How can Scotland become a world leader in wave energy?

By SalM on September 29, 2020 in Other News Articles

Scotland is aiming to be a world leader in tackling climate change and has ambitious environmental targets, including a drive to reach net zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045.

To deliver on its aspirations, a balance of different renewable sources is required, including wave energy.

Experts believe Scotland is capable of establishing itself ahead of other countries in wave energy and become an exporter of technology.

If Scotland succeeds, research shows that the boost to the wider economy could be sizeable

A report published in May 2018 by Catapult Offshore Renewable Energy, ‘Tidal Stream Wave Energy Cost Reduction and Industrial Benefit’, estimated the UK tidal stream industry could generate a cumulative benefit to the UK by 2030 of £1.4 billion and support almost 4,000 jobs.

The emerging sector appears to have learned from previous high-profile failures. In 2014 Scottish wave energy generator Pelamis collapsed after failing to secure development funding. It was closely followed by near-shore device developer Aquamarine going into administration.

Since then Scotland has taken a more cautious approach to development, underpinned by the creation of Wave Energy Scotland (WES).

WES was established six years ago as a subsidiary of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) at the request of the Scottish Government. It “takes a rigorous process to reduce technical and commercial risk”.

Its remit is to “ensure that Scotland maintains a leading role in the development of marine energy”. To date, it has funded almost 100 contracts and invested around £40 million in the sector.

The WES programme selects projects for phase one, usually at concept level. After that the strongest projects are selected for further funding. This is repeated as projects move through the programme to phase four. The objective is to ensure the most promising technologies receive maximum investment.

Tim Hurst, WES managing director, explains: “We are all about rigorous testing at the early stages to ensure more success when we put things in the water. We go out wide to bring in technologies and filter them down to the best concepts.”

A landmark was reached at the start of last year when two Scottish firms received an award of £7.7m from WES to develop new wave energy devices that are on track to go in the sea this year. Edinburgh-based Mocean Energy, with its Blue Horizon technology, and AWS Ocean Energy in Inverness, with Archimedes Waveswing, are using the funds to build half-scale wave energy machines and test them in real ocean conditions at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney.

Hurst believes Scotland is ideally placed to build on its position as a wave energy pioneer. “There are many countries with an interest in wave energy. But Scotland is unique – it has the resource, the maritime history, the engineering capabilities and world-leading research into marine energy.

“It also has an oil and gas industry which gives it that capability to deploy things offshore. Those elements are brought together by the political will of the Scottish government.”

He is clear on the economic benefits of wave energy. “Wave farms would generally be located in areas deemed economically fragile, the outer islands and other peripheries,” says Hurst. “In such areas high value jobs are hard to come by, populations are declining and unemployment is higher than the norm. Then there is direct economic benefit from manufacturing and exporting wave energy devices.”

But Scotland cannot rest on its laurels as it faces competition globally from such markets as the US, Australia and Spain. To avoid losing its prime position, Hurst is calling on Westminster to provide a fairer route to market for wave energy.

The industry would like to see wave energy given a market support mechanism appropriate for an emerging technology.

This would put it on a level playing field with the likes of offshore wind and make it more financially feasible and attractive to investors.

Hurst concludes: “Scotland allowed its positions in wind technology to erode, we don’t want to do the same with wave.”

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Orsted and Maersk Test Offshore Vessel Charging

By SalM on September 29, 2020 in Other News Articles

Orsted and Maersk Supply Service have formed a partnership to test an innovative charging buoy that can bring green electricity to offshore wind farm service vessels and potentially to a wide range of maritime vessels.

The buoy can be used to charge smaller battery or hybrid-electrical vessels and supply offshore wind power to larger vessels, enabling them to turn off their engines when laying idle.

The prototype buoy has been developed by Maersk Supply Service while Orsted is responsible for the buoy’s integration with the electrical grid at the offshore wind farm.

Orsted said it would make any intellectual property generated in designing the integration of the buoy into the offshore wind asset publicly available to maximise uptake across the offshore wind sector.

The charging buoy will be tested in the second half of 2021, where it will supply overnight power to one of Orsted’s service vessels.

By substituting fossil-based fuels with green electricity, virtually all emissions are eliminated while the buoy is in use.

Upon technical validation and commercial ramp up, the electrical charging buoy has significant potential, short to medium term, to contribute positively to reducing emissions for the maritime industry, the companies added.

Within five years of global operation, Maersk Supply Service has the ambition to remove 5.5 million tons of CO2, additionally avoiding pollutants including particulate matter, NOx, and SOx.

Orsted and Maersk said that as large parts of the global maritime fleet are getting ready to receive shore power in ports, timing is right for implementing this clean ocean-tech innovation.

The charging buoy is applicable as a mooring point outside ports, in offshore wind farms, and near vicinity to other offshore installations. Additionally, it could further help limit the increasing vessel congestions and remove air pollution in port areas.

“The charging buoy tackles a multitude of problems; lower emissions, offering a safe mooring point for vessels, better power efficiency and eliminating engine noise,” said Maersk Supply Service offshore renewables MD Jonas Munch Agerskov.

“This is also a solution that can be implemented on a global scale, and one that can be adapted as the maritime industry moves towards hybridisation and electrification,” he added.

“Orsted has set the ambitious target of having carbon neutral operations in 2025, which includes the operations of our offshore wind farms,” said Orsted Offshore senior vice president and head of operations Mark Porter.

“Technical and commercial innovation is central to Orsted’s ability to provide real, tangible solutions to achieve our operational ambitions – and we need our partners’ support.

“We are happy to team up with Maersk Supply Service to test this innovative charging buoy, which brings us a step closer to creating a world that runs entirely on green energy.”

Maersk Supply Service has received a grant from the Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Programme, under the Danish Energy Agency, to support the demonstration phase of the project.

The Danish Maritime Fund provided initial support with project conceptualisation.

This article was taken from the website. For more informations, please follow the following link to the original source of the article

Converting PSVs for Offshore Wind support

By SalM on September 27, 2020 in Other News Articles

The apparently long-term decline in oil prices has undoubtedly hit the offshore oil & gas (O&G) industry hard. Suppliers of platform / offshore supply vessel (PSV / OSV) services to the sector in particular find themselves with excess assets and the need to either sell them or put them to more profitable use. While the offshore wind industry and its needs may look very different compared to those of O&G, the fact is that the basic attributes of the latter’s support vessels are well suited to the wind sector, making them ideal for conversion and redeployment in maintenance roles in an industry that is set to enjoy rapid growth for the foreseeable future.

Take your pick

Operators looking for vessels to convert have plenty of choice. Operator Tidewater recently stated that the sector has in total 3,419 vessels, of which roughly 1,000 are classified as “stacked” and a further 300 or so described as “idle”. A closer look at the stacked category reveals that approximately 650 have been laid up for more than two years and of these, 360 units are more than 15 years old. Even many of those that are still working face serious challenges to their long-term viability. In such an intensely competitive market most are operating at best close to breakeven, if not at an outright loss.

“While it goes without saying that the timeframe and cost associated with converting a PSV is just a fraction of that of an equivalent newbuild, this should be balanced against the remaining life left in an individual PSV’s lifecycle,” says Liviu Galatanu, Business Development & Integration Director of ship design and engineering specialist GLO Marine. “On average these conversions start to make commercial sense for PSVs that can safely operate for at least another 10 to 15 years.With properly maintained vessels having a lifespan of anything up to 40 years this leaves plenty of mid-life vessels that would be economically viable for re-purposing.”

New opportunities

Converting O&G PSVs to enable them to meet the needs of the offshore wind sector, while eminently feasible, is a complex process that has implications for every part of a vessel. Yet while the size and nature of the offshore structures that each sector presents are very different, at the same time they do share basic attributes of performance and manoeuvrability, and plenty of open deck space, that make them ideal for conversion.

Proven concept

GLO Marine has recently successfully completed the engineering for two such conversion projects. For both of these the requirement was to be able to temporarily accommodate up to 40 additional personnel in single and double cabins. The first by adding an extra layer of superstructure to the existing arrangement to take 15 double cabins, and the second by fitting accommodation containers on the mezzanine deck for up to 40 persons. The fact that these solutions were achieved in two, quite different ways demonstrates the fact that the excellent on-board space management and versatility of these vessels allows them to easily accept different mobilisations and upgrades to suit whatever their next roles may be. It is this that makes them the best option for today’s vessel owners aiming for flexibility under everchanging market conditions.

The role of the SPS code

From the engineering point of view, the tool for this specific conversion work is the SPS (Special Purpose Ship) Code. Introduced in 1983 and revised in 2008, it gives a step-by-step approach to bridging the gap between cargo and passenger vessels. Although special attention is directed towards ensuring the safety of the personnel on board with its focus on fire safety, escape routes, life-saving appliances and accommodation spaces, the major challenge for the design engineers is the vessel’s stability behaviour. Due to their standard layouts, PSVs and OSVs (especially those fitted with cargo tanks) can be quite tricky to tame with the major issue being the standards for stability required in the event of  damage to the hull. This is more demanding in the SPS Code than in the Offshore Code.

As suggested above, the most popular type of wind industry conversion usually requires the designer to fit an accommodation module (whether it is to be added on to the existing superstructure or fitted as a containerised solution) that can take a significant number of maintenance personnel and their equipment. An upgrade of this type and scale then requires significant changes to all the on-board systems, especially those relating to the safety of the personnel, be it from the stability point of view or the wholesale upscaling of life support and saving systems.

The result is that the designers and engineers involved need to have a comprehensive understanding of the SOLAS requirements and the ability to grasp the manner in which the rules and regulations set out by SOLAS interact and influence each other.  This GLO Marine has acquired through extensive experience of applying the rules across a wide range of vessel types.

No two projects are the same

Having delivered two conversion projects in the past few months, the experience of GLO Marine is that stability compliance with the requirements laid out by the SPS Code can be achieved, with the caveat that a compromise has to be made in balancing cargo-carrying capacity with cross-flooding mitigation arrangements. Additionally, there is an inherent difficulty in obtaining Limiting KG curves for damage stability, therefore the natural solution is for the vessel to be fitted with an onboard loading and stability calculator.

“Each project has its own peculiarities and achieving the SPS class notation will take any engineer out of their comfort zone,” continues Liviu Galatanu, “as one needs to deal with lots of moving parts, including a great deal of Class interaction. We have learned much from these projects but, most importantly, we have taken the experience and translated it into efficient work-flows and step by step guides, which now enables us to deliver SPS class notations quickly and cost-effectively. It’s a pathway that we can now apply for the benefit of other clients.”

The time saved by conversion versus new build is also considerable. The design and on-board mobilisation and installation works associated with assigning a SPS Class notation to a PSV usually takes no more than 6 to 8 months, depending on complexity. And if the design work is done with a high degree of accuracy, the actual docking times can be as little as three months or even less.

Old ships, new opportunities

Of course, PSVs can be repurposed for other activities and GLO Marine’s experience extends across a wide variety of vessel classes, but lately the option that has been most popular with PSV operators looking to diversify their markets is achieving the SPS class notation and repurposing these assets as windfarm support vessels. “Regardless of the industry, achieving this is a remarkable milestone in an asset’s life,” concludes Liviu Galatanu. “It offers the sought-after adaptability to survive in the current, ever-changing market trends so that, with the right support and conversion expertise, today’s owners of OSVs and PSVs can look forward to a profitable and productive future once again.”

This article was taken from the OffShoreBiz Website. Follow the link to the original source

Converting PSVs for Offshore Wind support – creating a pathway

WindFloat Atlantic Launch

By SalM on September 25, 2020 in Other News Articles

As the first floating wind farm in continental Europe, WindFloat Atlantic marks the beginning of an exciting new era, in which floating wind enables the true globalization of offshore wind and firmly establishes this industry as the renewable energy source with the highest growth potential for the coming decades.

