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The potential impacts of climate change on the hydrography of the northwest European continental shelf

Holt, J.; Wakelin, S.; Lowe, J.; Tinker, J.. 2010 The potential impacts of climate change on the hydrography of the northwest European continental shelf. Progress in Oceanography, 86 (3-4). 361-379. 10.1016/j.pocean.2010.05.003

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Abstract/Summary

Changes in global atmospheric conditions have the potential to substantially influence shelf sea environments with far reaching consequences for their ecosystems. Here we focus on the northwest European continental shelf, and review the mechanisms by which climate change might affect the temperature, salinity and stratification of this shelf sea. We explore results from a single pair of Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory Coastal Ocean Modelling System (POLCOMS) simulations forced by the Hadley Centre regional climate model, for conditions typical of 1961-1990 and 2070-2098, under a 'business as usual' emissions scenario (SRES A1B). This provides a single, physically plausible, representation of the future and a consistent representation of the recent past. Comparing these simulations, the shelf sea regions of this model are shown to warm substantially more than the open-ocean, by between similar to 1.5 and 4 degrees C depending on location. Across the whole domain the surface waters are projected to be similar to 0.2 p.s.u. fresher by the end of the 21st century. The strength of seasonal stratification is shown to increase by similar to 20% on the shelf, compared with 20-50% in the open-ocean. The former being controlled by temperature and the latter by salinity. In shelf seas away from the direct influence of river discharge, stratification is projected to start similar to 5 days earlier and breakdown similar to 5-10 days later each year, hence extending the stratified period. An ERA-40 re-analysis forced simulation provides a reference, along with validation from gridded monthly mean data from the ICES data base

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.pocean.2010.05.003
Programmes: Oceans 2025 > Next generation ocean prediction systems
ISSN: 0079-6611
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Holt, Jason Wakelin, Sarah Lowe, Jason Tinker, Jonathan NERC ; EC through the Marine Ecosystem Evolution in a Changing Environment (MEECE) [212085]; NERC National Centre for Earth Observation ; DECC ; Defra Holt and Wakelin are supported by the NERC core programme in marine science, Oceans 2025. Holt is also support by Theme 6 of the EC seventh framework program through the Marine Ecosystem Evolution in a Changing Environment (MEECE No. 212085) Collaborative Project. Wakelin is also supported by the NERC National Centre for Earth Observation. Lowe was supported by the Joint DECC and Defra Integrated Climate Programme - DECC/Defra (GA01101). Pergamon-elsevier science ltd Oxford
Additional Keywords: IRISH SEA; SEASONAL STRATIFICATION; INTERANNUAL VARIABILITY; OCEAN MARGINS; BALTIC SEA; MODELS; ECOSYSTEMS; EXCHANGE; FRONTS; HYDRODYNAMICS
NORA Subject Terms: Marine Sciences
Date made live: 01 Mar 2011 16:17
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/13649

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