Living with a changing Ocean

1. Warming world, changing ocean

adaptation and mitigation for resilient marine systems


Proactive and coordinated action to mitigate and adapt to climate change will be essential for achieving the healthy, resilient, safe, sustainably harvested and biodiverse ocean that the UN Decade of Ocean Science and sustainable development goals (SDGs) seek. Ocean-based mitigation actions could contribute 12% of the emissions reductions required by 2030 to keep warming to less than 1.5 °C but, because substantial warming is already locked in, extensive adaptation action is also needed. Here, as part of the Future Seas project, we use a ‘‘foresighting/ hindcasting’’ technique to describe two scenarios for 2030 in the context of climate change mitigation and adaptation for ocean systems. The ‘‘business-asusual’’ future is expected if current trends continue, while an alternative future could be realised if society were to effectively use available data and knowledge to push as far as possible towards achieving the UN SDGs. We identify three drivers that differentiate between these alternative futures: (i) appetite for climate action, (ii) handling extreme events, and (iii) climate interventions. Actions that could navigate towards the optimistic, sustainable and technically achievable future include: (i) proactive creation and enhancement of economic incentives for mitigation and adaptation; (ii) supporting the proliferation of local initiatives to spur a global transformation; (iii) enhancing proactive coastal adaptation management; (iv) investing in research to support adaptation to emerging risks; (v) deploying marine-based renewable energy; (vi) deploying marine-based negative emissions technologies; (vii) developing and assessing solar radiation management approaches; and (viii) deploying appropriate solar radiation management approaches to help safeguard critical ecosystems.


Lead Investigators


Dr Rowan Trebilco

CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere / Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies / CMS


Alistair Hobday

Dr Alistair Hobday

CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere / CMS


Meet our fellow team members who contribute to the success of this project.

Amelie Meyer

ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes / Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies

Aysha Fleming

CSIRO Land and Water / University of Tasmania / CMS

Hannah Fogarty

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies / CMS

Jan McDonald

School of Law, University of Tasmania / CMS

Kimberley Norris

School of Psychological Sciences, University of Tasmania

Leo Dutra

CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere / Centre for Marine Socioecology / School of Marine Studies, The University of the South Pacific

Phillipa McCormack

School of Law, University of Tasmania / CMS

Emily Ogier

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies / CMS

Gretta Pecl

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies / CMS

Narissa Bax

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies / CMS

Stuart Corney

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies / CMS

Kelli Anderson

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania

Jeff McGee

School of Law / Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies / CMS

Jess Melbourne-Thomas

CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere / CMS

Andrew Constable

Australian Antarctic Division / CMS

Tero Mustonen

Snowchange Cooperative, Finland.
Kaisu Mustonen

Kaisu Mustonen

Snow Change Cooperative, Finland

future seas

FUTURE SEAS is a unique collaboration , spear-headed by the Centre for Marine Socioecology, of over 100 researchers from the University of Tasmania (UTAS), the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and other institutions
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