Four-fifths of the world’s marine ecosystems will be irreversibly damaged by 2050 if no immediate action is taken, a new study concludes. Researchers ran simulations to determine the effect of climate change on the main stressors of the ocean’s ecosystems—such as pH, temperature, oxygen concentration and food availability. If conditions remain as they are, in only 30 years these stressors will exceed natural variability in the majority of the planet’s ocean waters. The team also ran simulations under a mitigation scenario; their findings showed that, if immediate action is taken, the percentage of the world’s ocean affected by climate change-related stressors would be significantly reduced.


Stephanie A. Henson, Claudie Beaulieu, Tatiana Ilyina, Jasmin G. John, Matthew Long, Roland Séférian, Jerry Tjiputra & Jorge L. Sarmiento

Corresponding author:

Stephanie Henson, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK, Email:

Original paper published Nature Communication on March 7, 2017.