While providing its cutting-edge WindFloat technology, Principle Power has been integral to the WindFloat Atlantic project since the beginning; from developing a detailed design for the platform and mooring system and certifying the design with the classification society ABS, to supporting the project throughout platform fabrication, load-out, turbine installation and offshore towing and hook-up. Moreover, once the project is commissioned, we will continue operating and maintaining the WindFloat units.

Projects like WindFloat Atlantic provide a transformative boost to the rapidly growing global offshore wind sector. Indeed, there are few industries that can deploy such large investments in the Blue Economy in such a short period.

Over the coming decade, the offshore wind industry (both fixed and floating) is expected to invest over $30 billion a year on average. This could represent an additional $1 trillion for the ocean asset base over the next 25 years, which will lead to new jobs and investments in local ports, shipyards and other ocean infrastructure in coastal communities around the world.

Floating wind projects are especially promising due to the many benefits they can bring to the offshore wind space. With more than eighty percent of our oceans unexplored – as many areas are not suitable for fixed offshore wind – they can unlock vast wind resources previously unreachable, while remaining barely – if at all – visible from the coastline.

The turbines are coupled to the platforms in the harbor, then transported to their destination using commonly available harbor tug boats; this significantly reduces costs and technical challenges. The WindFloat can also support the largest commercially available wind turbines in the world, which helps increase power generation and drive reductions in lifecycle costs. Most importantly, as countries continue working to meet their Paris Agreement and other climate and energy security goals, floating wind can ramp up renewable energy generation, while fuelling economic growth.

The launch of WindFloat Atlantic is a major step forward, and we are excited to see this flagship project taking shape, thankful and proud of the teams that made it possible, and humbled to be part of the journey to find solutions and create potential in this new energy age.

This article was written by João Metelo, CEO of Principle Power and it was published on OffShoreWindBiz website. Click on the link below to the original source

WindFloat Atlantic Launch: A New Era for Offshore Wind and the Blue Economy

Making Carbon Offsets by Putting Seaweed on the Ocean Floor

By SalM on September 16, 2020 in Other News Articles

Off the coast of Portland, Maine, an aquaculture startup that raises shellfish is also working on a more radical project: raising kelp in the open ocean, then sinking it to the seafloor to sequester the carbon inside.

The company, called Running Tide, argues that the approach could be essentially a permanent way to deal with the excess carbon in the atmosphere. Like trees, seaweed forests suck in carbon from the air as they grow. But while carbon in forests on land can sometimes be lost—as in California, where more than 2 million acres of trees have burned so far this year—kelp that sinks to the bottom of the ocean can stay there for centuries.

“Once it goes down below 1,000 meters, it’s not coming back up, because the pressures are so great,” says Marty Odlin, the founder of Running Tide. “So you can get at least 1,000 years of sequestration. More likely, it will turn into oil or sediment and be sequestered on the geologic timescale—millions of years.”

Done at a large scale, the process could make a meaningful difference. A 2019 study that looked at the potential for seaweed farming to offset carbon emissions calculated that growing and sinking macroalgae in a tiny fraction of the federal waters off the California coastline could fully offset emissions from the state’s enormous agriculture industry, for example. Negative emissions projects such as this—or forest restoration or technology designed to suck carbon from the air—will be necessary to reach climate goals. Shifting to zero-carbon solutions such as renewable energy is also necessary, but the world will also need to capture the excess carbon that already exists (and offset sectors such as aviation that will be slower to decarbonize).

The tech company Shopify, which has started investing a minimum of $5 million annually in companies with promising sustainability solutions, selected Running Tide as one of several in its first round of investments, announced on September 15. “Running Tide’s pilot project is offering a new, scalable solution for high-quality, long-term carbon removal, leveraging the mass and depth of the ocean,” says Stacy Kauk, the director of Shopify’s Sustainability Fund. “They’re taking a natural system and optimizing it to increase carbon removal capacity—this has low capital costs when compared to other solutions, with high potential for economies of scale.” The startup will use the new investment to launch a pilot project later this year.

Some other companies are focused on how to grow large-scale seaweed farms near coastlines. Primary Ocean, a Los Angeles-based company, plans to soon test its cultivation infrastructure in waters off California. Running Tide says that makes sense for kelp farms that plan to sell a product—whether for food, or biofuel, or, say, to make cattle feed that can reduce the emissions from cow burps. “If you’re trying to get kelp back, you need to tend to it more often because you need it to be a certain quality,” Odlin says. “You need to tend to it, and you need it to be accessible, so they need to be close to shore, where you can get them.” If the only goal is to sink the kelp, however—and sell the offsets—the kelp can grow far out in the ocean.

The company plans to send its microfarms into open ocean currents targeted for their ability to support kelp. “The currents take it on this journey through nutrient-rich water that is appropriate for temperature, salinity, and any other factors that contribute to kelp growth, and they end over the abyssal plain,” he says. “And then we can sink the kelp.” The kelp will be supported by biodegradable buoys that are designed to break down after a certain period of time. The team is experimenting with various options; one version has a plug that the ocean slowly wears down, creating a hole that sinks the whole platform.

The startup has tested the basic principles of the concept near the shore and will use the investment from Shopify to begin testing it farther out in the ocean, tracking each microfarm to see how it performs. Odlin, who comes from a family of several generations of Maine fisherman, has seen the impacts of climate change firsthand and recognizes how important it will be to act quickly. “I look at where I’m from, and I look at opportunities shrinking around me,” he says. “And I look at California on fire. It’s like we essentially have Godzilla stomping all over the world and just destroying everything, and coming for everything that we love. At some point, you got to fight it.”

Climate action requires guidance and governance frameworks

By SalM on September 16, 2020 in Other News Articles


Accounting guidelines exist for the recording of carbon flows in terrestrial and coastal ecosystems. Shelf sea sediments, while considered an important carbon store, have yet to receive comparable scrutiny. Here, we explore whether effective management of carbon stocks accumulating in shelf seas could contribute towards a nation’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. We review the complexities of carbon transport and fate in shelf seas, and the geopolitical challenges of carbon accounting in climate governance because of the transboundary nature of carbon flows in the marine environment. New international accounting guidance and governance frameworks are needed to prompt climate action.


