Understanding the exposure of the nation’s living marine resources such as shellfish and corals to changing ocean chemistry is a primary goal for the NOAA OAP. Repeat hydrographic surveys, ship-based surface observations, and time series stations (mooring and ship-based) in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans have allowed us to begin to understand the long-term changes in carbonate chemistry in response to ocean acidification.
When the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide, chemical reactions create hydrogen ions that act like free agents, able to react with other compounds. Two ways we track ocean acidification are through pH and total alkalinity (TA). pH is a measure of how many free hydrogen ions are in the seawater. The more carbon dioxide in the ocean, the more these free agents are created, causing lower pH (more acidic).
The partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) tells us how much carbon dioxide is in seawater. This information helps us understand ocean carbonate chemistry and biological productivity in the region. pCO2 increases when the ocean absorbs more CO2 from the atmosphere with elevated emissions.
Alkalinity is the ocean’s buffering system against increasing acidity. Total alkalinity is a measure of the concentration of buffering molecules like carbonate and bicarbonate in the seawater that can neutralize acid.
Dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) tells us how much non-biological carbon is in seawater. Inorganic carbon comes in three main forms that we measure for DIC: carbon dioxide (CO2), bicarbonate (HCO3-), and carbonate (CO32-). Understanding DIC can help us determine the balance of carbonate forms in the ocean and the likelihood of ocean acidification.
There are currently 19 OAP-supported buoys in coastal, open-ocean and coral reef waters which contribute to NOAA's Ocean Acidification Monitoring Program, with other deployments planned.
Currently, there are two types of floating devices which instruments can be added in order to measure various ocean characteristics - buoys and wave gliders. Buoys are moored, allowing them to remain stationary and for scientists to get measurements from the same place over time. The time series created from these measurements are key to understanding how ocean chemistry is changing over time. There are also buoys moored in the open-ocean and near coral reef ecosystems to monitor the changes in the carbonate chemistry in these ecosystems. The MAP CO2 sensors on these buoys measure pCO2 every three hours.
Access our buoy data
Research cruises are a way to collect information about a certain ecosystem or area of interest.
For decades, scientists have learned about physical, chemical and biological properties of the ocean and coasts by observations made at sea. Measurements taken during research cruises can be used to validate data taken by autonomous instruments. One instrument often used on research cruises is a conductivity, temperature, and depth sensor (CTD), which measures the physical state of the water (temperature, salinity, and depth). The sensor often goes in the water on a rosette, which also carries niskin bottles used to collect water samples from various depths in the water column. Numerous chemical and biological properties can be measured from water collected in niskin bottles.
Ships of Opportunity (SOPs) or Volunteer Observing Ships (VOSs) are vessels at sea for other reasons than ocean acidification studies, such as commercial cargo ships or ferries.
The owners of these vessels allow scientific instrumentation that measures ocean acidification (OA) parameters to be installed and collect data while the ship is underway. This allows data on ocean chemistry to be collected in many remote areas of the world's ocean, such as high latitude waters, long distances from land (e.g. mid-basin waters), and places not easily accessible by research cruises. These partnerships have greatly increased the spatial coverage of OA monitoring world-wide. To learn more, check out the Ships of Opportunity programs established by the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) and the NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic Marine Laboratory (AOML).
Scientists at the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) are working with engineers at Liquid Robotics, Inc. to optimize a Carbon Wave Glider.
This instrument (pictured above) can be driven via satellite from land. Carbon Wave Gliders can be outfitted with pCO2, pH, oxygen, temperature and salinity sensors, and the glider’s equipment takes measurements as it moves through the water. The glider’s motion is driven by wave energy, and its sensors are powered through solar cells and batteries, when needed.
NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) in partnership with OAP is engaged in a coordinated and targeted series of field observations, moorings and ecological monitoring efforts in coral reef ecosystems.
These efforts are designed to document the dynamics of ocean acidification (OA) in coral reef systems and track the status and trends in ecosystem response. This effort serves as a subset of a broader CRCP initiative referred to as the National Coral Reef Monitoring Plan, which was established to support conservation of the Nation’s coral reef ecosystems. The OAP contributes to this plan through overseeing and coordinating carbonate chemistry monitoring. This monitoring includes a broadly distributed spatial water sampling campaign complemented by a more limited set of moored instruments deployed at a small subset of representative sites in both the Atlantic/Caribbean and Pacific regions. Coral reef carbonate chemistry monitoring is implemented by researchers at the NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) and NOAA's PIFSC Coral Reef Ecosystems Division.
Ocean acidification could have deep impacts for salmon in the Puget Sound.
Tiffany Grunzel from the University of Washington Communications Leadership program, interviews Dr. Shallin Busch (NOAA), Dr. Chase Williams (UW), and Robert Purser Jr. (Susquamish Fisheries) about the direct and indirect impacts of ocean acidification on salmon and what this could mean for tribal culture and the seafood industry.
A link to the video can be found [EasyDNNnewsLink|79]
The NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), Climate Program Office and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Office of Science and Technology have established a partnership to advance understanding of climate-related impacts on fish or other species that support economically important fisheries. The goal is to inform sustainable fisheries management and promote resilience of the nation’s fish stocks and fisheries in a changing climate.
For FY17, this OAR/NMFS partnership, through the Coastal and Ocean Climate Applications (COCA) Program, will continue to take a regional approach to improving the resilience and adaptation of fisheries in a changing climate by soliciting proposals under two competitions. The first competition solicits proposals for projects in the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem (CCLME) and the second competition solicits proposals for projects in the Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem (NESLME). Through this announcement, it is estimated that approximately $2.2 million will be available in FY2017 for new awards pending budget appropriations. For competition I, projects can request up to $700,000 a year for three years, for a total of $2.1 million over three years. For competition II, projects can request up to $500,000 a year for three years for a total of $1.5 million over three years.
The University of South Carolina (Columbia, South Carolina, USA) and the Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences is seeking a postdoctoral fellow, funded by the Nippon Foundation-Nereus Program, to join our interdisciplinary team of researchers to explore the responses of forage fish populations in eastern boundary upwelling ecosystems to physical and biogeochemical variability associated with future climate change. The goal of the project is estimation of fisheries productivity given projected changes in upwelling intensity and seasonality, nutrient stoichiometry, acidification, and plankton production and composition.