Before you do anything else, check here to see the amount of heat stored in the oceans…

Ocean Warming & Acidification



Almost three-quarters of Earth’s surface is covered by ocean, and another 10% is covered by ice sheets and glaciers. Since the 1980s, the ocean has absorbed about 20-30% of humans’ carbon emissions, causing the ocean to become both warmer and more acidic. In addition, the ocean absorbs more than 90% of the heat that greenhouse gases trap in the atmosphere. And as the water warms, it expands: about half of the sea-level rise over the past 25 years is attributable to warmer oceans

The consequences are far reaching, and the 2019 UN IPCC report warns that we will see “unprecedented” changes to the oceans this century. Already since 2016, half of all the coral in the Great Barrier Reef has died due to acidification, and Australia has downgraded its outlook to “very poor.” States are experiencing a host of other issues like  disappearing whales, millions of dying starfish, and threats to fish species and the fishing industry

Although the oceans are warming about 40% faster than the UN had previously predicted, another report imagines the ocean as a powerful source of solutions, including off-shore wind, if action is taken now. Another solution, championed by Bren Smith, co-founder of GreenWave, sees kelp farming as a way to both restore our oceans and feed the planet. He points out that Seaweed harvesting once was a major industry in the United States. In the early 1900s, 1,500 workers produced 52 different products from kelp on the docks of San Diego. The industry died after WWII (due to over harvesting), one recent study estimates the industry will grow to 85Bn by 2026 across a diverse range of markets.


Supreme Court won’t review ruling barring offshore fracking in California

By Zack Budryk 06/05/23
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined a request by the oil industry to review a lower court ruling barring fracking off California’s shore. In 2014, the Environmental Defense Center (EDC) sued to halt offshore…
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The off-the-charts rise of global sea surface temperature this spring has been eye-popping

By David Wallace-Wells 06/01/23
There are a lot of unsettling signals coming from the world’s oceans right now. Even for those of us who watch things like temperature anomalies and extreme weather events as likely portents of the climate…
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Scientists detected 5,000 sea creatures nobody knew existed. It’s a warning.

By Dino Grandoni 05/25/23
There are bright, gummy creatures that look like partially peeled bananas. Glassy, translucent sponges that cling to the seabed like chandeliers flipped upside down. Phantasmic octopuses named, appropriately, after Casper the Friendly Ghost.
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Can we fight climate change by sinking carbon into the sea?

By Alison F. Takemura 05/11/23
Two Israeli companies are betting that by trapping biomass deep underwater, they can keep gigatons of CO2 out of the atmosphere.
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What a responsible future for ocean carbon removal looks like

By Naim Merchant 05/11/23
We continue to see growing interest in enhancing the ocean's ability to remove and store carbon dioxide. In the last month alone, we've seen the largest investment to date in an ocean-based carbon removal startup,…
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Why We Need To Reimagine Our Oceans

By Ian Urbina 05/04/23
Two-thirds of the planet is covered by water, and much of that space is ungoverned. Human rights and environmental crimes occur often and with impunity in this realm, because the oceans are sprawling and what…
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The most mysterious forests on Earth are underwater

By Benji Jones 05/03/23
A few miles west of San Diego is a stretch of ocean that’s rather unremarkable from the surface. The water is cold and blue. There’s some green seaweed peeking out.
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Those Seaweed Blobs Headed for Florida? See How Big They Are.

By Elena Shao 04/19/23
The amount of Sargassum drifting toward North America is a record for the month of March....
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Google wants you to save coral reefs (with AI’s help)

By Ayurella Horn-Muller 04/18/23
Google has teamed up with marine biologists in launching a new citizen-science, AI-powered platform allowing you to help save the world’s coral reefs — from the comfort of your couch.
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The “Planet-Saving Technology” Set To Devastate The World

By Will Lockett 04/03/23
As we shift away from fossil fuels and towards a renewable-powered future, our needs change. For example, we need far more cobalt, manganese, zinc, copper, and nickel than ever before, given that they are integral…
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California Salmon Stocks Are Crashing. A Fishing Ban Looks Certain

By Catrin Einhorn 04/03/23
This week, officials are expected to shut down all commercial and recreational salmon fishing off California for 2023. Much will be canceled off neighboring Oregon, too.
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Antarctic ice melt poses grave risk to ocean circulation, new study finds

Michael Holmes interviews Matthew England, one of the scientists behind a new study showing that melting Antarctic ice poses a grave risk for the global climate.
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What is Argo?

