Ocean acidification – what to measure and what to report?

The aim of SDG 14 is to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources”, and it encompasses 10 targets. The Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON) is particularly involved in supporting countries to achieve Target 14.3, which aims to “minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through scientific cooperation at all levels”. GOA-ON made a voluntary commitment (#OceanAction16542) to expand the spatial and temporal coverage of ocean acidification observations around the world. To achieve this, GOA-ON participates in and organizes international meetings and world-wide capacity building workshops, which consist of practical technical training and lectures. In some cases, GOA-ON has been able to provide the necessary sensing equipment (‘GOA-ON in a box’) to scientists around the globe, supported by regional hubs of the network, e.g. the Latin American Ocean Acidification Network (LAOCA) and WESTPAC (#OceanAction15274). GOA-ON currently has 475 members from 75 countries, and is constantly growing. GOA-ON members were encouraged to explore the features of a new Ocean Acidification Information Exchange platform recently launched with the support of the US Interagency Working Group on Ocean Acidification and NOAA and operated by the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems to enable discussions and facilitate communication within the OA community.

Members of the GOA-ON Executive Council, including experts from IOCCP/GOOS, the OA-ICC of the IAEA, IOC-UNESCO, NOAA, and international scientists, held their 5th Annual Meeting at the Institute of Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IO PAN) in Sopot, Poland from 28 to 30 May to review the methodology for Indicator 14.3.1 (“average marine acidity measured at an agreed suite of representative sampling stations”- IOC-UNESCO custodian agency). This methodology provides detailed guidance to scientists and countries in terms of what variables to measure and how, following best practices guidelines established by the ocean acidification community. It also provides recommendation on how to report the collected information in a manner that ensures it is transparent, traceable and can be utilized in a global comparison of pH measurements. Through this process, GOA-ON directly contributes to the achievement of SDG Target 14.3. The collective expertise of GOA-ON in science and policy ensures the development of a guiding vision for the collection and sharing of ocean chemistry data, which in the future will extend to biological data.

Ocean acidification recently gained further recognition through its adoption as a Global Climate Indicator in the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Statement of the State of the Global Climate, which is submitted to the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Global Climate Indicators are a suite of seven parameters that describe the changing climate, without reducing climate change to temperature. The Indicators include key information for the most relevant domains of climate change, such as the atmospheric composition, energy, ocean, water and the cryosphere. The inclusion of ocean acidification in this list sends a strong signal of recognition and underlines the importance of SDG Target 14.3.

Ocean acidification – what to measure and what to report? Communities of Ocean Action Newsletter, 8 June 2018. Newsletter.

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