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Excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – in addition to contributing to climate change  – is absorbed by the ocean, making sea water more acidic and leading to a suite of changes in ocean chemistry. Preliminary evidence suggests ocean acidification will have negative effects on corals, shellfish, and other marine life, with wide-ranging consequences for ecosystems, fisheries, and tourism. The National Research Council’s Ocean Studies Board produced a report and a number of supporting materials focusing on ocean acidification.

Expert Consensus Reports

Review of the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Plan (2013)

oceanacid2013

Review of the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Plan reviews the “Strategic Plan for Federal Research and Monitoring of Ocean Acidification” on the basis of how well it fulfills program elements laid out in the 2009 Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring (FOARAM) Act and follows the advice provided to the working group in the NRC’s 2010 report, Ocean Acidification: A National Strategy to Meet the Challenges of a Changing Ocean.

Report cover imageOcean Acidification: A National Strategy to Meet the Challenges of a Changing Ocean (2009)

The report Ocean Acidification: A National Strategy to Meet the Challenges of a Changing Ocean, requested by Congress, reviews the current state of knowledge and identifies gaps in understanding, and provides scientific advice to help guide the national ocean acidification research program.

Report Key FindingsA two-page document summarizing the key findings of this report is also available. Read and/or download the key findings here.
Booklet Based on Report

Based on the report’s conclusions, this booklet, Ocean Acidification: Starting with the Science, describes the well-understood chemistry of ocean acidification and explores the many questions that remain: How will ocean acidification impact marine life? How will the effects scale up from individual species to whole ecosystems? What will ocean acidification mean for aquaculture, the fishing industry, and coastal tourism? Read and/or download a PDF of the booklet.

Podcast

Download a podcast from the National Academies’ Sounds of Science series based on the Ocean Acidification report.

The carbon cycle

The carbon cycle

Processes of ocean acidification

Processes of ocean acidification

Two figures, one showing the chemical reactions of ocean acidification and one illustrating the carbon cycle, were created for the booklet. High-resolution and web-ready versions of both are now available here for download and use.

 

Interviews with report authors

In two interviews following the report’s release, two ocean scientists – both members of the committee that wrote this report – shared insights from their own research. Those interviews can be found here.

James Barry and Joanie Kleypas

This study was supported by Contract/Grant No. DG133R-08-CQ-0062, OCE-0946330, NNX09AU42G, and G09AP00160 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and U.S. Geological Survey. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. | Resources from the National Research Council’s Ocean Studies Board