Integration of natural capital into physical and economic accounts is being examined by many countries worldwide1. An important aim of such integrated accounts is to support the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and multilateral environmental agreements such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Carbon sequestration, commonly defined in the natural sciences literature as the processes of carbon capture and storage, is an important element of such accounts because it may contribute towards a nations’ greenhouse gas emissions reduction contributions within the 2015 Paris Agreement and previous obligations under the UNFCCC Article 4 (Parties commitments to mitigate climate change)2.

Vegetated terrestrial systems such as forests sequester, capture and store carbon in their biomass and the soil beneath them. A similar process occurs in the marine environment where vegetated marine systems, such as salt marshes, mangroves and seagrass meadows, capture and store carbon. Not all carbon fixed by these systems (i.e. turned into biomass) becomes stored in the soil where it was produced; a fraction is eventually transported and stored (i.e. buried) in coastal or offshore shelf sea sediments. Shelf sea sediments not only store detritus generated by terrestrial and coastal vegetation, but also carbon inputs generated from phytoplankton productivity and other carbon sources (e.g. macroalgae) throughout the shelf seas and adjacent ocean environment. However, we still do not know what fraction of the accumulating organic matter, herewith termed as particulate organic carbon (POC), is derived from each of the potential sources listed above. Wide regional variations in the composition of the accumulating sediment are to be expected due to multiple and divergent organic matter sources3,4,5. Information is lacking also on the amount of organic carbon produced that becomes ultimately buried in shelf sea sediments.

Terrestrial vegetated ecosystems, including coastal ecosystems, which are classified as managed lands and which sequester carbon, are recognised by the UNFCCC through various governance mechanisms6. Marine ecosystems, in contrast, are less well represented and managed7. General obligations stated in Article 4 of the UNFCCC require all Parties to compile inventories of emissions by sources and removals by sinks based on specific Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidelines. Given the sediments’ organic carbon density (8.8 mgC cm−3) and the large area of shelf seas (Table 1), which is ~7% of the global marine area8,9, and considering that they are a potentially manageable carbon store, we suggest that carbon sequestration in shelf sea sediments should be considered within the scope of both IPCC inventory and environmental–economic accounting methodologies. Proper management of the carbon currently sequestered into these invisible stores, in fact, may play a significant role in mitigating climate change. We consider the opportunities, challenges and benefits of the preservation of shelf sea sedimentary carbon as a contribution to climate change mitigation by considering the following critical questions: How is ownership of carbon stocks in shelf sea sediments distributed? How should these carbon stocks be measured and registered in national carbon accounts? What arrangements can be made to ensure the conservation of the carbon stocks?

This review outlines the uncertainties about carbon sources in the marine environment and carbon transport, and the potential scale of carbon storage in shelf seas, and then examines the potential governance and management of this carbon. Current evidence suggests that, due to transport of carbon in organic matter (i.e. POC) by water currents, the long-term burial of carbon in shelf sea sediments may occur in different territorial waters to those in which it is produced (Fig. 1). This has important consequences for the physical and economic accounting of carbon.

We explore options to address the complexities of organic carbon production, transport and distribution in shelf seas within the technicalities of physical and economic accounting systems for carbon reporting looking at (i) common pool resources10 and (ii) the governance and management of carbon sequestered in shelf sea sediments.

We summarise the most relevant insights from biogeochemistry, environmental economics, governance and management of carbon in the marine environment. These elements are all fundamental to understand: (i) the fate of carbon in the marine environment; (ii) the national physical inventory and economic accounting of this carbon; (iii) the economic value of carbon sequestration in the marine environment; and (iv) the national and international governance for the sustainable management of this natural resource. We use the well-studied North Sea11 as a real-world example to illustrate the complexities involved. We draw this material together to show the scale of the carbon stores in the marine environment and contemplate how they might be incorporated into carbon management schemes in order to contribute to meeting the 2015 Paris Agreement goals of limiting the global temperature rise well below 2 °C, possibly below 1.5 °C2.

Carbon stocks in shelf sea sediments

The world’s oceans currently take up as much as 25% of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions (1.9 × 1015 g y−1)12,13. While other gases such as nitrous oxide and methane contribute to climate change, we only focus on the fate of CO2 in the marine environment because CO2 emissions from anthropogenic activities contributed the greatest proportion to the increase of greenhouse gases over the period 1970–201014,15. The CO2 is stored throughout the water column where it can be isolated from air–sea exchange for periods of decades to centuries, while other storage occurs via carbon burial in marine sediments.

Most CO2 emitted by human activities is trapped within the ocean and stored in the oceanic water column with a residence time of 100–1000s of years16. The remaining carbon is stored in marine sediments with residence times of between 100s and millions of years. In ocean sediments on the shelf slope (200–1000 m), or those deeper than >1000 m water depth, storage is extensive17,18.

Shelf sediments, defined here as those deposited in <200 m water depth, are less extensive (7.6% of the global marine area)9 but globally sequester as much carbon as tropical forests (Table 1). Shelf sediment stores are vulnerable to human activities such as trawling, marine mining and oil and gas exploration, and <200 m water depths have the potential to release CO2 into the atmosphere within a year of their disturbance, assuming that the water column is well mixed. The interface between the shelf and land is the location for shallower coastal wetland ecosystems, such as mangrove, tidal marsh and seagrass meadows. Their areal extent is relatively small (<1% of the global area)19,20,21, but they accumulate and store the most carbon per unit area19. Because of their locations and characteristics, they are most vulnerable to anthropogenic disturbance and any CO2 released can be directly emitted into the atmosphere20,22. While there are IPCC guidance for the management of some coastal wetlands ecosystems in national GHG inventories, there is currently a lack of any guidance for regions beyond the coastal zone which would be applicable for management of shelf sea sediments. This is predominantly because of a lack of mapping of the sedimentary environments and the need for further scientific evidence to support the effect of management.

