About the UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme

Changes in mean ocean pH as a result of anthropogenic CO2 emissions and atmospheric CO2 concentrations (Caldeira, Wickett 2003)Widespread concerns about ocean acidification emerged after the Royal Society Report "Ocean acidification due to increasing atmospheric CO2'‘ in 2005. Research at that time was limited to a few individuals but since then numerous national and international organisations have called for increased research effort into this emerging science area.

The £12M, 5 year UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme (UKOA) is the UK’s response and is jointly funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

The programme aims to:

  • Reduce uncertainties in predictions of carbonate chemistry changes and their effects on marine biogeochemistry, ecosystems and other components of the Earth System
  • Understand the responses to ocean acidification, and other climate change related stressors, by marine organisms, biodiversity and ecosystems and to improve understanding of their resistance or susceptibility to acidification
  • Provide data and effective advice to policy makers and managers of marine bioresources on the potential size and timescale of risks, to allow for development of appropriate mitigation and adaptation strategies.

The outputs of this programme will include:

  • Feed into the cross-government Climate Change Adaptation programme
  • Make a significant contribution to the Living With Environmental Change programme
  • Provide evidence to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report on Climate Change
  • Provide information to marine bioresource managers, policy makers negotiating CO2 emissions reduction and other stakeholders  

Co-ordinators and funders of the international programmes meet in Brussels to discuss the future of ocean acidification research The programme will take advantage of international collaboration opportunities, primarily with the German ocean acidification programme (BIOACID), the European research programme (EPOCA),the Mediterranean programme (MedSeA) and potentially with the emerging US ocean acidification research programme.

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