Argo is an international program that collects information from inside the ocean using a fleet of robotic instruments that drift with the ocean currents and move up and down between the surface and a mid-water…

OceanSITES 2022 meeting

The mission of OceanSITES is to collect, deliver and promote the use of high-quality data from long-term, high-frequency observations at fixed locations in the open ocean. OceanSITES typically aim to collect multidisciplinary data worldwide from…

Ocean Heat Content

Ninety percent of global warming is occurring in the ocean, causing the water’s internal heat to increase since modern record-keeping began in 1955, as shown in the upper chart. (The shaded blue region indicates the…

Marine Conservation Institute

Marine Conservation Institute is dedicated to securing permanent, strong protection for the oceans’ most important places – for us and future generations.

State Of The Beach Report

Greta is known for her famous speeches before world leaders. She recently spoke at COP 26 where delegates from around the world are charged with fulfilling goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework…

Igniting public support For a global network of Marine protected areas

“Mission Blue inspires action to explore and protect the ocean.”

Climate Change Indicators: Ocean Heat

In four different data analyses, the long-term trend shows that the top 700 meters of the oceans have become warmer since 1955 (see Figure 1). All three analyses in Figure 2 show additional warming when…

Oceans | The Pew Charitable Trusts

Pew’s ocean work includes efforts to create large marine reserves; end illegal fishing; protect key species such as penguins, sharks, tuna and forage fish; and establish policies that protect, maintain, and restore the health of…

Global warming impairs stock–recruitment dynamics of corals

Changes in disturbance regimes due to climate change are increasingly challenging the capacity of ecosystems to absorb recurrent shocks and reassemble afterwards, escalating the risk of widespread ecological collapse of current ecosystems and the emergence…

Mass balance of the Antarctic Ice Sheet from 1992 to 2017

The Antarctic Ice Sheet is an important indicator of climate change and driver of sea-level rise. Here we combine satellite observations of its changing volume, flow and gravitational attraction with modelling of its surface mass…

A Decision Framework for Interventions to Increase the Persistence and Resilience of Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are critical to ocean and human life because they provide food, living area, storm protection, tourism income, and more. However, human-induced stressors, such as overfishing, sediment, pollution, and habitat destruction have threatened ocean…

Assessing recent warming using instrumentally homogeneous sea surface temperature records

Accurate sea surface temperature (SST) data are necessary for a wide range of applications, from providing boundary conditions for numerical weather prediction, to assessing the performance of climate modeling, to understanding drivers of marine ecosystem…

Ocean Facts

Get the facts about our ocean and coasts.

IPCC report: The Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report highlights the urgency of prioritizing timely, ambitious and coordinated action to address unprecedented and enduring changes in the ocean and cryosphere.

Ocean Media Institute

The Ocean Media Institute is a global media collective that serves to create, educate, and advocate for the protection of the ocean. As a creative hub for individuals and organizations worldwide, our goal is to…

Ocean acidification education

The ocean absorbs about 30% of the CO2 that is released in the atmosphere, and as levels of atmospheric CO2 increase, so do the levels in the ocean. When CO2 is absorbed by seawater, a…


Scientists Scramble to Help Bay Scallops Survive Climate Change

By Hilary Macht   03/27/23  
Researchers begin selective breeding and other initiatives in hopes of saving the East Coast’s last wild bay scallop fisheries.
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A 5,000-Mile-Wide Blob of Stinky Seaweed Is Headed Straight for Florida

By Lauren Leffer   03/13/23  
Sargassum algae is having an early, potentially record-breaking bloom in the tropical Atlantic this year. It's a problem for tourism and coastal ecosystems.
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Visualizing Coastal Ocean Acidification

Since the industrial revolution began a little over 200 years ago, the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has increased due to the burning of fossil fuels, cement production, and land use change.…
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Gulf of Maine sees second-hottest year on record, report shows, ‘getting to the edge of habitability’

By Sonel Cutler   02/24/23  
Already one of the fastest-warming bodies of water in the world, the Gulf of Maine recorded its second-hottest year ever in 2022, another ominous indicator of how global warming threatens the rich marine world off…
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How to pull carbon dioxide out of seawater

