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Displaying items by tag: Climate Change

Music for Galway’s Cellissimo Festival and Galway Atlantaquaria have teamed up for an ambitious project to spark community exploration of the local impacts of climate change on our seas and marine biodiversity — and inspire action to address the climate emergency.

Galway Bay Is Calling will bring together marine conservationists, behavioural scientists and scores of professional and community musicians, singers and performers from across Galway city and county in a unique creative collaboration that will pose individual and collective responses to the climate emergency through music and performance.

Music for Galway, the classical music resource organisation, and Galway Atlantaquaria, Ireland’s largest native-species aquarium, have secured investment through the Creative Ireland Climate Action Spark Fund to develop the project.

“Galway Bay Is Calling fits right into a central theme of Cellissimo, our international cello festival which takes place for the second time across Galway city and county from 18-25 May next year,” says Music for Galway chief executive Anna Lardi.

“As well as producing an exciting, accessible international music festival, we are approaching Cellissimo as a vehicle to creatively highlight the impacts of climate change, with a particular focus on the plight of climate migrants.”

Dr Maria Vittoria Marra, education and public engagement officer at Galway Atlantaquaria added: “We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with Music for Galway and ATU (Atlantic Technological University) on this social art project which aims at harnessing the power of music and performance to increase the ocean literacy of local musicians, not only with a view to strengthen their awareness of our impacts upon the ocean and its impact upon us, but also to provide them with tools and approaches to transform ocean knowledge into behaviours and action that promote ocean sustainability.”

Galway Bay Is Calling promises an exciting interactive series of ocean literacy workshops where participants will explore Galway’s coastline and marine life through beach combing and rock pooling, attending workshops and contributing to discussion and debate on climate change.

The group will work with scientists and researchers at ATU in Galway city to understand people’s behaviours and the key approaches that can influence attitude and ignite community transformation.

The Galway Bay Is Calling collective will then collaborate in groups with renowned Florence-based Irish cellist, singer and composer Naomi Berrill to articulate their experiences of the workshop and research work, exploring ideas for community responses.

Berrill will take these inputs and write a new composition for the collective, who will rehearse their parts independently before coming together in Galway a week before Music for Galway’s Cellissimo Festival in May 2024 to rehearse collectively.

The world premiere of Galway Bay Is Calling, a new composition for solo cello and a mixed-bag orchestra, will be presented at the opening day of Cellissimo in Galway on Saturday 18 May 2024.

The progress of Galway Bay Is Calling will be documented and shared over the coming months on participants’ social media channels. Details of Cellissimo will be announced later this year.

Published in Galway Harbour

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan has welcomed the adoption by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) of a revised 2023 strategy on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships.

Significantly, this includes a provision for an economic element on the basis of a maritime GHG emission pricing mechanism.

The 2023 GHG Strategy was adopted at the 80th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee in London. Ireland has been supportive of the highest level of ambition throughout the negotiation of this strategy.

The revised strategy sets a goal of net zero GHG emissions from ships by or around 2050. This is a significant increase in ambition compared to the initial 2018 strategy which targeted a 50% reduction compared to 2008 levels.

The strategy has introduced important indicative checkpoints along this 2050 pathway. The 2030 checkpoint is set at reducing GHG emissions from ships by at least 20%, while striving for 30%. For 2040, this stands at 70% while striving for 80%. Both checkpoints are in comparison to 2008 levels.

In an important move, the strategy includes a basket of candidate mid-term GHG reduction measures including an economic element on the basis of a maritime GHG emissions pricing. This is something that Minister Ryan and Ireland have been advocating for a number of years, the Department of Transport says.

Commenting after the IMO’s revised strategy announcement on Friday (7 July), Minister Ryan said: “At last year’s COP27 in Egypt the key issue was climate finance and agreement on a loss and damage fund to help the poorest countries, states and people in the world, who are being disproportionately impacted by the devastation of climate change.

