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Major threats foreseen due to Europe's changing marine environments

e River and Britain's Humber River, "the increasing dominance of marine Vibrios, including pathogenic bacterial species, may very likely occur in other areas around the world."

Says the paper: "We provide evidence that Vibrios, including the (cholera) species, increased in dominance within the plankton-associated bacterial community of the North Sea during the past 44 years and that this increase is correlated significantly with climate induced sea surface warming during the same period. ... Ocean warming is favouring the spread of Vibrios."

Property damage

Sea level rise, combined with higher waves being recorded in the North Atlantic and more frequent and severe storms, threaten up to 1 trillion Euros worth of Europe's physical assets within 500 m of the shore. And some 35% of Europe's GDP is generated within 50 km, the synthesis notes.

"Sea-level rise of 80 to 200 cm could wipe out entire countries ... causing sea floods, massive economic damage, large movements of populations from inundated areas, salinity intrusion and loss of wetlands including the ecosystem services that they provide."

More frequent and intense storms, meanwhile, are projected for Northern Europe, especially in a band running from the south of England through northern France, Denmark, northern Germany and Eastern Europe. Annual damages are expected to rise 21% in the UK, 37% in Germany and 44% across Europe as a whole, with a 104% rise in losses from 1-in-100 year storms.

Smaller fisheries and northward fish migrations

The CLAMER synthesis suggests the need for Europe's commercial fishery to reduce catches in places and make adjustments in others due to warming water, ocean acidification, and altered salinity and oxygen content.

"Some of the biggest [changes] will be required in Europe's seas, where temperatures are rising faster than the open North Atlantic," according to one research paper in the CLAM

Contact: Terry Collins
Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ)

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