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Mitigation of the Impacts of and Adaptation to Climate Change and Variability

Whether caused by increasing greenhouse gases, coastal pollution, overfishing, coastal development or increasing population pressure, the world’s ocean, coasts and marine ecosystems are undergoing great changes. The IOC works with developed and developing countries to monitor and document changes to aid design of adaptation and mitigation strategies.

The importance of the oceans to global climate change cannot be underestimated. The Global Ocean Observing System, GOOS, contributes directly to the actions under the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change as the ocean component of the Global Climate Observation System, GCOS. IOC science programmes support many studies of the impacts of climate change, including the International Ocean Carbon Coordination Project (IOCCP). World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), and the Ocean Observations Panel for Climate (OOPC). The ocean  surface currently absorbs almost one-third of the CO2 that is emitted to the atmosphere from human activities, including fossil fuel combustion, deforestation, and cement production. The IOCCP coordinates RV hydrography, continuous monitoring and research of the effects of increasing CO2 levels on the future acidity of the oceans, the effects of acidification on calcifying organisms and coral growth rates, and the changing climate effects on atmosphere/ocean exchange of CO2.

The direct results of human activities on the ocean and through climate change are causing the blue part of this blue planet to warm, rise, and lose oxygen. IOC focuses on the impact of acidification from increasing CO2 levels in the ocean, studies the prevalence of coral bleaching due to sea temperature rise, the changes occurring in marine biodiversity, and the proliferation of harmful algae along the coast. Assessing the extent of ocean changes is the first step in helping to determine what management decisions need action.  

IOC climate change programmes include:

  • GOOS, Global Ocean Observing System
  • WCRP World Climate Research Programme
  • OOPC Ocean Observations Panel for Climate
  • GLOSS Global Sea Level Observing System
  • OBIS Ocean Biogeographic Information System
  • IOCCP International Ocean Carbon Coordination Project
  • GO-SHIP Global Ocean Ship Based Hydrographic Investigations Programme
  • Ocean-Acidification
  • GCRMN (Climate Change and ecosystems, coral reefs)
  • GLOBEC (Climate Change and ecosystem dynamics)
  • ACC Africa (Adaptation Climate Change in Africa)
  • ACCC-WAfrica (Adaptation Climate and Coastal Change in West Africa)
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