Wednesday, October 07, 2015

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The NOAA Ocean Acidification Program is actively engaged with international partners.  NOAA scientists helped found the SOLAS IMBER Ocean Acidification Working Group and the International Coordination Centre (ICC) on Ocean Acidification. NOAA representatives sit on advisory boards for both of these important international OA bodies.  As part of our participation in the ICC, Dr. Richard Feely, Senior Scientist at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, is leading the coordination of global open ocean and coastal OA observing.  Last summer an International Observing Network Workshop was held in Seattle in June 2012, and initiated this important international coordination process.  The NOAA OA Program, in partnership with the Department of State and the Natural Resources Defense Council, organized side events at the recently held Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, held in Brazil in June 2012.  The side meetings were important for raising awareness about ocean acidification and were held in concert with international colleagues.  Dr. Jane Lubchenco, NOAA Administrator, and Sir John Beddington, chief scientific adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron published a joint op-ed in the International Herald Tribune. The Op-Ed stressed the need for the International Coordination Centre which was established soon thereafter.

NOAA regularly participates in bilateral meetings and agreements with a range of countries including China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Indonesia, Australia, Norway and EU countries, covering a range of topics which now emphasize ocean acidification monitoring and research.

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NOAA’s own Dr. Libby Jewett talks Ocean Acidification at the UN

On June 18th, 2013, Dr. Libby Jewett, director of the NOAA Ocean Acidification program spoke as one of the panelists at the fourteenth meeting of the UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea.  This year’s topic focused on the impact of ocean acidification on the marine environment.  Panelists from all over the world including Monaco, Palau, the U.S., Thailand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Viet Nam and Sri Lanka talked about the impacts of ocean acidification on coastal and open ocean waters and the impact of ocean acidification on ocean life. Ocean acidification refers to the changes in ocean carbonate chemistry primarily due to uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  This change in chemistry of the water can make it harder for organisms like corals, oysters, and clams to build and maintain shells.  The discussions at the UN centered around how the General Assembly could coordinate activities of international organizations working on ocean acidification; the role of marine protected areas as a source of resilience against ocean acidification; how ocean acidification impacts fisheries and tourism, and the need for information sharing, technical assistance, and capacity building.  The fact that the UN is focusing on ocean acidification is a testament to the impact this issue has had around the world, and the need for further research into its impacts.  The NOAA Ocean Acidification program was established according to section 12406 of the 2009 Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act (FOARAM) to fund, oversee and coordinate research, monitoring, and other activities related to ocean acidification.  More information on the UN meeting go can be found here.