“At COP, global leaders like Mary Robinson were advocating for a pricing mechanism or levy on carbon heavy industries, like the maritime and aviation sectors. It is really encouraging to see that this globally agreed strategy, which will accelerate the sector’s transition away from polluting fossil fuels, now also, significantly and bravely, provides for a pricing mechanism. The key thing now is to go to the next steps, turning this agreed strategy into action.”

The strategy also includes provision for a new target of at least 5%, striving for 10% uptake of zero or near-zero GHG emission technologies, fuels and/or energy sources by 2030.

There was further agreement on the timeline for introducing mid-term measures, which will be crucial for the implementation of this strategy.

Much work remains in the process, with the agreement to initiate a comprehensive impact assessment of the remaining candidate measures. This timeline will see measures adopted by 2025 and enter into force by 2027, while giving appropriate consideration to assess possible impacts on states.

While Ireland and others had called for higher levels of ambition during the negotiation process, the department says it was important to secure widespread support to reach such an agreement that can now be implemented globally.

This resulting 2023 strategy marks an important milestone along the maritime fuel transition, it adds, and it is hoped that it will send a clear signal to the maritime and fuel industries on the commitment to phase out GHG emissions from shipping.

The adoption by unanimous support from member states of the IMO is also important in ensuring a high level of solidarity in delivering on the ambition of net zero by 2050, it says.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Surface ocean carbon dioxide observations from Irish waters collected by the Marine Institute’s RV Celtic Explorer have been published in the 2023 version of the Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas (SOCAT).

With over 42 million surface ocean CO2 measurements from across the globe, SOCAT is a key dataset for quantifying the evolving ocean uptake and sink for CO2.

This data provides scientists, climate researchers and international policy makers with essential information on ocean carbon dioxide measurements. And such observations are essential to understand current and project future climate change as well as for monitoring changes in ocean chemistry and predicting the impacts of these changes.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations continue to rise rapidly and currently are at about 420 parts per million (ppm), up from 280ppm in preindustrial times.

The current atmospheric level would be significantly higher, and climate change even more pronounced, but for our global ocean absorbing about a quarter of CO2 emissions from human activities each year.

There is, however, a cost: Absorbing additional CO2 increases the acidity of seawater. This process is known as ocean acidification, and it may have dramatic consequences for marine life, as detailed in a recent assessment by OSPAR.

If sea water is too acidic, it can make it difficult for marine organisms such as coral, oysters and mussels to form shells and skeletons. The impacts of ocean acidification and warming could also extend up the food chain, affecting fisheries and aquaculture, threatening food security for millions of people.

Evin McGovern at the Marine Institute, who was co-convenor of the international expert group that produced the OSPAR Ocean Acidification assessment said: “High-quality measurements of surface ocean carbon dioxide are needed for a better understanding of the impact of ocean-atmosphere interactions on climate. The Marine Institute is contributing to global science, providing advanced scientific knowledge which will help inform policy and our response to a changing ocean.”

Ocean and atmospheric CO2 measurements have been collected on the RV Celtic Explorer since 2017. This year Ireland joined the Integrated Carbon Observing Station (ICOS), a European Infrastructure network supporting standardised high-precision carbon flux measurements between atmosphere, land and the ocean, and the RV Celtic Explorer was adopted as an ICOS Ocean “station”.

In Ireland, marine CO2 measurements are also collected at fixed stations and additional CO2 observing capacity will be available on the new national research vessel, the RV Tom Crean, extending the coverage.

Published in Marine Science

Dublin Port Company is recruiting for the role of energy and decarbonisation lead.

The State-owned commercial port says it “aims to play a strong role in achieving its own energy and decarbonisation goals, as well as supporting and influencing wider Dublin Port stakeholders in meeting their own energy reduction and decarbonisation ambitions”.

Dublin Port has 15,000 annual vessel movements, handles almost half of the Republic of Ireland’s trade, is the largest freight and passenger port in Ireland and is one of five major ports classified as Tier 1/Tier 2 ports in the National Ports Policy.