Every year, the primary productivity of coastal plant communities and phytoplankton in surface waters, as well as the delivery of terrestrial organic matter results in seasonally and annually variable flux of carbon to the sea floor in the form of POC3. In cases where there is either restricted transport of carbon inputs by coastal circulation or where continental shelves lie predominantly within the domain of a single country, the carbon can be deposited locally within the jurisdiction of one country. This is the case, for example, on the west coast of the US, the northern Chinese margin seas and Siberian shelf seas. In other cases, depending on the local topography, hydrography and physical characteristics of the water column where the carbon has arrived from or been produced, the carbon can be transported for many hundreds of km and move across national borders where continental shelf areas are shared and along pathways of water circulation and transport. This is the case in the North Sea where UK, Belgian, Dutch, German and Danish borders are all within close proximity of each other, and so water moves rapidly through national waters (Fig. 2). Whether the carbon fractions remain within or move across shared boundaries will also depend on timescales of transport and hydrographic features such as residual currents, stratification and wave events, which dictate surface or near bed transport, or other features such as seasonal jets23,24,25,26,27,28,29. On shelves, residual currents are typically in the order of 10−2 to 10−1 m/s, resulting in transport distances of a few km to a few tens of km per day. Particulate transport becomes different and difficult to predict when hydrodynamic conditions are quiet enough, e.g. at neap tides, or during quiet weather, for POC to settle temporarily to the seabed. A proportion may get buried by physical processes or biological activity, and biologically processed until long-term burial or it is remobilised by an erosion event30,31,32. These different scenarios in the transport rates and bed interaction of POC illustrate that transit times across boundaries can be days to years depending on hydrography (including seasonal and inter annual variability), sedimentology, biogeochemical processes and proximity to boundaries. From a carbon storage and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) point of view, an approach could be to, for a particular case, identify different zones where, in comparison to burial rate, transport of mobile POC (in the water column or as bed-load) is likely to be quick, intermittent, slow or very slow to negligible. Such areas would have different status in terms of the transport of POC generated in situ (or moved in from elsewhere) and hence associated sensitivity to anthropogenic disturbance in the sense of carbon storage.

We focus on the North Sea example to show how challenging accounting for governance and management of carbon stocks in the marine environment can be. However, worldwide, most other shelf seas or continental shelf margins that are bordered by multiple countries present similar challenges.

The fate of carbon is driven by hydrodynamics and sedimentary processes. Throughout their vertical and horizontal transport, different carbon fractions can be remineralised, depending on their resistance to decomposition, the hydrodynamics and the biological communities present. The proportion of each of these sources that is delivered to the sediment, as well as the rate at which they accumulate and are stored, can vary with environmental conditions. In the North Sea, one of the main well-established current patterns carries water and POC anti-clockwise (Fig. 2), from the north-west along the UK and northern European coast to the main location of burial in the deep Norwegian trench11,26,33. Thus, depending on the regional geomorphology and hydrography, carbon removed from the atmosphere in one location (e.g. one specific country territorial sea or EEZ), may be processed during transport, causing the release of CO2, sedimentation of carbon or advection, with the remaining carbon being ultimately stored in a different location (e.g. another specific country EEZ). All shelf sea systems are important stores of organic carbon, but the sites of storage within these systems varies widely with their different geographic settings18,34,35. Storage of riverine or coastal vegetative material is influenced by shelf width and circulation36. The North Sea is an example of a geological passive margin with a wide shelf. Convergent plate margins (for example Taiwan), by contrast, create narrow shelves where fluvial or coastally derived carbon may be exported off shelf and stored at depths >200 m37.

When organic matter reaches the sea floor as POC, whether produced locally or advected there, it contributes to carbon that has already accumulated there. Some of the organic matter will be fresh and/or easily decomposed, while some will be refractory or older and more resistant to decomposition31,38. Various physical and biological mechanisms lead to the incorporation and eventual burial of the deposited organic carbon30,31,39,40,41. Thus, the amount of carbon stored in marine sediments for significant periods of time depends on the detrital carbon concentration in the water, accumulation rate in the sediment, controls on remineralisation rates and bio-physical pathways within the bed17,42. Direct or indirect disturbances of the seabed or changes in water column conditions can affect many of these processes and thus the overall carbon stock, storage rates and capacity17,30,43,44,45. Anthropogenic activities in the territorial waters of a country containing significant carbon stocks could result in the release of carbon that has been undisturbed for centuries or longer. Such carbon could subsequently be re-deposited locally, transported by currents and deposited elsewhere, or be remineralised, potentially leading to CO2 release into the atmosphere. The likelihood of this release occurring depends on the environmental conditions that generated that stock. The fate of this carbon (i.e. whether it is retained within a nation’s EEZ) will ultimately be controlled by biologically and physically mediated transport processes. Thus, features like fjords may enhance local deposition, submarine canyons may enhance off shelf transport43,46 and strong current flows may enhance long range transport.

To read the full article please follow the link to the Original Source, Nature on the link below

Climate crisis could displace 1.2bn people by 2050, report warns

By SalM on September 11, 2020 in Other News Articles

More than 1 billion people face being displaced within 30 years as the climate crisis and rapid population growth drive an increase in migration with “huge impacts” for both the developing and developed worlds, according to an analysis.

The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), a thinktank that produces annual global terrorism and peace indexes, said 1.2 billion people lived in 31 countries that are not sufficiently resilient to withstand ecological threats.

Nineteen countries facing the highest number of threats, including water and food shortages and greater exposure to natural disasters, are also among the the world’s 40 least peaceful countries, the IEP’s first ecological threat register found.

Many of the countries most at risk from ecological threats, including Nigeria, Angola, Burkina Faso and Uganda, are also predicted to experience significant population increases, the report noted, further driving mass displacements.

“This will have huge social and political impacts, not just in the developing world, but also in the developed, as mass displacement will lead to larger refugee flows to the most developed countries,” Steve Killelea, the institute’s founder, said.

“Ecological threats pose serious challenges to global peace. Over the next 30 years, lack of access to food and water will only increase without urgent global cooperation. In the absence of action, civil unrest, riots and conflict will most likely increase.”