By David M. Chandler   02/16/23  
A new method for removing the greenhouse gas from the ocean could be far more efficient than existing systems for removing it from the air.
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Warming seas are carving into glacier that could trigger sea level rise

By Chris Mooney   02/15/23  
Rapidly warming oceans are cutting into the underside of the Earth’s widest glacier, startling new data and images show, leaving the ice more prone to fracturing and ultimately heightening the risk for major sea level…
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Why helping whales to flourish can help fight climate change

By Corinne Purtill   02/07/23  
The ocean is one of the planet’s great carbon sinks, absorbing nearly a third of the atmosphere’s greenhouse gas emissions. Swimming in its depths are the great whales, a population whose sheer physical mass allows…
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A Look Back: 2022’s Temperature Record

2022 effectively tied for Earth’s 5th warmest year since 1880, and the last 9 consecutive years have been the warmest 9 on record. NASA looks back at how heat was expressed in different ways around…
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2022’s Series of Disasters Could Be Linked to a New Ocean Record

By Lauren Leffer   01/11/23  
California is in its third week of back-to-back-to-back extreme weather events. The Pacific coast has been drenched by consecutive atmospheric rivers spanning from the end of last year into the present, with precipitation totals 400%-600%…
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A Toxic Stew on Cape Cod: Human Waste and Warming Water

By Christopher Flavelle   01/01/23  
Climate change is contributing to electric-green algae blooms. Massachusetts wants a cleanup of the antiquated septic systems feeding the mess, but it could cost billions....
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Want to save the planet? Saving whales could help, scientists say.

By Rachel Pannett   12/15/22  
Restoring the population of whales — which are still being killed in high numbers — could help reduce carbon in the Earth’s atmosphere, according to a new study....
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Indigenous ‘sea gardens’ could protect shellfish in an acidifying ocean

By Jen Schmidt   12/08/22  
It’s low tide in Bodega Bay, north of San Francisco, California, and Hannah Hensel is squishing through thick mud, on the hunt for clams. The hinged mollusks are everywhere, burrowed into the sediment, filtering seawater…
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Where Walruses Go When Sea Ice Is Gone

By Carolyn Kormann   11/21/22  
n 2018, in the Siberian Arctic, the filmmakers Evgenia Arbugaeva and Maxim Arbugaev, who are sister and brother, arrived on a strange beach. “The sand was of dark colour, full of bones, and smelled terrible,”…
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Climate risks for Gulf of Mexico coral reefs spelled out in study

Ocean temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea are on pace to surpass critical thresholds for coral health by mid-century, but rapid action to significantly reduce emissions could slow warming, giving corals…
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Oceans are warming faster than ever. Here’s what could come next.

By Brady Dennis   10/19/22  
The world’s oceans have been warming for generations, a trend that is accelerating and threatens to fuel more supercharged storms, devastate marine ecosystems and upend the lives and livelihoods of millions of people, according to…
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Once devastated, these Pacific reefs have seen an amazing rebirth

By Enric Sala   10/11/22  
The most astonishing and heartening coral rebirth the world has ever seen came to light recently. To understand how it happened, you have to go back to April 2009. That’s when I assembled and led…
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This Moonshot for Coral Breeding Was Successful

By Alex Riley and Others   10/03/22  
Wearing a navy-blue polo neck emblazoned with the Florida Aquarium logo, Keri O’Neil hugs a white cooler at Miami International Airport. “Coral babieeeeees,” she says, before letting out a short laugh. Relief. The container holds…
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Why ocean depth is key for how warming will affect marine life

By Dr. Yeray Santana-Falcón and Dr. Roland Séférian   09/30/22  
The world’s oceans are home to more than 240,000 known species, each with specific conditions in which they need to thrive. However, human-caused climate change is altering the marine environment through changes in temperature, oxygen…
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The Gulf of Maine is simmering, but its lobsters seem fine — for now

By Zac Rosenthall and Others   09/11/22  
Many tourists visiting coastal Maine may at some point purchase a lobster roll, with big chunks of lobster meat, a dash of mayo and a bag of potato chips on the side. But as summers…
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A bellwether of climate change, puffins are struggling to survive in a warming Gulf of Maine