The energy and decarbonisation lead will head the development, implementation and delivery of plans to ensure that Dublin Port Company meets its energy and decarbonisation goals and commitments.

As the company provides critical national port infrastructure, the role will require a close working relationship with its stakeholders to ensure it understands their decarbonisation needs, in order to best support them in meeting their energy and decarbonisation goals.

The role will require leading the energy and decarbonisation team, especially working closely with the port’s technical manager, property and facilities manager and assistant harbour master, who are all key members of that team.

Key responsibilities also include work within energy and decarbonisation management, the NewERA Climate Action Framework for the Commercial Semi-State Sector, Dublin Port Energy & Decarbonisation Community, infrastructure and more.

Must-have requirements include a FETAC Level 8 undergraduate degree qualification in energy, environment, sustainability or an engineering discipline; a minimum of five years’ industry experience and ability to demonstrate competent knowledge in the fields of energy or sustainability; and management system experience (eg ISO 9001/14001/50001).

Those interested can find further information and apply for the position via LinkedIn HERE.

Published in Jobs

Scientists warn that an “unheard of” marine heatwave in the waters off Ireland and Great Britain poses a significant threat to marine wildlife and plant life.

As the Guardian reports, the emerging El Niño conditions in the North Atlantic and North Sea have seen sea temperatures rise as much as 5C above normal in some areas — smashing regional records.

Prof Daniela Schmidt of the University of Bristol says the current situation shows “the power of the combination of human-induced warming and natural climate variability”.

She adds: “In other parts of the world, we have seen several mass mortalities of marine plants and animals caused by ocean heatwave which have caused hundreds of millions of pounds of losses, in fisheries income, carbon storage, cultural values and habitat loss.

“As long as we are not dramatically cutting emissions, these heatwaves will continue to destroy our ecosystems. But as this is happening below the surface of the ocean, it will go unnoticed.”

The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

Published in Environment

Freshwater lakes, rivers and their aquatic communities are becoming increasingly vulnerable due to water abstractions and the impact of climate change.

That is according to Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) who issued a call this week to encourage future development planning applications to consider the impact of water abstractions from Ireland’s rivers, lakes and fish species.

Water level fluctuations caused by numerous pressures, including abstractions, can negatively impact aquatic ecosystems and consequently, the services they provide to the local economy and to aquatic biodiversity.

Higher water temperatures as a result of climate change are also said to have an impact on the natural water cycles of our rivers and lakes, causing thermal regimes in lakes and rivers to change. This results in a reduction in wetted area and a decrease in suitable habitat for fish and other aquatic communities during droughts.

IFI is cautioning that changes in the flow or abstraction of water in a catchment can be extremely harmful to migratory fish species such as salmon, sea trout and eel, which are already stressed as a result of climate change.

Such adverse conditions can reduce the success of fish migration and demonstrate how vulnerable these species are to changing climatic conditions and other pressures.

Francis O’Donnell, chief executive of IFI said: “It is imperative that we ensure where possible, all water resources are managed sustainably to protect our natural resources. This involves making sure that river flows and lake levels can sustain aquatic environments and biota while also allowing the use of water for drinking water supply and other purposes such as agricultural, commercial, industrial and recreational use.

“IFI strongly advises that the impacts of climate change should be considered in all planning applications for developments that affect the natural hydrological water cycle and the wider aquatic community. IFI has a statutory responsibility to protect salmonids and other freshwater fish species including eels and this will remain our first priority.”

Dr Cathal Gallagher, head of research at IFI added: “IFI’s Climate Change Mitigation Research Programme was set up in 2019 to assess the impact of climate change on Ireland’s fish and habitats. The ongoing research is already identifying areas in catchments where fish species and habitats are most under threat, but also areas that are showing resilience to climate change. It is important that we work together to safeguard the future of our natural resources.”

For more information visit IFI’s Climate Change Mitigation Research programme HERE.

