Monitoring and reporting on past and present marine environmental conditions is essential to predict the changes of Earth’s climate, to understand the response of the oceans to climate change and other stressors and consequently to establish effective policy at global level. This side event highlights the critical need for an integrated, fit-for-purpose and globally coherent ocean observing and information system to meet the Agenda 2030 targets for Sustainable Ocean Development, a key asset in taking action against climate change and its impact. It intends also to provide a clear depiction and concrete illustrations of the benefits brought by EU commitments to address climate change challenges such as they are faced e.g. in Fiji and its Outermost Islands.
This year’s United Nations Climate Conference (COP23) is particularly significant for the Copernicus Marine Service as there are 2 days dedicated to the ocean, because it inextricably linked to the Earth’s climate and overall health. There is growing recognition that the ocean bears the brunt of many of the effects of climate change and pollution, as it serves to absorb massive quantities of heat and CO2, making it key to mitigating the effects of climate change and also a frontline victim of it. November 10th is the EU Ocean Day, will have a day dedicate to the oceans. The EU programme of the side event can be found here. This will feed the discussions for the next day, of the conference (November 11th), which serves as an ocean action day.
The Copernicus Marine Service with 4 other partners Mercator Ocean, ECMWF, Atlantos, Geomar convene a side event on the 10th : “oceans and climate and the role of science I : marine information, data and information systems”. This event highlight the huge role of marine observation to understand the response of oceans to climate change and to establish effective and targeted policy action. Through the development of new mission and projects, the EU contributes to improving our knowledge of the marine environment, fostering Blue Growth and the sustainable management of oceans and seas. This session will provide concrete examples where EU funded products and services helped to protect citizens in the face of crises and natural or man-made disaster and to address climate challenges.
COP23 is presided over by Fiji. The first three days (10-12 November) will showcase action through 8 main themes; namely Energy, Water, Agriculture, Oceans & Coastal Zones, Human Settlements, Transport, Industry and Forests. The themes of agriculture, transport and many other fields will be explored and there will be a wide selection of speakers from, from Arnold Schwarzenegger to the astronaut Thomas Pesquet.
Two years after the landmark adoption of the Paris Climate Change Agreement by 196 countries, COP23 aims to put the world on a safer and more prosperous development path. “We are running out of time to turn things around. To do so, we must significantly increase our efforts to reduce emissions and our carbon footprints,” said the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Patricia Espinosa (source:reliefweb). The conference is held in the wake of a string extreme weather events that have devastated areas in Asia, the Americas and the Caribbean. Few days ago, WMO published data showing that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide increased at a record pace in 2016, reaching the highest for 800,000 years. Espinosa goes on to call COP23 “…an opportunity to not only accelerate emission reductions but also boost the serious work of ensuring that the management of climate risk is integrated into disaster risk management as a whole.”
Details on the Copernicus Marine Service COP23 Side Event:
Title of the side event: Ocean and Climate: The role of marine data and information mitigating climate challenges
Content of the side event: Through the development of Copernicus Sentinel missions, the Copernicus Marine Service, the Copernicus Climate Change Service as well as the support of the Horizon 2020 project AtlantOS, and other suchlike projects, the European Union contributes tremendously to improving our understanding of the marine environment, fostering Blue Growth and the sustainable management of our oceans and seas, supporting international governance and understanding the ocean-climate nexus.
Alliances of established global, regional, and thematic observing networks are already working in partnership to develop and exploit sustained observations and create information services in support of the SDG 14 goals and more specifically to protect citizens in the face of crises and natural or man-made disasters.
The side event is conceived as a dialogue between government representatives and key users/stakeholders of marine data and information products, and ocean data and information producers.
The main objective of the side event is:
- To strengthen alliances for global ocean observation and their integration in ocean analysis and forecasting models and to advance further our ability to understand the role of the ocean on climate change and to assess the impact on climate change on the oceans,
- To respond to the ocean information needs to support ocean governance, Blue Growth, ocean health, and climate change adaptation by integrated ocean observations, products and information services,
- To reflect how the international, regional, and national initiatives addressed major SDG 14 targets so far, what is planned for the short and long-term future, and how the strong EU commitment increased the development of alliances bridging from science to services,
- To highlight the climate change challenges of the Small Island Development States (SIDS) by taking Fiji and its Outermost Islands as an example.
Existing and emerging ocean observing networks of different scales presently contribute to a coordinated global ocean observation and information system. However, a greater contribution in support of SDG 14, could be achieved with a more integrated, international, sustainable, systematic and fit-for purpose observing and information system which would particularly support the SIDS. One of the best ways to achieve this is to enhance cooperation, efficiency and capability of all ocean observing systems in support to operational information system.
A more integrated global ocean observation and information system has the potential to improve the quality, quantity, and accessibility of ocean observations and information. It will provide a platform to deliver issue-specific information services, baseline data for key indicators and relevant information for ocean economic activities and ocean protection measures, thus supporting the realization of many blue-green growth opportunities and the SDG14 tasks.
Side event format: 6 short presentations will be given to set the frame for the identified objectives, the presentation round will be followed by a panel discussion and interaction with the audience.
1) Climate change impacts in Fiji and other islands in the South Pacific
Ms. HILDA HEINE, President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands
Ms. ELISABETH HOLLAND, Professor of Climate Change, Pacific Center for Environment and Sustainable Development, University of the South Pacific, Fiji – Climate change impacts on the South Pacific islands.
2) Global Ocean Observation Systems: Successful cooperation at international, regional and national levels
MS. CECILIE MAURITZEN, Senior Scientist, Research and Development Department, Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Norway – User needs: The scientific view versus public sector requirements.
MR. TOSTE TANHUA, Senior scientist, GEOMAR, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, GOOS panel chair, Germany – Enhancing and optimizing Ocean Observation to increase the societal benefit.
3) European Information Services: Copernicus products and services in response to climate change challenges
MR. JEAN-NOËL THÉPAUT, Head of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), United Kingdom – Sea level rise, warmer temperatures, shrinking sea-ice – the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) is monitoring this and more.
MS. KARINA VON SCHUCKMANN, Oceanographer, Mercator Ocean, France – The oceans’ fundamental role as Earth system regulator: Ocean climate monitoring from the Copernicus Marine Service.
MS. ANN-KATRIEN LESCRAUWAET, International Liaison Officer, Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), Belgium – European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet): our Gateway to Marine Data in Europe.
Scene setter a,d moderator: MR PROF. DR. MARTIN VISBEK, Head of the Research Unit for Physical Oceanography, GEOMAR – Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany