Issue: Contributions and pressures between the coasts and oceans and the atmosphere - Climate and carbon dioxide

This is an issue under the Coasts and oceans theme of the Data Reporting System.

Why we need to know about this issue

The atmosphere and the ocean operate together to maintain global climate. Changes in the atmosphere which cause changes of climate could potentially cause changes in ocean currents which would then lead to further climatic change.

Indicators

  • CO-03 Sea level 
    Sea level change may occur as a consequence of climate change and is therefore an indicator of pressures from the atmosphere, particularly from greenhouse gas concentrations, on the ocean.
  • CO-04 Sea surface temperature variability 
    Changes in sea surface temperature patterns may occur as a consequence of climate change and are therefore an indicator of pressures from the atmosphere, particularly from greenhouse gas concentrations, on the ocean. Changes in ocean currents, resulting from changes in ocean temperature, could, in turn, lead to changes in atmospheric temperatures.
  • CO-44 Marine chlorophyll concentration 
    Condition of marine plant life is a primary determinant of the ocean’s capacity to act as a greenhouse sink, and therefore of the contributions and pressures operating between the ocean and the atmosphere.
  • CO-60 Sea salinity 
    Changes in salinity, due to melting freshwater ice as a result of atmospheric climate change could potentially have both direct effects on marine life and result in changes to currents which have further impacts on climate affecting marine life.
  • CO-72 Changes in sea acidity/alkalinity 
    The acidity of the oceans may increase as a result of increased concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and the reduced capacity of the ocean to absorb carbon dioxide will increase greenhouse gas pressure on the atmosphere.
  • CO-76 Examples of the impact of climate variability on selected coastal and marine species, habitats or ecosystems 
    Coral bleaching, mangrove incursion into rain forest and salt marsh, and a range of other changes in the population, distribution and condition of selected species, groups of species and habitats may be indicative of the pressure of climate change and climate variability on ecosystems.
  • A-01 Annual variation in the Southern Oscillation Index 
    A number of studies indicate that the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) explains 30 - 40% of the year-to-year variability of Australia’s climate, particularly rainfall. The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) is a well-established measure of this phenomenon. El Niño events are associated with below-normal rainfall and often drought over much of northern and eastern Australia. They generally occur every two to seven years and are generally followed by La Niña events, which are associated with higher rainfall. Changes in the timing of these events may be indicative of longer term changes in climate which may have significant impacts on coasts and oceans, especially coastal and marine biodiversity.
  • A-41 Greenhouse - climate change projections 
    Climate change projections can assist in the analysis of climatic pressures on the oceans and marine biodiversity.
  • BD-15 Examples of impacts of climate variability on selected species, habitats or ecosystems 
    As there is no continent-wide method of measuring changes that can be directly attributed to climate change across all species and habitats, examples of changes that appear to be directly attributable to this cause is at present the only useful indicator of the pressure of climate change on marine biodiversity.
  • AAT-12 Changes in colonies of plants on Heard Island 
    Understanding the coverage and type of vegetation on the non ice area of Heard Island provides insight into the extent of glacial retreat as a result of climate change which may have implications for the pressure of climate change on Australian waters and the oceans more generally.
  • AAT-14 Ice sheet mass balance and sea ice extent 
    The changes in ice sheets, sea ice and fast ice may be indicators of climate change. In addition, the Antarctic ice sheet and sea ice plays a major role in global climate through its influence on heat exchange between ocean and atmosphere, it assists the formation of Antarctic bottom water which sinks to the depths of the ocean subsequently driving global ocean circulation. This indicator therefore had implications for the pressure of climate change on Australian waters and the oceans more generally.
  • AAT-15 Glacier movement 
    Understanding the coverage and type of vegetation on the non ice area of Heard Island provides insight into the extent of glacial retreat as a result of climate change which may have implications for the pressure of climate change on Australian waters and the oceans more generally.

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