine area, the problems of coastal erosion phenomena, the stratigraphy of the marine sediment, the physical and chemical parameters of the water column, an examination of primary production, the biodiversity of benthic and pelagic ecosystems, and the existence of problems connected to the ecotoxicology of the biota. The results pointed out the weakness to the Vlora Gulf ecosystem from several sources, including the (1) heavy human impacts on the natural coastal evolution, resulting in coastal erosion and/or accretion; (2) considerable influence of the input of suspended mud from the Vjosa River, causing conspicuous degeneration phenomena on the benthic biocoenoses (e.g., on the Posidonia oceanica meadow; and (3) conspicuous urban and industrial water discharge, producing diffuse pollution related to the presence of heavy metals (mercury, among others) in the sediments of the Gulf area. Finally, a further aim of the project was the planning of an International Center for Marine Research, located in Albania, to support an international focal point for researchers involved in environmental studies of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Keywords: Vlora Gulf ecosystem; Environmental factors and components; Marine ecosystem.

Source: A. Tursi, C. Corselli, S. Bushati and S. Beqiraj (2011); “The Vlora Project”, Journal of Coastal Research: Special Issue 58 - Coastal Research in Albania: Vlora Gulf [Tursi & Corselli]: pp. 1 – 5; Received: 12 April, 2010; Accepted: 12 April, 2010; Available Online under DOI: 10.2112/SI_58_1.

Contact: cesare.corselli@unimib.it

Link: Journal of Coastal Research Online Journal

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Modeling regional coral reef responses to global warming and changes in ocean chemistry: Caribbean case study

Climatic change threatens the future of coral reefs in the Caribbean and the important ecosystem services they provide. We used a simulation model [COMBO (“COral Mortality and Bleaching Output”)] to estimate future coral cover in the part of the eastern Caribbean impacted by a massive coral bleaching event in 2005. COMBO calculates impacts of future climate change on coral reefs by combining impacts from long-term changes in average sea surface temperature (SST) and ocean acidification with impacts from episodic high temperature mortality (bleaching) events. We used mortality and heat dose data from the 2005 bleaching event to select historic temperature datasets, to use as a baseline for running COMBO under different future climate scenarios and sets of assumptions. Results suggest a bleak future for coral reefs in the eastern Caribbean. For three different emissions scenarios from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC; B1, A1B, and A1FI), coral cover on most Caribbean reefs is projected to drop below 5% by the year 2035, if future mortality rates are equivalent to some of those observed in the 2005 event (50%). For a scenario where corals gain an additional 1–1.5°C of heat tolerance through a shift in the algae that live in the coral tissue, coral cover above 5% is prolonged until 2065. Additional impacts such as storms or anthropogenic damage could result in declines in coral cover even faster than those projected here. These results suggest the need to identify and preserve the locations that are likely to have a higher resiliency to bleaching to save as many remnant populations of corals as possible in the face of projected wide-spread coral loss.

Keywords: Coral reefs; Global warming; Ecosystem; Coral loss; The Caribbean.

Source: R. W. Buddemeier, D. R. Lane and J. A. Martinich (2011); “Modeling regional coral reef responses to global warming and changes in ocean chemistry: Caribbean case study”, Climatic Change, Received: 11 May 2009; Accepted: 3 December 2010; Published Online: 11 February 2011, under DOI: 10.1007/s10584-011-0022-z.

Contact: dlane@stratusconsulting.com

Link: SpringerLink

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A systematic review of observed climate change adaptation in developed nations: A letter

We develop and apply a systematic mixed-methods literature review methodology to identify and characterize how climate change adaptation is taking place in developed nations. We find limited evidence of adaptation action. Where interventions are being implemented and reported on, they are typically in sectors that are sensitive to climate impacts, are most common at the municipal level, facilitated by higher-level government interventions, with responses typically institutional in nature. There is negligible description of adaptation taking place with respect to vulnerable groups, with reporting unequal by region and sector. The methodology offers important insights for meta-analyses in climate change scholarship and can be used for monitoring progress in adaptation over time.

Keywords: Climate change adaptation; Methodology; Developed nations.

Source: J. D. Ford, L. Berrang-Ford and J. Paterson (2011); “A systematic review of observed climate change adaptation in developed nations: A Letter”, Climatic Change; Received: 16 November 2010; Accepted: 26 January 2011; Published Online: 5 March 2011, under DOI: 10.1007/s10584-011-0045-5.

Contact: james.ford@mcgill.ca

Link: SpringerLink

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Temperature stabilization, ocean heat uptake and radiative forcing overshoot profiles

Political leaders in numerous nations argue for an upper limit of the global average surface temperature of 2 K above the pre-industrial level, in order to attempt to avoid the most serious impacts of climate change. This paper analyzes what this limit implies in terms of radiative forcing, emissions pathways and abatement costs, for a range of assumptions on rate of ocean heat uptake and climate sensitivity. The primary aim is to analyze the importance of ocean heat uptake for radiative forcing pathways that temporarily overshoot the long-run stabilization forcing, yet keep the temperature increase at or below the 2 K limit. In order to generate such pathways, an integrated climate-economy model, MiMiC, is used, in which the emissions pathways generated represent the least-cost solution of stabilizing the global average surface temperature at 2 K above the pre-industrial level. We find that the level of overshoot can be substantial. For example, the level of overshoot in radiative forcing in 2100 ranges from about 0.2 to 1 W/m2, where the value depends strongly and positively on the effective diffusivity of heat in the oceans. Measured in relative terms, the level of radiative forcing overshoot above its longrun equilibrium level in 2100 is 20% to 60% for high values of climate sensitivity (i.e., about 4.5 K) and 8% to 30% for low values of climate sensitivity (i.e., about 2 K). In addition, for cases in which the radiative forcing level can be directly stabilized at the equilibrium level associated with a specific climate sensitivity and the 2 K limit, the net present value abatement cost is roughly cut by half if overshoot pathways are considered instead of stabilization of radiative forcing at the equilibrium level without an overshoot.

Keywords: Temperature stabilization; Ocean heat uptake; Radiative forcing; Climate sensivity.

Source: : D. J. A. Johansson (2010); “Temperature stabilization, ocean heat uptake and radiative forcing overshoot profiles”, Climatic Change; Received: 15 September 2009; Accepted: 5 October 2010; Published Online: 7 December 2010, under DOI: 10.1007/s10584-010-9969-4.

Contact: daniel.johansson@chalmers.se

Link: SpringerLink

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