The study uses United Nations and other data to assess 157 countries’ exposure to eight ecological threats, then assesses their capacity to withstand them. It found that 141 countries faced at least one ecological threat by 2050, with sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa the regions facing the largest number.

Some countries, such as India and China, are most threatened by water scarcity, it concluded, while others such as Pakistan, Iran, Kenya, Mozambique and Madagascar face a combination of threats and a growing incapacity to deal with them.

“Lack of resilience will lead to worsening food insecurity and competition over resources, increasing civil unrest and mass displacement,” the report said. It judged Pakistan to be the country with the largest number of people at risk of mass migration, followed by Ethiopia and Iran, adding that in such countries “even small ecological threats and natural disasters could result in mass population displacement”.

Wealthier, more developed regions in Europe and North America face fewer ecological threats and would be better able to cope with them, but most “will not be immune from wider impacts”. The report said 16 countries, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, and Iceland, faced no threat.

The report said that the world had 60% less fresh water available than it did 50 years ago, while demand for food was predicted to rise by 50% by 2050 and natural disasters were only likely to increase in frequency because of the climate crisis, meaning even some stable states would become vulnerable by 2050.

Follow the link displayed below to the original source of the article, The Guardian

United in Science: Climate Change has not stopped for COVID19

By SalM on September 9, 2020 in Other News Articles

New York/Geneva – Climate change has not stopped for COVID19. Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are at record levels and continue to increase. Emissions are heading in the direction of pre-pandemic levels following a temporary decline caused by the lockdown and economic slowdown. The world is set to see its warmest five years on record – in a trend which is likely to continue – and is not on track to meet agreed targets to keep global temperature increase well below 2 °C or at 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.

This is according to a new multi-agency report from leading science organizations, United in Science 2020. It highlights the increasing and irreversible impacts of climate change, which affects glaciers, oceans, nature, economies and human living conditions and is often felt through water-related hazards like drought or flooding. It also documents how COVID-19 has impeded our ability to monitor these changes through the global observing system.

“This has been an unprecedented year for people and planet. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted lives worldwide. At the same time, the heating of our planet and climate disruption has continued apace,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a foreword.

“Never before has it been so clear that we need long-term, inclusive, clean transitions to tackle the climate crisis and achieve sustainable development. We must turn the recovery from the pandemic into a real opportunity to build a better future,” said Mr Guterres, who will present the report on 9 September. “We need science, solidarity and solutions.”

The United in Science 2020 report, the second in a series, is coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), with input from the Global Carbon Project, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, the UN Environment Programme and the UK Met Office. It presents the very latest scientific data and findings related to climate change to inform global policy and action.

“Greenhouse gas concentrations – which are already at their highest levels in 3 million years – have continued to rise. Meanwhile, large swathes of Siberia have seen a prolonged and remarkable heatwave during the first half of 2020, which would have been very unlikely without anthropogenic climate change. And now 2016–2020 is set to be the warmest five-year period on record. This report shows that whilst many aspects of our lives have been disrupted in 2020, climate change has continued unabated,” said WMO Secretary-General, Professor Petteri Taalas.


Greenhouse Gas Concentrations in the Atmosphere (World Meteorological Organization)

Atmospheric CO2 concentrations showed no signs of peaking and have continued to increase to new records. Benchmark stations in the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) network reported COconcentrations above 410 parts per million (ppm) during the first half of 2020, with Mauna Loa (Hawaii) and Cape Grim (Tasmania) at 414.38 ppm and 410.04 ppm, respectively, in July 2020, up from 411.74 ppm and 407.83 ppm in July 2019.

Reductions in emissions of COin 2020 will only slightly impact the rate of increase in the atmospheric concentrations, which are the result of past and current emissions, as well as the very long lifetime of CO2. Sustained reductions in emissions to net zero are necessary to stabilize climate change.

Global Fossil CO2 emissions (Global Carbon Project)

COemissions in 2020 will fall by an estimated 4% to 7% in 2020 due to COVID-19 confinement policies. The exact decline will depend on the continued trajectory of the pandemic and government responses to address it.

During peak lockdown in early April 2020, the daily global fossil COemissions dropped by an unprecedented 17% compared to 2019. Even so, emissions were still equivalent to 2006 levels, highlighting both the steep growth over the past 15 years and the continued dependence on fossil sources for energy.

By early June 2020, global daily fossil COemissions had mostly returned to within 5% (1%–8% range) below 2019 levels, which reached a new record of 36.7 Gigatonnes (Gt) last year, 62% higher than at the start of climate change negotiations in 1990.

Global methane emissions from human activities have continued to increase over the past decade. Current emissions of both COand methane are not compatible with emissions pathways consistent with the targets of the Paris Agreement.

Emissions Gap (UN Environment Programme)

Transformational action can no longer be postponed if the Paris Agreement targets are to be met.

The Emissions Gap Report 2019 showed that the cuts in global emissions required per year from 2020 to 2030 are close to 3% for a 2 °C target and more than 7% per year on average for the 1.5 °C goal of the Paris Agreement.

The Emissions Gap in 2030 is estimated at 12-15 Gigatonnes (Gt) CO2e to limit global warming to below 2 °C. For the 1.5 ° C goal, the gap is estimated at 29-32 Gt CO2e, roughly equivalent to the combined emissions of the six largest emitters.

It is still possible to bridge the emissions gap, but this will require urgent and concerted action by all countries and across all sectors. A substantial part of the short-term potential can be realized through scaling up existing, well-proven policies, for instance on renewables and energy efficiency, low carbon transportation means and a phase out of coal.

Looking beyond the 2030 timeframe, new technological solutions and gradual change in consumption patterns are needed at all levels. Both technically and economically feasible solutions already exist.

State of Global Climate (WMO and UK’s Met Office)

The average global temperature for 2016–2020 is expected to be the warmest on record, about 1.1 °C above 1850-1900, a reference period for temperature change since pre-industrial times and 0.24°C warmer than the global average temperature for 2011-2015.

