EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Causes and consequences of Southern Ocean change: the IPCC SROCC assessment

Michael Meredith1, Martin Sommerkorn2, Sandra Cassotta3, Chris Derksen4, Alexey Ekaykin5, Anne Hollowed6, Gary Kofinas7, Andrew Mackintosh8, Jess Melbourne-Thomas9, Monica Muelbert10, Geir Ottersen11, Hamish Pritchard1, Ted Schuur12, Andrew Meijers1, Andrew Hogg13, Robert Hallberg14, Alessandro Tagliabue15, Shengping He16, and Victoria Peck1
Michael Meredith et al.
  • 1British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (
  • 2WWF, Oslo, Norway
  • 3Aalborg University, Denmark
  • 4Environment and Climate Change Canada, Climate Research Division, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 5Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, Climate and Environment Research Laboratory, St Petersburg, Russia
  • 6NOAA, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, WA, United States
  • 7University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, United States
  • 8Monash University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  • 9CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Hobart, TAS, Australia
  • 10Federal University of Rio Grande, Brazil
  • 11Institute of Marine Research, Norway
  • 12Northern Arizona University, Center for Ecosystem Science and Society, Flagstaff, AZ, United States
  • 13Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
  • 14NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey, United States
  • 15University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
  • 16Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway

Climate change in the polar regions exerts a profound influence both locally and over all of our planet.  Physical and ecosystem changes influence societies and economies, via factors that include food provision, transport and access to non-renewable resources.  Sea level, global climate and potentially mid-latitude weather are influenced by the changing polar regions, through coupled feedback processes, sea ice changes and the melting of snow and land-based ice sheets and glaciers.

Reflecting this importance, the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) features a chapter highlighting past, ongoing and future change in the polar regions, the impacts of these changes, and the possible options for response.  The role of the polar oceans, both in determining the changes and impacts in the polar regions and in structuring the global influence, is an important component of this chapter.

With emphasis on the Southern Ocean and through comparison with the Arctic, this talk will outline key findings from the polar regions chapter of SROCC. It will synthesise the latest information on the rates, patterns and causes of changes in sea ice, ocean circulation and properties. It will assess cryospheric driving of ocean change from ice sheets, ice shelves and glaciers, and the role of the oceans in determining the past and future evolutions of polar land-based ice. The implications of these changes for climate, ecosystems, sea level and the global system will be outlined.

How to cite: Meredith, M., Sommerkorn, M., Cassotta, S., Derksen, C., Ekaykin, A., Hollowed, A., Kofinas, G., Mackintosh, A., Melbourne-Thomas, J., Muelbert, M., Ottersen, G., Pritchard, H., Schuur, T., Meijers, A., Hogg, A., Hallberg, R., Tagliabue, A., He, S., and Peck, V.: Causes and consequences of Southern Ocean change: the IPCC SROCC assessment, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-164,, 2019

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