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What is a habitat assessment?

Habitats comprise physical and biological features important to species and assemblages.  For this assessment, habitats are confined, primarily, to important physical factors.  Biogenic features, such as reef-building organisms (often-termed as habitat-forming biota) will be included as appropriate. The physical and chemical environments of the Southern Ocean, combined, form the “physical habitat” that may affect organisms in a number of ways, depending on the suitability of the conditions:

...

Where possible, consideration will be given to changes that have occurred since the industrial revolution.  As per the IPCC, we use 1750 as marking the beginning of the industrial period.

Methods

A habitat assessment has the following steps (here, the focus is on physical factors):

  1. Identify important physical parameters that can be summarised as an attribute of habitat of one or more species
  2. Identify the attributes to be derived from one or more parameters that are important to the species e.g. temperature thresholds important to the success of species
  3. Identify the quantity/quantities for expressing the status and trends of the attributes
  4. Establish links to the appropriate datasets and extract the quantities for presentation

Pelagic habitats

Introduce the important attributes of pelagic habitats (ocean and cryosphere) and assess their status (coarse grain) within each sector and, where possible, assessments of change in those attributes.  Note that these assessments may not necessarily be synoptic in coverage but at particular locations with inferences drawn for the sector given synoptic variables.  IPCC confidence language must be used.

Light

 

Metric

Relevance

Units

Derivation (formula, algorithm)

Notes

PAR

 

 

 

 

UV

 

 

 

 

Atmosphere

General atmospheric phenomena

 

Metric

Relevance

Units

Derivation (formula, algorithm)

Notes

SAM

Wind strength by latitude

Sector

Annual

consult

ENSO

Many people use it

Reflecting expected temperature anomaly

 

 

consult

 

Air temperature

 

Metric

Relevance

Units

Derivation (formula, algorithm)

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wind

 

Metric

Relevance

Units

Derivation (formula, algorithm)

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Precipitation

 

Metric

Relevance

Units

Derivation (formula, algorithm)

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ocean

Consider meridional change (e.g. position of fronts)

Sea surface height

 

Metric

Relevance

Units

Derivation (formula, algorithm)

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Temperature

 

Metric

Relevance

Units

Derivation (formula, algorithm)

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eddy Kinetic Energy, waves and mixed layer depth

 

Metric

Relevance

Units

Derivation (formula, algorithm)

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nutrients

Macro- and micro-nutrients (Fe)

 

Metric

Relevance

Units

Derivation (formula, algorithm)

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cryosphere

Marginal ice zone

Extent, cover, movement, duration etc.

Thickness, rugosity, transparency, snow, porosity

 

Metric

Relevance

Units

Derivation (formula, algorithm)

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ice shelves, icebergs and fast ice

Include iceberg movement

 

Metric

Relevance

Units

Derivation (formula, algorithm)

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bottom habitats (coarse grain)

Introduce the important attributes of bottom habitats and assess their status (coarse grain) within each sector and, where possible, assessments of change in those attributes.  Note that these assessments may not necessarily be synoptic in coverage but at particular locations with inferences drawn for the sector given synoptic variables.  IPCC confidence language must be used.

Bathymetry, topography

Topography may include classes such as slope, canyon, cross-shelf canyon, depression etc.

Metric

Relevance

Units

Derivation (formula, algorithm)

Notes

Depth

 

 

 

 

Topographic classes

 

 

 

 

 

Geomorphology

 

Metric

Relevance

Units

Derivation (formula, algorithm)

Notes

Reef

 

 

 

 

Sediment

 

 

 

 

Drop stones

 

 

 

 

 

Stability and Disturbance

 

Metric

Relevance

Units

Derivation (formula, algorithm)

Notes

Iceberg scour

 

 

 

 

Biogenic habitat

 

 

 

 

 

Coastal habitats (fine grain)

Introduce the important attributes of coastal (<300[?] m) habitats and assess their status (fine grain) within each sector and, where possible, assessments of change in those attributes.  Note that these assessments may not necessarily be synoptic in coverage but at particular locations with inferences drawn for the sector given synoptic variables.  IPCC confidence language must be used.

Geomorphology

 

Metric

Relevance

Units

Derivation (formula, algorithm)

Notes

Reef

 

 

 

 

Sediment

 

 

 

 

Drop stones

 

 

 

 

 

Stability and Disturbance

 

Metric

Relevance

Units

Derivation (formula, algorithm)

Notes

Light

 

 

 

 

Iceberg scour

 

 

 

 

Biogenic habitat

 

 

 

 

Subsurface ice

 

 

 

 

Marine mammal and bird land habitats

Available nesting/colony areas

 

Metric

Relevance

Units

Derivation (formula, algorithm)

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Air temperature

 

Metric

Relevance

Units

Derivation (formula, algorithm)

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wind

 

Metric

Relevance

Units

Derivation (formula, algorithm)

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Precipitation

 

Metric

Relevance

Units

Derivation (formula, algorithm)

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Habitat changes in specific areas of interest

e.g. MPAs