Tipping Elements in the Arctic Marine Ecosystem
The Arctic marine ecosystem contains multiple elements that present alternative states. The most obvious of which is an Arctic Ocean largely covered by an ice sheet in summer versus one largely devoid of such cover. Ecosystems under pressure typically shift between such alternative states in an abrupt, rather than smooth manner, with the level of forcing required for shifting this status termed threshold or tipping point. Loss of Arctic ice due to anthropogenic climate change is accelerating, with the extent of Arctic sea ice displaying increased variance at present, a leading indicator of the proximity of a possible tipping point. Reduced ice extent is expected, in turn, to trigger a number of additional tipping elements, physical, chemical, and biological, in motion, with potentially large impacts on the Arctic marine ecosystem.
KeywordsArctic Tipping points Ecosystem Non-linearity Ice Plankton
This is a contribution to the Arctic Tipping Points project (www.eu-atp.org) funded by FP7 of the European Union (contract #226248).
- ACIA. 2004. Impacts of a warming Arctic: Arctic climate impact and assessment, ed. S.J. Hassol. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Carstens, J., and A. Weydmann. 2012. Tipping points in the Arctic: Eyeballing or statistical significance. In The Arctic in the earth system perspective: The role of tipping points, ed. P. Wassmann, and T.M. Lenton. Ambio. doi: 10.1007/s13280-011-0223-8.
- Chapin III, F.S., T.V. Callaghan, Y. Bergeron, M. Fukuda, J.F. Johnstone, G. Juday, and S.A. Zimov. 2004. Global change and the boreal forest: Thresholds, shifting states or gradual change? Ambio 33: 361–365.Google Scholar
- Dayton, P.K. 1985. Ecology of kelp communities. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 69: 219–250.Google Scholar
- Dunbar, M.J. 1953. Arctic and subarctic marine ecology: Immediate problems. Arctic 6: 75–90.Google Scholar
- Fetterer, F., K. Knowles, W. Meier, and M. Savoie. 2002, updated 2009. Sea ice index. Boulder: National Snow and Ice Data Center. Digitalmedia. nsidc.org. Accessed August 5, 2011.
- Lenton, T.M. 2012. Arctic climate tipping points. In The Arctic in the earth system perspective: The role of tipping points, ed. P. Wassmann, and T.M. Lenton. Ambio. doi: 10.1007/s13280-011-0221-x.
- Mann, K.H. 1977. Destruction of kelp-beds by sea-urchins: A cyclical phenomenon or irreversible degradation? Helgoland Marine Research 30: 455–467.Google Scholar
- Regaudie-de-Gioux, A., and C. M. Duarte. 2011. Temperature dependence of planktonic metabolism in the ocean. Global Biogeochemical Cycles (submitted).Google Scholar
- Renaud, P.E., M. L. Carroll, and W. G. Ambrose Jr. 2008. Effects of global warming on Arctic sea-floor communities and its consequences for higher trophic levels. In Impacts of global warming on polar ecosystems, ed. C.M. Duarte, 139–175. Madrid: Fundación BBVA.Google Scholar
- Smith, J.B., S.H. Schneiber, M. Oppenheimer, G.W. Yohe, W. Hare, M.D. Mastrandea, A. Patwardhan, I. Burthon, et al. 2009. Assessing dangerous climate change through an update of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “reasons for concern”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106: 4133–4137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Soja, A.J., N.M. Tchebakova, N.H.F. French, M.D. Flannigan, H.H. Shugart, B.J. Stocks, A.I. Sukhinin, E.I. Parfenova, F.S. Chapin III, and P. W. Stackhouse Jr. 2007. Climate-induced boreal forest change: Predictions versus current observations. Global and Planetary Change 56: 274–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Stewart, E.J., D. Draper, and M.E. Johnston. 2005. A review of tourism research in the polar regions. Arctic 58: 383–394.Google Scholar
- Taalas, P., E. Kyrö, T. Jokela, T. Koskela, K. Leszczynski, M. Rummukainen, J. Damski, and A. Supperi. 1996. Stratospheric ozone depletion and solar UV radiation in the Arctic and its potential impact on human health in Finland. Geophysica 32: 127–165.Google Scholar
- Trenberth, K.E., P.D. Jones, P. Ambenje, R. Bojariu, D. Easterling, A. K. Tank, D. Parker, F. Rahimzadeh et al. 2007. Observations: surface and atmospheric climate change. In Climate change 2007: The physical science basis. Contribution of working group I to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change, ed. S. Solomon, D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M. Tignor, and H.L. Miller. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Turetsky, M. R., R.K. Wieder, L.A. Halsey, and D.H. Vitt. 2002. Current disturbance and the diminishing peatland carbon sink. Geophysical Research Letters 29. doi: 10.1029/2001GL014000.
- United States Arctic Research Commission. 2001. The Arctic Ocean and climate change: A scenario for the US navy. Arlington: US office for Navel Research.Google Scholar
- Vaquer-Sunyer, R., C.M. Duarte, P. Wassmann, R. Santiago, and M. Reigstad. 2010. Experimental evaluation of planktonic respiration response to warming in the European Arctic Sector. Polar Biology. doi: 10.1007/s00300-010-0788-x .
- Wadhams, P. 2012. Ice cover, ice thickness and tipping points. In The Arctic in the earth system perspective: the role of tipping points, ed. P. Wassmann, T.M. Lenton. Ambio. doi: 10.1007/s13280-011-0222-9.
- Wassmann, P. 2008. Impacts of global warming on Arctic pelagic ecosystems and processes. In Impacts of global warming on polar ecosystems, ed. C.M. Duarte, 111–138, Madrid: Fundación BBVA.Google Scholar
- Wiencke, C., I. Gómez, H. Pakker, A. Flores-Moya, M. Altamirano, D. Hanelt, K. Bischof, and F.L. Figueroa. 2000. Impact of UV-radiation on viability, photosynthetic characteristics and DNA of brown algal zoospores: Implications for depth zonation. Marine Ecology Progress Series 197: 217–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Yurganov, L., V. Rakitin, A. Dzhola, T. August, E. Fokeeva, G. Gorchakov, E. Grechko, S. Hannon, A. Karpov, L. Ott, E. Semutnikova, R. Shumsky, and L. Strow. 2011. Satellite- and ground-based CO2 total column observations over 2010 Russian fires: Accuracy of top-down estimates based on thermal IR satellite data. Atmospheric Chemistry Physics Discussions 11: 12207–12250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar