Climate Vulnerability Assessment


Climate-related changes in ocean ecosystems are affecting the nation’s marine species and the people, businesses, and communities that depend on them. Warming oceans, rising seas, and ocean acidification are affecting marine life and also disrupting fisheries and local economies. These impacts are expected to increase with continued changes in the planet’s climate system. To help reduce impacts and increase the resilience of marine resources, we are assessing the vulnerability of fish species to changing climate and ocean conditions.

Our method uses information on species’ life histories, species’ distributions, and projected future climate and ocean conditions to estimate vulnerability—specifically, how climate-related changes could affect fish species’ abundance, and to some extent their distribution. The results are intended to guide research on possible climate impacts on fish species or stocks and help fisheries decision-makers consider how to prepare for and respond to climate-related changes.

Currently, the Northeast Vulnerability Assessment is complete with other regions to follow in 2018.


Infographic illustrating the methodology scientists use for the Climate Vulnerability Assessment.

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