Focus ecosystem Shelf Ecosystems
The oceans are changing rapidly. Surface waters are warming, sea-level rise is accelerating and the oceans are becoming acidic. The oceans play a key role in the carbon cycle of our planet. Covering more than two-thirds of the Earth’s surface, the oceans initially take up the greater part of incoming solar heat and thus determine our climate system. Similarly, the global water cycle is driven mainly by evaporation from the oceans. Finally, the oceans harbour a great wealth of biological diversity and, through fisheries, supply humankind with vital proteins. An intact marine environment is also an important factor for economic development, social well-being and human quality of life. Recent research is making it increasingly clear that climate change will change and damage the marine environment and the coasts. A large and growing part of the population now lives close to coasts. The threats posed to coastal populations and infrastructure by rising sea levels and extreme events such as storm surges or hurricanes will mount in coming decades.
More details coming soon.