Published in Angling

This Thursday 2 March, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) in Waterford is hosting a workshop with a twist — to play a serious game called DiadESland, about managing diadromous fish species.

DiadESland is an interactive role-playing engagement tool developed through the Interreg DiadES project. It gives stakeholders and managers an opportunity to discuss the impact of climate change on migratory fish, rivers and catchments through an imaginary environment.

Participants will team up and play the role of catchment managers, making management decisions to achieve a set of goals for their catchment.

It is an excellent opportunity for networking in an informal setting but with an important objective: to discuss the serious issues facing diadromous fish species in the context of climate change.

This session will also allow IFI to discuss future strategies and management recommendations.

EU Interreg AA funding allows for providing players with a fully catered workshop, and travel costs will be refunded (as required).

There is no requirement for expertise in fish or fish management to play the game and all sectors involved with fish management or commercialisation are warmly invited.

Register your interest on the IFI website HERE.

Published in Angling

In a letter sent to Irish ministers and other elected officials last week, three NGOs call on the Government to amend mandates and legislation to ensure public bodies are fit to deliver on Ireland’s climate, biodiversity and water objectives.

The Environmental Pillar, the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition and the Sustainable Water Network (SWAN) claim that “a lack of government oversight and accountability in the operation of public bodies is undermining Ireland’s response to the declared climate and biodiversity emergency”.

They also demand that “narrow economic mandates” conferred on public bodies like Coillte and Bord na Móna “must be immediately amended and brought in line with environmental and climate obligations at national and EU level”.

The groups call for public land “to be utilised in the public interest” and that all public bodies “be mandated to take the lead in Ireland’s response to climate change and biodiversity loss”.

“Public land must be utilised in the public interest and the Irish people should have a greater say in how that is achieved,” said Fintan Kelly of the Environmental Pillar.

“At a time when we are asking private landowners to do more in response to climate change and biodiversity loss, it is critical that the State is seen to lead from the front.

“The untapped potential of Coillte and Bord na Móna’s land holdings presents an unprecedented opportunity to restore nature at scale, delivering essential ecosystem services to society such as biodiversity restoration, climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as employment and public amenity. This is an opportunity we can’t afford to ignore any longer.”

SWAN board member Dr Elaine McGoff added: “The actions of Coillte, Bord na Móna and the OPW, along with many other public bodies, have a substantial impact on the health and biodiversity of our rivers, lakes, wetlands, and seas.

“Forestry is the third most significant pressure on our waterbodies and is a key contributor to the loss of our most pristine rivers, down from five hundred to just twenty in the last few decades.

“Considerable damage to our water environment is also being caused by drainage and infilling of our bogs and wetlands by Bord na Móna and others, along with arterial drainage works on our rivers by the OPW.

“Wetland protection and restoration are recognised as key to solving our water, biodiversity and climate crises. If we are serious about improving water quality, the protection and restoration of our natural systems must be made core obligations for these public bodies by amending their legal mandates.”

Published in Environment

The forthcoming edition of The Ocean Race, which sets sail from Alicante on 15 January, is set to feature the most ambitious and comprehensive science programme created by a sporting event.

Every boat participating in the gruelling six-month around-the-world race will carry specialist equipment onboard to measure a range of variables throughout the 60,000km route, which will be analysed by scientists from eight leading research organisations to further understanding about the state of the ocean.

Sailing through some of the most remote parts of the planet, seldom reached by scientific vessels, teams will have a unique opportunity to collect vital data where information is lacking on two of the biggest threats to the health of the seas: the impact of climate change and plastic pollution.

Launched during the 2017-18 edition of the race in collaboration with 11th Hour Racing — premier partner of The Ocean Race and founding partner of the Racing with Purpose sustainability programme — the innovative science programme will capture even more types of data in the forthcoming race, including for the first time levels of oxygen and trace elements in the water.