In the five-year period 2020–2024, the chance of at least one year exceeding 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels is 24%, with a very small chance (3%) of the five-year mean exceeding this level. It is likely (~70% chance) that one or more months during the next five years will be at least 1.5 °C warmer than pre-industrial levels.

In every year between 2016 and 2020, Arctic sea ice extent has been below average. 2016–2019 recorded a greater glacier mass loss than all other past five-year periods since 1950. The rate of global mean sea-level rise increased between 2011–2015 and 2016–2020.

Major impacts have been caused by extreme weather and climate events. A clear fingerprint of human-induced climate change has been identified on many of these extreme events.

The Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)

Human-induced climate change is affecting life-sustaining systems, from the top of the mountains to the depths of the oceans, leading to accelerating sea-level rise, with cascading effects for ecosystems and human security.

This increasingly challenges adaptation and integrated risk management responses.

Ice sheets and glaciers worldwide have lost mass. Between 1979 and 2018, Arctic sea-ice extent has decreased for all months of the year. Increasing wildfire and abrupt permafrost thaw, as well as changes in Arctic and mountain hydrology, have altered the frequency and intensity of ecosystem disturbances.

The global ocean has warmed unabated since 1970 and has taken up more than 90% of the excess heat in the climate system. Since 1993 the rate of ocean warming, and thus heat uptake has more than doubled. Marine heatwaves have doubled in frequency and have become longer-lasting, more intense and more extensive, resulting in large-scale coral bleaching events. The ocean has absorbed between 20% to 30% of total anthropogenic COemissions since the 1980s causing further ocean acidification.

Since about 1950 many marine species have undergone shifts in geographical range and seasonal activities in response to ocean warming, sea-ice change and oxygen loss.

Global mean sea-level is rising, with acceleration in recent decades due to increasing rates of ice loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, as well as continued glacier mass loss and ocean thermal expansion. The rate of global mean sea-level rise for 2006–2015 of 3.6 ±0.5 mm/yr is unprecedented over the last century

Climate and Water Resources (WMO)

Climate change impacts are most felt through changing hydrological conditions including changes in snow and ice dynamics.

By 2050, the number of people at risk of floods will increase from its current level of 1.2 billion to 1.6 billion. In the early to mid-2010s, 1.9 billion people, or 27% of the global population, lived in potential severely water-scarce areas. In 2050, this number will increase to 2.7 to 3.2 billion people.

As of 2019, 12% of the world population drinks water from unimproved and unsafe sources. More than 30% of the world population, or 2.4 billion people, live without any form of sanitation.

Climate change is projected to increase the number of water-stressed regions and exacerbate shortages in already water-stressed regions.

The cryosphere is an important source of freshwater in mountains and their downstream regions. There is high confidence that annual runoff from glaciers will reach peak globally at the latest by the end of the 21st century. After that, glacier runoff is projected to decline globally with implications for water storage.

It is estimated that Central Europe and Caucasus have reached peak water now, and that the Tibetan Plateau region will reach peak water between 2030 and 2050. As runoff from snow cover, permafrost and glaciers in this region provides up to 45% of the total river flow, the flow decrease would affect water availability for 1.7 billion people.

Earth System Observations during COVID-19 (Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO and WMO)

The COVID-19 pandemic has produced significant impacts on the global observing systems, which in turn have affected the quality of forecasts and other weather, climate and ocean-related services.

The reduction of aircraft-based observations by an average of 75% to 80% in March and April degraded the forecast skills of weather models. Since June, there has been only a slight recovery. Observations at manually operated weather stations, especially in Africa and South America, have also been badly disrupted.

For hydrological observations like river discharge, the situation is similar to that of atmospheric in situ measurements. Automated systems continue to deliver data whereas gauging stations that depend on manual reading are affected.

In March 2020, nearly all oceanographic research vessels were recalled to home ports. Commercial ships have been unable to contribute vital ocean and weather observations, and ocean buoys and other systems could not be maintained. Four full-depth ocean surveys of variables such as carbon, temperature, salinity, and water alkalinity, completed only once per decade, have been cancelled. Surface carbon measurements from ships, which tell us about the evolution of greenhouse gases, also effectively ceased.

The impacts on climate change monitoring are long-term. They are likely to prevent or restrict measurement campaigns for the mass balance of glaciers or the thickness of permafrost, usually conducted at the end of the thawing period. The overall disruption of observations will introduce gaps in the historical time series of Essential Climate Variables needed to monitor climate variability and change and associated impacts.

This report has been taken from World Meteorological Organization’s website. Follow the link below to the original article

The Spread and Impact of Marine Structures

By SalM on September 9, 2020 in Other News Articles

More than 32,000 square kilometres of the world’s marine environment has been modified by human construction and this is likely to reach nearly 40,000 by 2028, according to a new global assessment.

When flow-on effects in surrounding areas are included, the footprint is actually two million square kilometres, or more than 0.5% of the total marine area. Development mostly occurs near coasts, which are the most biodiverse and biologically productive environments.

The area directly affected is greater than the global area of some natural marine habitats, such as mangrove forests and seagrass beds, the researchers write in a paper in the journal Nature Sustainability.

And just to underline the complexity of the problem, some of the modification is caused by initiatives designed to help the environment, such as wind farms.

“The proliferation of marine built structures shown here provides a suite of ecological, social and economic benefits – for example, the expansion of renewable sources of energy in the oceans can minimise greenhouse gas emissions,” the authors write.

“In addition, energy extraction infrastructure may sometimes serve to benefit sensitive habitats due to the fishing exclusion zones set up around them and even act as focal points for restoration activities.

“Nevertheless, all marine construction replaces natural habitats and can modify environmental conditions critical to habitat persistence at regional scales.”

The research was led by Ana Bugnot from the Sydney Institute of Marine Science and brought together scientists from Australia, Italy, the US and the UK.

They gathered data and made calculations to estimate the physical footprint and area of seascape modification around marine construction as of 2018, including future trends.

