Marine Climate Change

Climate change is the most significant challenge facing society in the 21st century. While uncertainty remains over the nature and magnitude of expected changes, there is agreement that some of these changes will require adaptation and mitigation measures on the part of governments around the globe. The cost of adapting and employing mitigation strategies is likely to be lower if action is taken in a systematic and timely manner.

The oceans are a critical element of the global climate system in their role regulating atmospheric processes and distributing heat, salt and organisms throughout the global ocean. In order to refine estimates and reduce uncertainty in projections of climate change in the marine system, it is necessary to have a sustained programme of research activity to include basic research on the marine system, long-term monitoring of essential climate variables and strengthening of our ability to accurately project future climate scenarios using computer model simulations.

We have conducted an assessment of changes in Ireland’s ocean climate over recent decades. The findings are published in the Ocean and Ecosystem Climate Status Report. A summary version of Ocean and Ecosystem Climate Status Report for policy makers and others interested in marine climate change is also available.

We continue to collect a variety of climate data sets that are quality assured and archived for future analysis by climate researchers. These data sets include physical oceanography in the shelf seas and open ocean, phytoplankton, marine chemistry and fisheries data. To request data from the Marine Institute please use the data request service.