The 3rd Blue Planet Symposium will serve as a forum for discussion of societal information needs resulting from the important role the oceans play in Earth's life-support system and the challenge of minimizing the impacts of human activities on the oceans while utilizing the resources of the oceans to meet our needs. The symposium will also be a platform for the participating communities to exchange information on their activities and identify potential pilot and prototype projects for Blue Planet to focus on in the coming years. The Symposium will address four subthemes:
The Changing Oceans
Climate change involves major changes in the oceans, including changes in ocean circulation and dynamic sea surface topography, a changing role in the global climate system, sea level rise, and a potentially ice-free Arctic ocean. It is important to understand the current changes and their potential future developments and impacts on the Earth's life-support system from local to global scales.
Threats from pollution, warming and acidification
The health of marine ecosystems and their productivity are exposed to threats from pollution, the warming of the oceans, and an increasing acidification. The current and future impacts of these threats on the marine biosphere and beyond, including the impacts on human societies, need to be understood, monitored, and ways to limit the threats need to be developed.
Processes and life at the interfaces with the oceans
The oceans are integrated in the global system of systems with many interdependencies between them and the land and the atmosphere. There are many potential cascading effects, leading from disturbances and changes in one system to large impacts on the other systems. Therefore, understanding the processes at the interfaces between oceans, land and atmosphere is crucial in order to take interdependencies into consideration and avoid as far as possible cascading effects.
Sustainable use of ocean resources
Human well-being depends on a wide range of ocean resources and there are numerous economic activities based on using the oceans in various ways. The changing oceans will impact humanity's use of the oceans and provide new opportunities that need careful consideration. We need to take into account the impacts of these activities on the oceans and develop approaches that meet our needs while safeguarding the functioning of the oceans in the Earth’s life-support system.