UNESCO Launches Ocean Acidification Website

Unesco1 April 2014: Ocean acidification impacts are occurring across the globe, from small islands to large continents and from the tropics to the poles, according to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). UNESCO and its partners have launched a website that brings together information on ocean acidification, which is also described as the "other carbon dioxide problem."

The ocean absorbs 24 million tons of carbon dioxide per day, contributing to an acidification rate more than ten times faster than at any time in the last 55 million years, according to UNESCO. When the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere, chemical reactions decrease the pH of seawater, a process known as acidification.  UNESCO also draws attention to a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), ‘Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability,' which highlights that interactions among drivers, such as ocean acidification and global warming, lead to complex impacts for ecosystems and species.

The website aims to raise awareness on ocean acidification challenges among scientists, policymakers and the public. For policymakers, for example, it highlights the potential for ocean acidification to negatively impact livelihoods as a result of damage to marine habitats and resources. It underscores that small island developing States (SIDS), developing countries and indigenous peoples in the Arctic are highly vulnerable to ocean acidification because of their populations' reliance on fish and marine resources.

The website features publications, infographics, presentations, news and background information. It includes sections on: ocean acidification by the numbers; international symposia; multimedia resources, including videos and educational tools; and publications.

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO), the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) and the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Center (OA-ICC) developed the website. [UNESCO Press Release] [Ocean Acidification Website]