Data will also be delivered to science partners faster in this edition, transmitted via satellite and reaching the organisations, which includes World Meteorological Organisation, National Oceanography Centre, Max Planck Society, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in real time.

Stefan Raimund, science lead at The Ocean Race, said: “A healthy ocean isn’t just vital to the sport we love, it regulates the climate, provides food for billions of people and supplies half the planet’s oxygen. Its decline impacts the entire world. To halt it, we need to supply governments and organisations with scientific evidence and demand they act on it.

“We are in a unique position to contribute to this; data collected during our previous races has been included in crucial reports about the state of the planet that have informed and influenced decisions by governments. Knowing that we can make a difference in this way has inspired us to expand our science programme even further and collaborate with more of the world’s leading science organisations to support their vital research.”

The journey of the data captured in The Ocean Race science programmeThe journey of the data captured in The Ocean Race science programme

In total, 15 types of environmental data will be collected during The Ocean Race 2022-23, including:

  • Indicators of climate change: Two boats, 11th Hour Racing Team and Team Malizia, will carry OceanPacks, which take water samples to measure levels of carbon dioxide, oxygen, salinity and temperature, providing insights about the impact of climate change on the ocean. Trace elements, including iron, zinc, copper and manganese, will also be captured for the first time. These elements are vital for the growth of plankton, an essential organism as it is the first part of the food chain and the ocean’s biggest producers of oxygen.
  • Plastic pollution: GUYOT environnement – Team Europe and Holcim – PRB will take regular water samples throughout the race to test for microplastics. As with the previous edition of the Race, the amount of microplastics will be measured throughout the route and, for the first time, samples will also be analysed to determine which plastic product the fragments originated from (for example, a bottle or carrier bag).
  • Meteorological data: The entire fleet will use onboard weather sensors to measure wind speed, wind direction and air temperature. Some teams will also deploy drifter buoys in the Southern Ocean to capture these measurements on an ongoing basis, along with location data, which helps to grow understanding about how currents and the climate are changing. Meteorological data will help to improve weather forecasts and are particularly valuable for predicting extreme weather events, as well as revealing insights on longer-term climate trends.
  • Ocean Biodiversity: Biotherm is collaborating with the Tara Ocean Foundation to trial an experimental research project to study ocean biodiversity during the Race. An onboard automated microscope will record images of marine phytoplankton on the ocean surface, which will be analysed to provide insights on phytoplankton diversity in the ocean, along with biodiversity, food webs and the carbon cycle.

All of the collected data is open-source and shared with The Ocean Race’s science partners: organisations across the world that are examining the impact of human activity on the ocean. It will feed into reports including those from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and databases such as the Surface Ocean Carbon Dioxide Atlas, which provides data for the Global Carbon Budget, a yearly assessment of carbon dioxide that informs targets and predictions for carbon reduction.

Véronique Garçon, senior scientist at CNRS said: “The Ocean Race’s science programme is vital for the science community and their work to support the UN Decade of Ocean Science. The data gathered by the boats from remote parts of the world, where information is scarce, is particularly valuable.

“Put simply, the more data we have, the more accurately we can understand the ocean’s capacity to cope with climate change and predict what will happen to the climate in future.”

The Ocean Race’s science programme, which is supported by 11th Hour Racing, Time to Act partner Ulysse Nardin and Official Plastic-Free Ocean partner Archwey, is being ramped up at a time when the impact of human activity on the ocean is becoming more widely understood.

Recent studies have highlighted how higher temperatures in the ocean are fuelling extreme weather events and sea levels are projected to rise at a faster rate than anticipated, while whales have been found to ingest millions of microplastics every day.

The types of data collected in The Ocean Race science programme

Published in Ocean Race

Earlier today (Monday 14 November), Patrick O’Donovan, Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform visited the Marine Institute’s headquarters in Oranmore, Co Galway.

