Marine Ecological Climate Services: user-driven forecasts of life in the Ocean

Dr Mark Payne1

1Technical University Of Denmark (DTU), Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark

A unique but rarely appreciated characteristic of the Ocean is its high predictability: today it is possible to reliably forecast the physical state of the Ocean months, years and even a decade or more into the future. If these physical forecasts can be translated into ecological forecasts, they can potentially be of great value to society, as these are the time-scales where many important decisions are made by individuals and businesses. Here I review the rapidly emerging field of “marine ecological climate services”, which aims to bridge the gap between climate predictions and the near-term ecological information needed by decision-makers. I first examine existing ecological forecasts globally to identify the conditions where such systems have been successfully developed. I then identify the key lessons from these products and illustrate how to apply them using examples from my own work in European waters, including skillful 10-year forecasts of the distribution of key pelagic fish. Ensuring the usefulness of these forecast products requires close collaboration between actively engaged end-users and researchers and I discuss the importance of co-development. Finally, I look at future opportunities, approaches and applications.


Mark R. Payne is a Senior Researcher at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU-Aqua) in Copenhagen, Denmark, whose research examines the impacts of climate change and climate variability on life in the ocean. His work is pioneering the development of Climate Services for monitoring and managing life in the ocean in Europe and involves coupling biological knowledge to climate models to produce predictions that are of direct relevance to end-users.

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