CO2 World Symposium Launches New Centre on Ocean Acidification, Prize for Ocean Health

The shell pictured here is a victim of ocean acidification. Its normally-protective shell is so thin and fragile, it is transparent. © NOAA8 October 2012: The Third Symposium on "The Ocean in a High CO2 World" brought together experts and decision makers to discuss the impacts of ocean acidification, including socioeconomic consequences, and to consider management and policy implications. Participants reiterated that the primary means of protecting the oceans from acidification is to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emission, calling for greater global concerted efforts.

The symposium took place in Monterrey, US, from 24-27 September 2012, and was co-hosted by the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The symposium saw the launch of three new initiatives, namely: a new ocean acidification tour in Google Earth that explores the phenomenon of ocean acidification and explains why even small changes to ocean carbon chemistry could have profound implications for marine life and future economic activities; a new international centre aimed at coordinating international research and link science and policy, based at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Environment Laboratories in Monaco, which will be overseen by an Advisory Board consisting of leading scientists, economists and institutions, including UNESCO-IOC, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco; and the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health X-Prize, challenging entrepreneurs to come up with new pH monitoring systems that are portable and easy to deploy in any conditions.

The symposium also provided an opportunity to share the latest knowledge on ocean acidification, with recent studies showing that some species are adapting, others suffer and will decline, and still others will go extinct.

The symposium was the third in a series of events that aim to provide an interdisciplinary forum to assess what is known about ocean acidification and priorities for future research every four years. [UNESCO Press Release] [Website of Third Symposium on the Ocean in a High‐CO2 World]