The minister met with the Marine Institute’s chief executive Dr Paul Connolly as well as Michael Gillooly, director of oceans, climate and information services (OCIS); Dr Glenn Nolan, manager of ocean climate services; Alan Berry, manager of offshore renewable energy and infrastructure services; and Dr Tomasz Dabrowski, team leader in ocean climate services.

Several Office of Public Works (OPW) officials were also part of the visit today, including Robert Mooney (head of planning and climate adaptation), Mark Adamson and Vincent Hussey (flood risk assessment and management).

Minister O’Donovan visited to gain an understanding of the role of the Marine Institute in climate adaptation and particularly how data is collected and used in climate modelling and monitoring, to deal with the impacts of climate change on our coastline.

As part of the visit, the Institute team gave an overview of how the climate modelling and monitoring that it manages is integrated with other parts of the national and international approach to informing the overall climate strategy.

Dr Connolly said: “We are delighted to welcome Minister O’Donovan and colleagues from the Office of Public Works to the Marine Institute to see our facilities and exchange ideas with colleagues from the OPW which contribute to addressing impacts of climate change on our coastline.”

Gillooly added: “Forecasting ocean and climate change is one of the institute’s strategic focus areas. The Marine Institute has a range of observational infrastructures around the Irish marine area continually gathering data on the marine environment.

“Over the years, we have built up significant time-series information and this data is central to developing digital services including operational modelling which inform climate mitigation and adaptation measures in areas such as sea level rise and flooding.”

The Marine Institute’s Oceans, Climate and Information Services Group provides support for national and international marine monitoring, marine mapping, research and development as well as information technology infrastructure and digital service development.

Published in Marine Science
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Dublin Bay Sailing Club Turkey Shoot Winter Series

Dublin Bay Sailing Club's Turkey Shoot Series reached its 20th year in 2020.

The popular yacht series racing provides winter-racing for all the sailing clubs on the southside of Dublin Bay in the run-up to Christmas.

It regularly attracts a fleet of up to 70 boats of different shapes and sizes from all four yachts clubs at Dun Laoghaire: The National Yacht Club, The Royal St. George Yacht Club, The Royal Irish Yacht Club and the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as other clubs such as Sailing in Dublin. Typically the event is hosted by each club in rotation.

The series has a short, sharp format for racing that starts at approximately 10 am and concludes around noon. The event was the brainchild of former DBSC Commodore Fintan Cairns to give the club year-round racing on the Bay thanks to the arrival of the marina at Dun Laoghaire in 2001. Cairns, an IRC racer himself, continues to run the series each winter.

Typically, racing features separate starts for different cruiser-racers but in fact, any type of boat is allowed to participate, even those yachts that do not normally race are encouraged to do so.

Turkey Shoot results are calculated under a modified ECHO handicap system and there can be a fun aspect to some of the scoring in keeping with the Christmas spirit of the occasion.

As a result, the Turkey Shoot often receives entries from boats as large as Beneteau 50 footers and one designs as small as 20-foot flying Fifteens, all competing over the same course.

It also has legendary weekly prizegivings in the host waterfront yacht clubs immediately after racing. There are fun prizes and overall prizes based on series results.

Regular updates and DBSC Turkey Shoot Results are published on Afloat each week as the series progresses.

FAQs

Cruisers, cruising boats, one-designs and boats that do not normally race are very welcome. Boats range in size from ocean-going cruisers at 60 and 60 feet right down to small one-design keelboats such as 20-foot Flying Fifteens. A listing of boats for different starts is announced on Channel 74 before racing each week.

Each winter from the first Sunday in November until the last week before Christmas.

Usually no more than two hours. The racecourse time limit is 12.30 hours.

Between six and eight with one or two discards applied.

Racing is organised by Dublin Bay Sailing Club and the Series is rotated across different waterfront yacht clubs for the popular after race party and prizegiving. The waterfront clubs are National Yacht Club (NYC), Royal Irish Yacht Club (RIYC), Royal St George Yacht Club (RSGYC) and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club (DMYC).

© Afloat 2020