NOAA Offers a New Tool to Track Ocean Acidification in the Caribbean

NOAA Coral Reef Watch is pleased to announce a new tool for monitoring ocean acidification in the surface waters of the Greater Caribbean Region. Through an innovative approach combining ship observations and satellite data, a detailed picture of ocean acidification across much of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico is now available. The new tool is described in the October 31, 2008 issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research ? Oceans and reveals significant ocean acidification across the region. The study used four years of ocean chemistry observations provided by NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) that were taken aboard the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line ship Explorer of the Sea. The ship observations were used to develop a satellite-based model to discern changes in surface chemistry due to ocean acidification over the past two decades. The article can be found at http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2007JC004629.shtml

The new Ocean Acidification products are available at http://coralreefwatch.noaa.gov/satellite/oa/ , along with animations of the changes since 1988. The products will be updated the first week of each month. The website provides regional maps of a variety of ?ocean acidification?-relevant parameters and also hosts a series of other features including a regional time-series and an Introduction to Ocean Acidification discussion section. Future work will expand this to other coral reef regions around the globe.



The new system allows NOAA to continuously estimate surface ocean carbonate chemistry at monthly timescales and reveals considerable seasonal variability, especially in waters around the Florida Keys. How this variability might affect the susceptibility of these reefs to future ocean acidification is uncertain but could be an important consideration when predicting the long-term impacts.
Authors of the paper are Dwight K. Gledhill, NOAA NESDIS Coral Reef Watch, E/RA31, 1335 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3226; Rik Wanninkhof, NOAA OAR AOML, 4301 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149; Frank J. Millero, Rosenstiel School, University of Miami, 4600, Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149; and C. Mark Eakin, NOAA NESDIS Coral Reef Watch, E/RA31, 1335 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3226.

All of the Coral Reef Watch experimental products are available at http://coralreefwatch.noaa.gov/satellite/current/experimental_products.html

For more information on this product suite and to request reprints, please contact Dwight.Gledhill (at) noaa.gov.

Mark Eakin, 14 November 2008.

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