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

OCEAN WARMING & ACIDIFICATION

OCEAN WARMING & ACIDIFICATION

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.

CURRENT NEWS

KEY RESOURCES

Ocean Heat Content

07/12/22
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

06/20/22
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

10/31/21
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

07/05/21
“Mission Blue inspires action to explore and protect the ocean.”

Climate Change Indicators: Ocean Heat

05/18/21
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

05/04/21
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

10/06/20
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

10/01/20
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

10/01/20
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

10/01/20
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

02/06/20
Get the facts about our ocean and coasts.

IPCC report: The Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate

09/24/19
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

09/10/19
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

09/10/19
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…

MORE NEWS

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

Ocean Warming Doubles Odds for Extreme Atlantic Hurricane Seasons

By Bob Berwyn  Photo: Go Nakamura , Getty Images   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…

A Big Climate Warning from One of the Gulf of Maine’s Smallest Marine Creatures

By Derrick Z. Jackson  Photo: Gregory Rec   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…

The past’s extreme ocean heat waves are now the new normal

By Carolyn Gramling  Photo: Chelle Gentemann , JPL   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…

As waters warm and the lobster population booms off Canada, tensions rise between Indigenous and commercial fishermen

By David Abe  Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/globe Staff   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…

Integrating Biology into Ocean Observing Infrastructure: Society Depends on It

By F. Muller- Karger & Others  Photo: Fabrice Dudenhofer & 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…
EPA

Climate Change and Harmful Algal Blooms

01/05/22  
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…

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…

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.

The lobster trap

By Penelope Overton  Photo: Brianna Soukup , Portland Press Herald   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…

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…

Wildlife officials move to feed Florida’s starving manatees

By Lori Rozsa  Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images   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...

Photos show vast coral spawning event in Great Barrier Reef, giving divers hope for climate change recovery

By Ellen Francis  Photo: Gabriel Guzman   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…

Albatrosses, known for monogamy, may be pushed to ‘divorce’ because of climate change, study finds

By Miriam Berger  Photo: Bob Peyton/US Fish and Wildlife Service/AP   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…

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…

Climate change killed 14% of the world’s coral reefs in a decade, study finds

By Ellen Francis  Photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters   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…

Coral microbiome is key to surviving climate change, new study finds

By Sara LaJeunesse  Photo: Sergio Guendulain-García   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…
AGU

Earth is dimming due to climate change

09/30/21  
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…

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,…

A Climate Solution Lies Deep Under the Ocean—But Accessing It Could Have Huge Environmental Costs

By Aryn Baker  Photo: Spencer Lowell , Time   09/07/21  
Scattered three miles deep along the floor of the central Pacific are trillions of black, misshapen nuggets that may just be the solution to an impending energy crisis. Similar in size and appearance to partially…

Could Seaweed Be Key to More Recyclable Packaging?

By Sarah Lozanova   08/30/21  
As consumer demand for more sustainable packaging increases, DS Smith is researching the use of seaweed in paper and packaging products. In particular, the British multinational packaging company is exploring seaweed as an alternative fiber…

Seaweed Farming: Could This Carbon-Negative Crop Help Restore Our Oceans?

By Katherine Gallagher  Photo: Brent Durand / Getty Images   08/09/21  
China has been cultivating seaweed for about 1,700 years. Coastal populations harvested a wide variety of the algae first as a source of food and animal feed, but later for industrial purposes and nutritional supplements…

A critical ocean system may be heading for collapse due to climate change, study finds

By Sarah Kaplan  Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post   08/05/21  
Human-caused warming has led to an “almost complete loss of stability” in the system that drives Atlantic Ocean currents, a new study has found — raising the worrying prospect that this critical aquatic “conveyor belt”…

Deep sea trawling unleashes carbon from the ocean floor

By YCC Team  Photo: Allen M. Shimada , NOAA   08/04/21  
When a whale dies, it sinks to the bottom of the ocean. As it decomposes, much of the carbon that makes up its body stays on the sea floor. The same thing happens when other…

