Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Data requirements for quantifying natural variability and the background ocean carbon sink in mCDR models

Air-Sea Interaction Spar buoy. Credit: Lt. Elizabeth Crapo, NOAA Corps

Why we care
Ocean uptake of carbon has great natural variability that accompanies rising atmospheric carbon dioxide. A major challenge for marine carbon dioxide removal will be to quantify its additional carbon removal from the atmosphere. Ocean models can quantify carbon uptake attributed to marine carbon dioxide removal will likely be the basis for carbon credit calculations for carbon markets.

What we will do
Better quantification of air-sea CO2 fluxes at regional scales is required before mCDR additionality can be quantified.

“Marine carbon dioxide removal presents exciting new challenges for scientists who have been working for decades to measure the ocean carbon sink that naturally removes 25% of humanity’s carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere each year” says Dr. Galen McKinley of Columbia University. “In this project, we will apply state-of-the-art methods we’ve developed for ocean carbon sink studies to the challenge of marine carbon dioxide removal monitoring, reporting and verification.” To validate the models that will be required to estimate carbon credits for marine carbon dioxide, the team will determine the natural background carbon uptake, its variability, and the degree of certainty with which it is known in areas where marine carbon dioxide removal deployments are likely to occur. The project will also determine the requirements for additional sampling of pCO2, a measure of the carbon dioxide in seawater, needed to quantify the baseline ocean carbon sink in models. This work will develop machine learning approaches for use in marine carbon dioxide removal monitoring, reporting and verification. It will also support future observing system development, both critical for future development of observation-based benchmarks for evaluation of proposed marine carbon dioxide removal models.

Benefits of our work 
This work will inform future investments in ocean observing required prior to implementing future research or marine carbon dioxide removal. It will also identify regions that might already have sufficient background data that may be poised for next steps. The project supports workforce development in the area of ocean carbon cycling and machine learning, critical skills for this growing field. 

Award amount: $589,464.00
Funding source(s): National Science Foundation, NOAA Ocean Acidification Program
Project duration: 3 years


Galen McKinley, Columbia University (Publications)
Thea Hatlen Heimdal, Columbia University
Adrienne Sutton, NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory

Image: Air-Sea Interaction Spar (ASIS) buoys like this one can provide information critical for Earth Systems modeling that informs planning and implementation of marine carbon dioxide removal. Photographer: Lieutenant Elizabeth Crapo, NOAA Corps.

Scroll to Top


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

Previous slide
Next slide


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