By David Abel   07/29/22  
On a recent balmy afternoon, at the extreme southern end of their range, a steady stream of Atlantic puffins, with their unmistakable tuxedo plumage and orange webbed feet, swooped in from the sea, alighting on…
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‘Terrifying’: WWF chief hits out at plans to mine the deep sea

By Catarina Demony   06/29/22  
The World Wildlife Fund's chief warned on Tuesday that the potential impact of mining the deep sea could be "terrifying" and called for strict regulations to avoid yet another environmental disaster.
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The Ocean Is Climate Change’s First Victim and Last Resort

By Elijah Wolfson   06/23/22  
Rain forests may be known as the planet’s lungs, but it’s when standing before the seas, with their crashing waves and ceaselessly cycling tides, that we feel the earth breathe. The ocean, say scientists, is…
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World Oceans Day 2022: How climate change and warming waters are affecting the health of the oceans

By Julia Jacobo   06/08/22  
An IPCC special report published in 2019 found that oceans -- which make up more than 70% of the world's surface -- have absorbed between 20% and 30% of human-made carbon dioxide emissions since the…
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Restoring our world’s Dying coral reefs

By Sam Teicher   06/06/22  
Coral Vita protects threatened ecosystems by growing diverse and resilient corals and outplanting them into degraded reefs
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Crackling or desolate?: AI trained to hear coral’s sounds of life

By Angie Teo   06/06/22  
Instead, it was a coral reef, teeming with life, according to a study scientists from British and Indonesian universities published last month, in which they used hundreds of such audio clips to train a computer…
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Strengthening Blue Carbon Solutions in US Ocean Policy

By Anne Christianson   06/06/22  
Nature is increasingly recognized as foundational to climate action, especially the push to hold global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels in order to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. The climate…
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Stony Brook University Study Shows Benefits Of Growing Kelp Near Oyster Farm Beds

By Julia Heming   06/02/22  
Scientists from Stony Brook University, led by Dr. Christopher Gobler, have discovered that the growth of kelp reduces ocean acidification, an effect of climate change. “Kelp can raise the pH of seawater from acidification conditions…
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Climate Change Threatens $2 Trillion ‘Blue Economy’

Earth observations like those from NASA satellites are critical to understanding the threats of climate change to Earth’s ocean, according to a recent article in Oceanography led by the Ecological Forecasting program area. The article,…
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Great Barrier Reef: 91% of coral damaged by bleaching, ‘heartbreaking’ study finds

By Victoria Seabrook   05/11/22  
The world's largest coral reef ecosystem suffered its sixth mass bleaching on record after being hit by three marine heatwaves, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority (GBRMA) said in its snapshot report of summer 2021-22.
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Mass extinction in oceans can be avoided by curbing fossil fuels

By Craig Welch   04/28/22  
Near the end of the Permian Period, roughly 252 million years ago, a single supercontinent dominated the planet. The ocean around it was traversed by bony fish covered in armored plates and sea scorpions the…
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Avoiding ocean mass extinction from climate warming

By Justin L. Penn and Curtis Deutsch   04/28/22  
Climate change brings with it the increasing risk of extinction across species and systems. Marine species face particular risks related to water warming and oxygen depletion. Penn and Deutsch looked at extinction risk for marine…
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Destructive Algae Blooms Persist In East Hampton Waters

By Michael Wright   04/13/22  
Stony Brook University researchers who have been monitoring the tidal waters and ponds around East Hampton for a decade said that the summer of 2021 saw some of the highest... more
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Ocean Warming Doubles Odds for Extreme Atlantic Hurricane Seasons

By Bob Berwyn   04/13/22  
For storm-battered residents of the Caribbean, the Southeast and the Gulf Coast, new research on hurricanes is rarely good news, with recent studies showing trends toward stronger storms that intensify suddenly near the coast and…
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A Big Climate Warning from One of the Gulf of Maine’s Smallest Marine Creatures

By Derrick Z. Jackson   02/20/22  
Given the rate at which the waters in the Gulf of Maine are heating up, Mainers may need to swap out the lobsters on their license plates for squid. All of New England could issue…
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The past’s extreme ocean heat waves are now the new normal

