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Page added on November 29, 2006

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Climate change already affecting UK’s marine life

Britain’s coasts are already being affected by climate change, according to a panel of experts convened by the Government to assess the likely impact of global warming. These changes are altering the number, variety and distributions of every kind of marine organism, from plankton and fish to top predators such as seabirds.


Sea temperatures have increased, storms and waves are becoming more damaging and sea levels are beginning to rise faster than at any time in the previous century, the report says.


“We are observing large changes in our marine environment that are driven in part by climate change and that are predicted to continue into the future,” according to the panel’s report published today.
“Mitigating and adapting to these changes will present significant challenges for decision-makers,” says the Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership, a coalition of experts from institutions ranging from Cambridge University to the Met Office’s Hadley Centre.


Sea surface temperatures around Britain’s coastline have been rising by between 0.2C and 0.6C per decade for the past 30 years and there is every sign that they will continue to rise, especially in the South-east.


Over the past 50 years, severe winds have become more commonplace and the height of waves has increased by about 2 per cent per year in the western and northern parts of British territorial waters, the report says.

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