This included 11 categories of activity: gas and oil rigs, subsea pipelines, wind farms, wave and tidal farms, telecommunication cables, aquaculture, commercial ports, tunnels and bridges, breakwaters, recreational marinas, and artificial reefs.

“The numbers are alarming,” Bugnot says. “For example, infrastructure for power and aquaculture, including cables and tunnels, is projected to increase by 50 to 70% by 2028, yet this is an underestimate. There is a dearth of information on ocean development, due to poor regulation of this in many parts of the world.”

This is not a new thing, of course. As the paper acknowledges, humans have been building marine infrastructure to support marine traffic for 4000 years.

But things have “ramped up” since the middle of last century, Bugot says, with both positive and negative results.

“For example, while artificial reefs have been used as ‘sacrificial habitat’ to drive tourism and deter fishing, this infrastructure can also impact sensitive natural habitats like seagrasses, mudflats and saltmarshes, consequently affecting water quality.”

Land reclamation is an emerging trend, with the researchers identifying 479 human-made islands in marine environments worldwide, with some now moving into deeper waters up to 500 kilometres offshore.

Others are built in groups, including The World (United Arab Emirates, 300 islands) and the Fortress Islands (Russia, 19 islands).

“Ongoing demands for space to accommodate an increasing coastal population and the need for ‘designer islands’ to host climate refugees means that land reclamation will continue to spread and occupy a substantial extension of the marine environment,with many associated impacts,” the report says.

The researchers say their study is the first to quantify the extent of human impact.

Because of the difficulty of accurately mapping structures, to date “the most complete assessments of anthropogenic impacts on the oceans and ocean health have relied upon proxies for marine construction, such as human population density, mariculture production and night light intensity from oil and gas platforms”, they write.

This article has been taken from the Cosmos Magazine webpage. Follow the link below to the original article

Marine Protected Areas and Climate Change

By SalM on September 3, 2020 in Other News Articles

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are areas of the ocean set aside for long-term conservation aims. MPAs support climate change adaptation and mitigation while providing other ecosystem services. Currently, 6.35% of the ocean is protected, but only just over 1.89% is covered by exclusively no-take MPAs. Most existing MPAs do not have enough human and financial resources to properly implement conservation and management measures. Increased political commitments can help boost the governance of and resources available to MPAs.

What is the issue?

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) – areas of the ocean set aside for long-term conservation aims – are the only mainstream conservation-focused, area-based measure to increase the quality and extent of ocean protection. MPAs and their network offer nature-based solution to support global efforts towards climate change adaptation and mitigation.

MPAs – such as Cook Islands Marine Park and Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the US – currently cover about 6.35% of the ocean. However only just over 1.89% of that area is covered by exclusively no-take MPAs that do not allow any fishing, mining, drilling, or other extractive activities. This is far from the commitments of States made in relation to the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Aichi Target 11 of 10% MPA coverage by 2020, and even further from the recommendations made at the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 that at least 30% no-take MPA coverage worldwide is needed.

Most existing MPAs do not have enough human and financial resources to properly implement conservation and management measures. Added to this critical situation is a spatial disparity: seven countries have established around 80% of the surface of the MPAs in the ocean. The high seas, covering over half the Earth, still lack a framework through which MPAs can be established.

Lack of strictly and permanently protected MPAs limits our ability to support climate change adaptation and mitigation. However, to reduce the overall climate change impacts on oceans, such as ocean warming, substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are still urgently needed.

Why is it important?

Establishing MPA networks is critical to maintaining climate change resilience and rebuilding ecological and social resilience. For example, MPAs that protect coastal habitats such as barrier islands, coral reefs, mangroves and wetlands reduce human vulnerability in the face of climate change and provide the natural infrastructure (e.g. storm protection) on which people rely.

Strictly protected MPA networks in coastal carbon habitats (mangroves, seagrasses, salt marshes) can ensure that no new emissions arise from the loss and degradation of these areas. At the same time, they stimulate new carbon sequestration through the restoration of degraded coastal habitats.

MPAs, while not impervious to all climate change impacts, provide areas of reduced stress, improving the ability of marine organisms to adapt to climate change. Well-integrated MPA networks can increase species survival by allowing them to move around and escape certain pressures. In addition, MPAs, where stressors are controlled, can be used as sentinel (research) sites to help track the effects of climate change. This is consistent with the research and systematic observation obligations of countries under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and other international agreements.

What can be done?

Measures to address the current impacts of climate change on the ocean include significantly cutting emissions, upscaling proper protection for marine ecosystems to retain resistance, and rebuild resilience, as well as implementing sustainable practices for all industries and uses across the ocean.

Coastal states are well-positioned to make use of MPAs for ecosystem-based adaptation and mitigation as a ‘no-regret’ climate change strategy. Processes such as Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) can be used by countries to improve the management of MPAs and help meet multiple objectives, including sustainable development, biodiversity conservation as well as climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Adaptation strategies, including National Adaptation Plans and Programmes of Action, as well as mitigation efforts such as REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement, provide opportunities to use MPAs as an implementation tool for ecosystem-based adaptation and mitigation.

Climate finance mechanisms enable increased support for the implementation of marine and coastal ecosystem-based adaptation and mitigation. For example, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) offers an opportunity for developing countries to receive support for mitigation and adaptation efforts, with a focus on biodiversity conservation and protected area management.

Coastal ecosystem protection can benefit from the Poznan Strategic Program on Technology Transfer, implemented by the Global Environment Facility, and the work of the UNFCCC’s Technology Mechanism.

Increased political commitments at different levels (national, regional and international) can help boost the governance of and resources available to MPA programmes. This can ensure that MPAs are effective and sufficient in number to fulfill their potential as a key tool for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Ahead lies the challenge to revise the global MPA strategy and emphasise the strong linkages between climate, sustainability and biodiversity efforts, through existing international regimes such as the UNFCCC and CBD. A new agenda for building a truly representative, consistent and resilient MPA network to face both climate change and the loss of biodiversity would be highly beneficial.

This article has been taken from the IUCN Website. Follow the link posted below to the original source