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As a natural regulator of the Earth’s climate and cornerstone of the global climate system, the importance of the ocean can no longer be underestimated. From greater risk to coastal areas due to rising sea levels, strong winds, storms and cyclones, to food insecurity among island populations linked to declining marine resources, an unhealthy ocean in a changing climate can yield great environmental, economic and social imbalances.

IOC works with its Member States to monitor and document the impacts of climate change on the world’s ocean, coasts and marine ecosystems. The Global Ocean Observing System, GOOS, contributes directly to the actions under the UN Framework Convention on 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, with a focus on ocean acidification.

From facilitating oceanographic data and information exchange to creating policy tools on integrated coastal area management, IOC works with national and sub-national authorities within its Member States to develop technical and human capacities toward designing ocean-based adaptation and mitigation strategies.

IOC was fully mobilized during the 21st Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 21) and will proactively assist Member States in implementing the Paris Agreement.

The task is clear: to engage with the policy, research and civil society communities for more effective integration of ocean perspectives into climate change mitigation and adaptation mechanisms, while also promoting the importance of a robust scientific knowledge base to support policy development.

IOC climate change programmes and projects 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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