In 2017, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the time frame of 2021-2030 as the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, also known as the “Ocean Decade,” to address the degradation of the ocean and encourage innovative science initiatives to better understand and ultimately reverse its declining health.
Several collaborative initiatives featuring work by scientists at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) have recently been endorsed in the first Ocean Decade Actions announcement, made by the United Nations Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO in 2021.
Scientists at AOML are collaborating with national and international partners and stakeholders to carry out research that supports the vision of the UN Ocean Decade through initiatives such as the Observing Air-Sea Interactions Strategy (OASIS), the Ocean Biomolecular Observing Network (OBON), the Global Ocean Biogeochemistry Array (GO-BGC), and the Ocean Acidification Research for Sustainability (OARS) program.
AOML contributes to the Ocean Acidification Research for Sustainability (OARS) initiative by participating in several international research programs that track changes of carbon in the ocean. For example, scientists at AOML support the Global Ocean Ship-based Hydrographic Investigations Program (GO-SHIP), by conducting GO-SHIP cruises along ocean transects that are decadally resampled to quantify changes in the storage and movement of heat, freshwater, carbon dioxide, and nutrients at all depths in the water column. AOML also supports the Climate and Ocean: Variability, Predictability, and Change (CLIVAR), and Ship of Opportunity (SOOP) projects to better understand the dynamics, interaction, and predictability of the climate system, as well as the impacts of increasing carbon dioxide levels on marine ecosystems. To this end, AOML uses Moored Autonomous pCO2 (MAPCO2) buoys to monitor ocean acidification in coral communities at Cheeca Rocks in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and La Parguera Natural Reserve in Puerto Rico.
AOML’s efforts to better understand changes in the marine environment, improve weather forecasting, and drive forward innovative scientific research is much needed at a time when ocean health is declining. Through collaboration and participation in endorsed Ocean Decade Actions, such as the Observing Air-Sea Interactions Strategy (OASIS), the Ocean Biomolecular Observing Network (OBON), the Global Ocean Biogeochemistry Array (GO-BGC), and the Ocean Acidification Research for Sustainability (OARS) program, AOML supports the management and sustainability of a healthy ocean. To see a full list of endorsed Ocean Decade Actions, visit the official Ocean Decade website.
AOML Communications, NOAA, 19 July 2021. Full article.