Potential Future Coral Habitats Around Japan Depend Strongly on Anthropogenic CO2 Emissions
Using the results from the NCAR CSM1.4-coupled global carbon cycle–climate model under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) emission scenarios SRES A2 and B1, we estimated the effects of both global warming and ocean acidification on the future habitats of corals in the seas around Japan during this century. As shown by Yara et al. (Biogeosciences 9:4955–4968, 2012), under the high-CO2-emission scenario (SRES A2), coral habitats will be sandwiched and narrowed between the northern region, where the saturation state of the carbonate mineral aragonite (Ωarag) decreases, and the southern region, where coral bleaching occurs. We found that under the low-emission scenario SRES B1, the coral habitats will also shrink in the northern region by the reduced Ωarag but to a lesser extent than under SRES A2, and in contrast to SRES A2, no bleaching will occur in the southern region. Therefore, coral habitats in the southern region are expected to be largely unaffected by ocean acidification or surface warming under the low-emission scenario. Our results show that potential future coral habitats depend strongly on CO2 emissions and emphasize the importance of reducing CO2 emissions to prevent negative impacts on coral habitats.
KeywordsCO2 emission scenarios Climate change Global warming Ocean acidification Coral Japan
We thank D. Loher for providing the interpolated GLODAP/observational fields. Y. Yara and H. Y. acknowledge funding by the Strategic Research and Development Project (S-9) of the Ministry of the Environment, Japan. H. Y., M. F., and Y. Yamanaka acknowledge support under the auspices of the “Precise Impact Assessments on Climate Change” of the Program for Risk Information on Climate Change (SOUSEI Program) supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology of Japan (MEXT). M. S. acknowledges the support of the Swiss National Science Foundation and the “European Project on Ocean Acidification,” EPOCA (211384), and the European Project CARBOCHANGE (264879), which both receive funding from the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/20072013). M. V. and N. G. acknowledge funding from ETH Zurich.
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