Warming world, changing ocean: adaptation and mitigation for resilient marine systems

Rowan Trebilco1, Amelie Meyer2, Jess Melbourne-Thomas1, Phillipa C McCormack3, Aysha Fleming4, Jan McDonald3, Hannah Fogarty5, Emily Ogier5, Jeffrey McGee3, Stuart Paul Corney5, Kimberley Norris6, Narissa Bax5, Kelli Anderson5, Camilla Novaglio1, Kirsty L. Nash7, Karen Alexander7, Gretta Pecl7 and Alistair J Hobday1, (1)CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Hobart, TAS, Australia, (2)University of Tasmania, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, Hobart, TAS, Australia, (3)University of Tasmania, Faculty of Law, Hobart, TAS, Australia, (4)CSIRO Land and Water, Hobart, TAS, Australia, (5)University of Tasmania, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, Hobart, TAS, Australia, (6)University of Tasmania, Division of Psychology, School of Medicine, Hobart, TAS, Australia, (7)University of Tasmania, Centre for Marine Socioecology, Hobart, TAS, Australia
"Future Seas" is an initiative, hosted by the Centre for Marine Socioecology at the University of Tasmania, to develop a series of journal articles each addressing key challenges for the UN Ocean Sciences Decade. These papers use a strategic technique called ‘foresighting’ to develop interdisciplinary, evidence-informed, plausible scenarios of the future by 2030, for each of the key challenges. The scenarios include what the future would look like if current trends continue, and also alternative futures if we more effectively used the data and knowledge currently available to us, and pushed as far as possible towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We then use ‘back- casting’ (i.e. working backwards from the desirable future) to generate a tangible plan for possible actions to undertake at local, regional and global scales, if society chose to work towards the future more in line with the UN SDGs.

Here, we provide a general overview of the Future Seas initiative, then unpack the example challenge of " Warming world, changing ocean: adaptation and mitigation for resilient marine systems ". For this challenge, major axes of change that differentiate between the business as usual trajectory vs. the optimistic, sustainable and technically achievable future include: (i) societal appetite for change and proactive interventions; (ii) strategies adopted for dealing with increasing frequency and intensity of extreme events; and (iii) the scope and scale of interventions. We discuss the set of actions from local to international scales that could navigate to the sustainable future, helping to achieve "the ocean we need for the future we want."