2023, Marine Spatial Planning Addressing Climate Effects (MSPACE) UK EEZ climate change hotspots/refugia shapefiles

These shapefiles show the locations of climate change hotspots and climate change refugia in the UK EEZ, as identified from spatial meta-analysis conducted as part of the Marine Spatial Planning Addressing Climate Effects (MSPACE) program. Analysis was run on selected climate modelling and/or species distribution model outputs relevant to three sectors of interest (conservation, fisheries and aquaculture). We compared a present day reference period (2006-2025) to each possible 20 year time period between 2026 and 2069 (e.g. 2026-2045, 2027-2046, 2028-2047 etc.) under two different GHG emissions scenarios – RCP4.5 (strong curbs in global emissions toward climate change mitigation, from 2050 onwards, leading to a mean global warming by the end of the century of approx 2.4 degrees Celsius) and RCP8.5 (emissions continue to rise steadily throughout the 21st century, leading to mean global warming approx 4.3 degrees Celsius). In this way, we were able to determine whether or not the marine environment, as described by the modelling layers included in the analysis, changes significantly between the reference period and the future period of interest. The analysis method identifies ecosystem-wide climate change signals, allowing the investigation of the effects of climate change as a holistic process that species respond to through changes in species distributions, affecting the activity of sectors that rely on them. This allows for a mapping of the emergence of climate change hotspots (areas where climate driven trends lead these ecosystem components into a new state beyond their natural variability) over space and time, and so indicating areas where the current level of activity of sectors reliant on those species and habitats may no longer be sustainable. Importantly, because planners need to know also about what can be done, not just what will be lost, this methodology also allows the identification of climate change refugia, where the ecosystem underpinning a sector remains in its current state, and thus where current uses may be sustainable. Specific analyses were conducted for each focal sector, and each shapefile corresponds to the results of one of these analyses. In the conservation sector, analyses focused on: pelagic habitats, benthic habitats, megafauna exploiting pelagic habitats, megafauna exploiting benthic habitats and climate services (e.g. carbon sequestration ability of benthic habitats). In the fisheries sector, analyses focused on: pelagic fisheries and benthic/demersal fisheries. In the aquaculture sector, analyses focused on: pelagic aquaculture (activities taking place in the water column such as salmon cages and suspended mussel culture) and benthic aquaculture (activities that take place on the seabed such as oyster trestles).

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Last Updated October 5, 2023, 09:15 (UTC)
Created October 5, 2023, 09:15 (UTC)