As the evidence base continues to build, it is clear that marine climate change is having important impacts on the marine environment and the goods and services it provides. The information presented this year demonstrates the important knock-on effects that climate change can have through the food chain. For example, at the bottom, warming has led to plankton shifts, which have had an impact upon predators such as fish, which then affects seabirds.
Each contributing scientist has rated their confidence in the evidence presented. An overall confidence rating of high, medium or low is derived by qualitatively assessing both the amount and consistency of the available information. Where both are high we say we have high confidence about what is happening. But if either are insufficient then we have a high degree of uncertainty and respond with an overall confidence of low.
This method of assigning confidence levels is based upon the framework used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). We will be reviewing how best to communicate uncertainty to our end users for future publications.
The square highlighted above represents a hypothetical topic where there is a 'moderate' amount of information but where the agreement between different sources of information is 'low'. This square falls into the orange area which gives us an overall confidence rating of 'low'.