Far from Basic: Action Needed to Fight Ocean Acidification

By Kelsey Kane-Ritsch & Valerie Cleland  Photo: Yaamini Venkataraman/University of Washington   08/03/21  
President Biden’s first year in office is gearing up to be an important year for climate action in the United States and globally—this includes ocean climate action. The benefit of taking comprehensive climate action isn’t…

Policymakers Have Last Chance to Save Coral Reefs From Global Collapse, Warn Scientists

By Elizabeth Waddington  Photo: Brett Monroe Garner , Getty Images   07/29/21  
Scientists had a dire warning at the International Coral Reef Symposium: this decade is a make or break for coral reefs. According to the paper presented at the symposium, this decade is the last chance…

Collaborative Ocean-based Solutions to Climate Change — Together We Can

By Rob Moir   07/25/21  
o meet the ravages of climate change, Congress has introduced the Ocean Based Climate Solutions Act (HR.8632). The ocean covers nearly three-quarters of the planet. Nothing has more of an impact on the climate than…

The scientists fighting to save the ocean’s most important carbon capture system

By Lucy Sherriff  Photo: Tristin McHugh/The Nature Conservancy   07/05/21  
Frank Hurd gently parted the curtains of giant kelp that reached upward through the cold waters of the North Pacific, looking for signs of life. Kelp forests cover a quarter of the world’s coastlines, stretching…

For Florida’s corals, no escape from climate change

By Jena Brooker  Photo: Grist / Dole08 / Getty Images   06/28/21  
As temperatures rise and oceans acidify, coral around the globe is being increasingly threatened by the effects of climate change. But for most coral ecosystems, there may be some respite — scientists say that many…
NPR

Sylvia Earle: My Wish? To Protect Our Oceans

By Manoush Zomorodi and others   06/25/21  
Legendary oceanographer Sylvia Earle has been exploring and working to protect our oceans for more than half a century. Her message has stayed the same: we're taking our oceans for granted.

A ‘virgin plastics’ tax could help save the oceans

By The Editorial Board  Photo: Dayna Smith   06/20/21  
TOUGH, FLEXIBLE and cheap, plastic is essential to modern living. But, much like fossil fuels, the material’s convenience comes at a price. Humans make lots of the stuff, then throw it into the ocean. This…

Climate change: Oceans are in a ‘death spiral’ with world leaders ‘dragging their feet’, Greenpeace warns

By Thomas Moore   06/08/21  
The oceans are in a "death spiral" from climate change and destructive fishing, with world leaders doing little to stop it, an environmental pressure group has warned. Greenpeace says the chemistry of the water is…

World Oceans Day: Plastic Waste Stays Closer to the Coast Than We Thought

By Roya Sabri   06/08/21  
Here’s a grim reminder for today, World Oceans Day: A study just published this month should give a renewed urgency to the importance of corporate plastics promises. While public focus had been drawn toward gyres…

The Big Topic: What You Can Learn From An Ocean

By Robert Kunzig  Photo: Keith Ladzinski   06/08/21  
One of the most strangely exhilarating experiences I’ve had as a journalist happened in the spring of 2000, inside a shipping container on the deck of a ship in the Indian Ocean. The ship was…

New global partnership to elevate marine protected areas as tool in climate response

06/02/21  
Today, the United States, United Kingdom, Chile, Costa Rica, and France announced a new global partnership to advance the role of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as a nature-based solution in the fight against climate change.…
PEW

Coral Reef and Coastal Wetlands Protections Can Help Communities Withstand Climate Impacts

By Emily Owen   06/01/21  
Coral reefs, among the ocean’s most vibrant and productive ecosystems, support tremendous biodiversity and provide important ecosystem services and other benefits for more than 500 million people around the world. Despite covering less than 1%…

Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific reboots ‘Coral Reefs’ exhibits

By Harry Saltzgaver Grunion/SCNG  Photo: Harry Saltzgave   05/31/21  
An exhibit on coral reefs and how global climate change threatens them will be the focus of the Aquarium of the Pacific this summer — as it was supposed to be last year. “Coral Reefs:…

What is ocean literacy and why do we need it?

