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16 January, 2008

WARMER and wetter weather brought about by climate change is seriously affecting the UK’s marine environment, according to a new report.

The Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership (MCCIP) report for 2007/8 highlights significant changes and what future effects may be.

The report states that 2006 was the second warmest year for UK coastal waters since records began in 1870 with seven of the 10 warmest years being in the last decade.

The MCCIP also predicted that there will fewer storms in future, but they will increase in severity while coastal erosion and flooding is expected to rise as well.

Another key point is that warmer winters have been strongly linked to reduced breeding success and survival in some seabird populations.

Dr Ian Napier, of the NAFC Marine Centre, in Scalloway, said: “There has been a substantial increase in the abundance of warm-water plankton in Shetland waters over the last decade

“Also pipefish, which are again usually found further south, have become very common locally in recent years. Both of these observations are consistent with the trends highlighted.”

The Scottish Government stated that these changes “are happening now and we must take action”.

Environment secretary Richard Lochhead said: “The MCCIP annual report card paints a disturbing picture. It is a truly global issue and can only be tackled if we work together.

“Climate change, including marine climate change, is one of the most serious threats facing us today.

“We will shortly be publishing our consultation on proposals for a Scottish Climate Change Bill, including a mandatory target to achieve an 80 per cent reduction in Scottish emissions by 2050.

“Our seas play a vital role in regulating our climate and are a lifeline for the communities that live around them.

“The MCCIP are playing a vital role in helping us understand what we need to do to tackle the problem of climate change.”

UK environment minister Jonathan Shaw said: “The report card is a vital piece in the jigsaw of evidence we need to help us to combat climate change.

“Healthy seas are central to our wellbeing, shaping our climate as well as providing food and livelihoods.

“The MCCIP project shows the value of working together to protect the marine environment and to find sustainable solutions to the challenges we all face.”


Most recent update - Friday, 25 July 2008 07:11
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