Oral Presentation AMOS Annual Meeting and International Conference on Tropical Meteorology and Oceanography

Towards a better understanding of the role of the ocean and cryosphere in extreme eventsĀ  (#32)

Kathleen L McInnes 1
  1. CSIRO, Aspendale, VIC, Australia

The oceans play a critical role in the climate system as a sink for carbon emissions and excess heat generated by the anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. About 30% of anthropogenic CO2 released into the atmosphere has been absorbed into the oceans causing a decline in ocean pH and potential impacts on ocean ecosystems through ocean acidification. Over 90% of the excess heat in the climate system has also gone into ocean warming. The consequences of rapid ocean warming is being realised through increasing rates of sea level rise, increased frequency of marine heat waves, and intensification of atmospheric storm systems through air-sea interactions. The potential for multiple complex risks for society and natural ecosystems is increasing and considerable effort by the physical and social scientific communities is required to better understand not only the processes themselves, but also the societal responses needed to build resilience. An added urgency is in the way that risks from multiple aspects of a changing climate can compound the risks for society. For these and other reasons, an IPCC Special Report on Oceans and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate is under development. While not scheduled for release until late 2019, the rationale and the topics that will be addressed in the Special Report will be outlined here. The talk will then address emerging risks for Australian coasts arising from sea level rise, extreme storms, changing climate dynamics and ocean chemistry, and their compound interactions. Opportunities will be discussed for developing greater resilience to these changes.