By Carolyn Gramling   02/01/22  
Yesterday’s scorching ocean extremes are today’s new normal. A new analysis of surface ocean temperatures over the past 150 years reveals that in 2019, 57 percent of the ocean’s surface experienced temperatures rarely seen a…
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As waters warm and the lobster population booms off Canada, tensions rise between Indigenous and commercial fishermen

By David Abe   01/21/22  
Under the close watch of federal officers on surrounding patrol vessels, Robert Sack navigated his old boat toward his clandestine traps in the cold waters that his people have fished for centuries, expecting to be…
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Integrating Biology into Ocean Observing Infrastructure: Society Depends on It

By F. Muller- Karger & Others   01/07/22  
The link between humans and life in the sea is not something most of us think about every day. However, we humans have historically built communities close to the sea, and we have studied how…
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Climate Change and Harmful Algal Blooms

Scientists predict that climate change will have many effects on freshwater and marine environments. These effects, along with nutrient pollution, might cause harmful algal blooms to occur more often, in more waterbodies and to be…
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To draw down carbon and cool off the planet, ocean fertilization gets another look

By Warren Cornwall   12/15/21  
In January 2009, a German research ship set out for the Southern Ocean carrying 6 tons of iron and a boatload of controversy. The iron was meant to trigger a massive phytoplankton bloom that would…
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Rising From the Antarctic, a Climate Alarm

By Henry Fountain and Jeremy White   12/13/21  
The immense and forbidding Southern Ocean is famous for howling gales and devilish swells that have tested mariners for centuries. But its true strength lies beneath the waves.
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The lobster trap

By Penelope Overton   12/12/21  
A hard rain falls all around Johnny McCarthy, beading across the sprawling deck of his brand-new lobster boat, as he steers around the hidden threat of Folly Ledge through an ink-black night and into his…
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NASA-supported Study Confirms Importance of Southern Ocean in Absorbing Carbon Dioxide

By Sofie Bates   12/08/21  
Observations from research aircraft show that the Southern Ocean absorbs much more carbon from the atmosphere than it releases, confirming it is a very strong carbon sink and an important buffer for some of the…
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Wildlife officials move to feed Florida’s starving manatees

By Lori Rozsa   12/07/21  
A record manatee die-off in Florida this year has become so dire that federal officials are taking a once unthinkable step — feeding the wild marine mammals to help them survive the winter...
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Photos show vast coral spawning event in Great Barrier Reef, giving divers hope for climate change recovery

By Ellen Francis   11/24/21  
Divers and scientists recorded the birth of billions of coral babies in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef on Tuesday night in a colorful show of life that they hope is a signal that the world’s biggest…
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Albatrosses, known for monogamy, may be pushed to ‘divorce’ because of climate change, study finds

By Miriam Berger   11/24/21  
“It is a truth universally acknowledged,” Jane Austen wrote in the opening lines of “Pride and Prejudice,” “that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Social…
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Ready to Kelp: How the ‘Kelp Bill’ Unlocked a Potential Game Changer in the Climate Fight

By Scarlett Buckley   11/09/21  
Kelp, a species of seaweed sometimes called “the rainforest of the sea,” could be a powerful weapon in the fight against climate change. Despite this, the commercial cultivation of kelp in Long Island, New York…
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Climate change killed 14% of the world’s coral reefs in a decade, study finds

By Ellen Francis   10/05/21  
Climate change is wiping out coral reefs and will kill more if oceans keep getting warmer, researchers warned on Tuesday in a new study that spanned much of the globe. The world already lost 14…
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Coral microbiome is key to surviving climate change, new study finds

By Sara LaJeunesse   09/30/21  
The microbiomes of corals — which comprise bacteria, fungi and viruses — play an important role in the ability of corals to tolerate rising ocean temperatures, according to new research led by Penn State. The…
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Earth is dimming due to climate change

Warming ocean waters have caused a drop in the brightness of the Earth, according to a new study. Researchers used decades of measurements of earthshine — the light reflected from Earth that illuminates the surface…
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The Private Sector Takes a Stand for Oceans During Climate Week

By Roya Sabri   09/23/21  
Climate Week in New York City started out with a clear message: The time for talking has passed; put your words into action. Climate action comes in many forms — policy change, investments in ecosystem restoration,…
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