Climate Action for the Ocean

Climate change and ocean acidification are affecting ocean health—and our own survival—in profound ways.

Fortunately, the ocean is resilient and can recover if we take action.


Excess Carbon Dioxide is Changing the Ocean

Warming Waters

When people burn fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas, we release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That carbon dioxide, along with other heat-trapping gases, acts like a blanket that keeps getting thicker around the Earth. The heat that would otherwise be radiated out into space causes the temperature to rise.

The ocean absorbs 80-90 percent of this extra heat. As the ocean's surface warms, it sets off a cascade of impacts including sea-level rise, stronger storms, shrinking sea ice and coral bleaching. Some marine species are moving toward the poles as the ocean warms. Others are less able to adapt to the changes.

A More Acidic Ocean

Our carbon dioxide emissions are affecting the ocean in another major way—and it's about chemistry. Ocean acidification happens when the ocean absorbs some of the carbon pollution we've pumped into the air, triggering a chemical reaction that lowers the ocean's pH. The ocean is already 30 percent more acidic than it was before people started burning fossil fuels.

Acidic seawater makes it tougher for shelled marine animals to survive. The fragile shells of tiny sea snails called pteropods, for example, are thinning as the pH level drops. These impacts ripple through the marine food web, affecting many of our favorite seafood species.


What You Can Do

Climate action means creating a better world for people and the planet.

Working together, we can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, slow global warming and ocean acidification, and adapt to the impacts already in motion.

Raise your voice

Elect leaders who commit to take climate action. Tell candidates for public office—from your city council to United States president—that climate change is important to you. They will listen.

Urge elected officials to take action on climate change. Call, write or tweet your representatives. Ask them to reduce carbon emissions, protect marine habitats, and help us adapt to the changes in motion.

Encourage climate-friendly practices at work and in your community. Start a "green team" at work. Spark a conversation about climate action on social media. Invest in a community solar garden. Recommend a book on climate change at book club. Think creatively—the possibilities are endless!


Join the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Overfishing, pollution and climate change have put the ocean in a precarious position, endangering not just marine life but all life on Earth. But, together, we can turn the tide if we act now. Your support will help us creative positive change for the ocean and the animals that call it home—not just today, but for generations to come.

Donate today

Raise your voice

Elect leaders who commit to take climate action. Tell candidates for public office—from your city council to United States president—that climate change is important to you. They will listen.

Urge elected officials to take action on climate change. Call, write or tweet your representatives. Ask them to reduce carbon emissions, protect marine habitats, and help us adapt to the changes in motion.

Encourage climate-friendly practices at work and in your community. Start a "green team" at work. Spark a conversation about climate action on social media. Invest in a community solar garden. Recommend a book on climate change at book club. Think creatively—the possibilities are endless!


Join the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Overfishing, pollution and climate change have put the ocean in a precarious position, endangering not just marine life but all life on Earth. But, together, we can turn the tide if we act now. Your support will help us creative positive change for the ocean and the animals that call it home—not just today, but for generations to come.

Donate today
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