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 reefbuilding organisms (oftentermed as habitatforming 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:
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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):
 Identify important physical parameters that can be summarised as an attribute of habitat of one or more species
 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
 Identify the quantity/quantities for expressing the status and trends of the attributes
 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 micronutrients (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, crossshelf 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