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Assessment of the Observing Network to Identify Processes Relevant to the Predictability of the Coastal Ocean of the Northeast on Centennial Time Scales

Samantha Siedlecki, University of Connecticut

Over the past 15 years, waters in the Gulf of Maine have taken up carbon dioxide (CO2) at a rate significantly slower than that observed in the open oceans due to a combination of the extreme warming experienced in the region and an increased presence of well-buffered Gulf Stream water [Salisbury and Johnson 2018]. The reduced uptake of CO2 by the shelves could also alter local acidification rate, which differ from the global rates. The intrusion of anthropogenic CO2 is not the only mechanism that can reduce Ωarag within coastal surface waters. Local processes like freshwater delivery, eutrophication, water column metabolism, and sediment interactions that drive variability on regional scales can also modify spatial variability in Ωarag [Cai et al. 2011; Siedlecki et al. 2017; Qi et al., 2017; Pilcher et al. 2018; Feely et al. 2008; 2018]. Global projections cannot resolve these local processes with resolution of a degree or more. Some high-resolution global projections have been developed which perform well in some coastal settings [Saba et al. 2016]. However, these simulations do not include regional biogeochemical processes described above which can amplify or dampen these global changes, particularly in coastal shelf regions. Our hypothesis is that a regionally downscaled projection for the east coast of the US can be used to evaluate the ability of the existing observational network to detect changes in ocean acidification relevant stressors for scallops and propose a process-based strategy for the network moving forward.

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The NOAA Ocean Acidification Program (OAP) works to prepare society to adapt to the consequences of ocean acidification and conserve marine ecosystems as acidification occurs. Learn more about the human connections and adaptation strategies from these efforts.

Adaptation approaches fostered by the OAP include:


Using models and research to understand the sensitivity of organisms and ecosystems to ocean acidification to make predictions about the future, allowing communities and industries to prepare


Using these models and predictions as tools to facilitate management strategies that will protect marine resources and communities from future changes


Developing innovative tools to help monitor ocean acidification and mitigate changing ocean chemistry locally


On the Road

Drive fuel-efficient vehicles or choose public transportation. Choose your bike or walk! Don't sit idle for more than 30 seconds. Keep your tires properly inflated.

With your Food Choices

Eat local- this helps cut down on production and transport! Reduce your meat and dairy. Compost to avoid food waste ending up in the landfill

With your Food Choices

Make energy-efficient choices for your appliances and lighting. Heat and cool efficiently! Change your air filters and program your thermostat, seal and insulate your home, and support clean energy sources

By Reducing Coastal Acidification

Reduce your use of fertilizers, Improve sewage treatment and run off, and Protect and restore coastal habitats

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You've taken the first step to learn more about ocean acidification - why not spread this knowledge to your community?

Every community has their unique culture, economy and ecology and what’s at stake from ocean acidification may be different depending on where you live.  As a community member, you can take a larger role in educating the public about ocean acidification. Creating awareness is the first step to taking action.  As communities gain traction, neighboring regions that share marine resources can build larger coalitions to address ocean acidification.  Here are some ideas to get started:

  1. Work with informal educators, such as aquarium outreach programs and local non-profits, to teach the public about ocean acidification. Visit our Education & Outreach page to find the newest tools!
  2. Participate in habitat restoration efforts to restore habitats that help mitigate the effects of coastal acidification
  3. Facilitate conversations with local businesses that might be affected by ocean acidification, building a plan for the future.
  4. Partner with local community efforts to mitigate the driver behind ocean acidification  – excess CO2 – such as community supported agriculture, bike & car shares and other public transportation options.
  5. Contact your regional Coastal Acidification Network (CAN) to learn how OA is affecting your region and more ideas about how you can get involved in your community
       More for Taking Community Action