• Climate Change: Implications for Ireland’s Marine Environment and Resources

      Boelens, R.; Minchin, D.; O'Sullivan, G. (Marine Institute, 2005)
      Climate has always varied. However, the prospect of continuing global and regional climate change beyond that of normal climatic variation, due to a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, is now a real possibility. This has potentially serious implications, and possibly some benefits, for the future development of our marine resources. Predicted changes include a greater incidence of storm damage and flooding in low-lying coastal areas and various impacts on marine life including modifications in primary production, food chains and geographical ranges of some species. Increased storm intensity may have significant implications for coastal structures, navigation as well as marine search and rescue operations. Changing marine ecosystems will also have real implications for environmental monitoring, protection and conservation strategies. While international actions to curtail or reduce the rate of climate change are of paramount importance, even if such actions succeed the levels of greenhouse gases currently in the atmosphere are likely to persist for several decades. We must, therefore, improve capacities to predict the types and rates of change and identify the adaptation measures that need to be applied in marine resource use and management. In the absence of policies and measures to prepare for and accommodate the changes, even the more moderate of the predicted scenarios will have significant social and economic impacts.