By Douglas Broom  Photo: Lucy Pemoni/Reuters   05/24/21  
The ocean covers more than 70% of our planet’s surface. It is the last and largest unexplored area on Earth. Yet too few of us really understand how it is inextricably connected to all aspects…

Corals swap in heat-resistant algae to better cope with global warming

By Karina Shah  Photo: Helmut Corneli/Alamy   05/17/21  
Cheryl Logan at California State University in Monterey Bay and her colleagues have developed a model to simulate how these corals – and other coral species – will respond to global warming and ocean acidification.…

$1 million study races to save oysters from acidification in Bay

By Jeremy Cox  Photo: Dave Harp / Bay Journal Media   05/17/21  
When Bruce Vogt launched his oyster farm a decade ago, he opted to raise his bivalves in a creek near the mouth of the York River because of its exceptionally clean water. But he worries…
PBS

Watching a coral reef die in a warming ocean

By Sam Purkis   04/29/21  
The Chagos Archipelago is one of the most remote, seemingly idyllic places on Earth. Coconut-covered sandy beaches with incredible bird life rim tropical islands in the Indian Ocean, hundreds of miles from any continent. Just…

Bizarre Marine Life Movement Might be Indicating Future Mass Extinction

By Charles Stephen   04/26/21  
Science has long acknowledged the wonder of Earth’s tropical waters. Perhaps this is because it offers the richest marine life diversity anywhere on our planet. These range from the fantastic coral reefs to the running…

UC Davis researchers find that seagrasses can reduce the impact of ocean acidification

By Francheska Torres  Photo: Melissa Ward   04/23/21  
The study was started by UC Davis researchers including Tessa Hill, a UC Davis professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. When it was proposed that seagrasses were a way to buffer ocean…

Satellites highlight a 30-year rise in ocean acidification

By European Space Agency  Photo: European Space Agency   04/21/21  
Oceans play a vital role in taking the heat out of climate change, but at a cost. New research supported by ESA and using different satellite measurements of various aspects of seawater along with measurements…

New Partnership Seeks to Protect 18 Million Square Kilometers of Ocean Over Next Five Years

04/20/21  
The ocean covers about 70% of Earth and provides a suite of vital services to humanity

Global warming is causing a more pronounced dip in marine species richness around the equator

By Chhaya Chaudhary , Anthony J. Richardson , David S. Schoeman and Mark J. Costello   04/13/21  
The latitudinal gradient in species richness, with more species in the tropics and richness declining with latitude, is widely known and has been assumed to be stable over recent centuries. We analyzed data on 48,661…

Scientists Find Underwater Plants Can Combat Ocean Acidification

By Liz Allen  Photo: Getty Images   04/12/21  
Human-generated carbon emissions are causing the world’s oceans to become more acidic. Since the start of the industrial revolution, when mankind’s emissions began ramping up, the world’s oceans have already become about 30% more acidic.…

Marine life is fleeing the equator to cooler waters. History tells us this could trigger a mass extinction event

By Anthony Richardson , Chhaya Chaudhary , David Schoeman , Mark John Costello   04/08/21  
The tropical water at the equator is renowned for having the richest diversity of marine life on Earth, with vibrant coral reefs and large aggregations of tunas, sea turtles, manta rays and whale sharks. The…

A Small Hint of Big Trouble in the Oceans

By Moises Velasquez-Manoff and Jeremy White  Graphic: Jeremy White/The New York Times   03/03/21  
Some scientists fear that meltwater from Greenland may be affecting ocean currents that help regulate far-reaching weather patterns.

As Warming Oceans Bring Tough Times to California Crab Fishers, Scientists Say Diversifying is Key to Survival

By Liza Gross  Photo by Paul Morris   02/01/21  
California’s Dungeness crab fishermen have had a rough year. Poor meat quality, endangered whales migrating too close to shore and price disputes with wholesalers kept crab pots on boats for nearly two months. The delays…