NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory Carbon Dioxide Program, located in Seattle, Washington, conducts ocean carbon cycle research from ships and moorings in all of the major ocean basins in collaboration with AOML's CO2 Program.
Carbon Synthesis: The ocean plays an important role in regulating the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and in regulating climate variability and the impact that humans have on the global environment. Click on the image to the left for more information on the global carbon cycle and PMEL's carbon cycle studies.
In support of NOAA's Climate Program and Global Carbon Cycle Program, the PMEL CO2 group has three primary observational activities:
• Air-Sea CO2 Exchange: The ocean helps regulate atmospheric CO2 concentrations through air-sea exchange. The rate of exchange can be determined by making high resolution measurements on research and vessel-of-opportunity ships. The PMEL CO2 Program currently maintains instruments that collect CO2 information from a variety of ships as they transit the oceans. Click on the image to the right for more information on PMEL underway pCO2 program.
• CO2 Time Series: Time series measurements of ocean carbon and air sea exchange help provide information on carbon cycle variability on time scales ranging from hours to years. The PMEL CO2 Program is building a network of CO2 moorings to make high resolution time series measurements in the global ocean. Click on the image to the left for more information on the PMEL CO2 moorings.
• Global Inventory Changes: The PMEL CO2 Program helps monitor changes in ocean carbon chemistry by making inorganic carbon measurements throughout the water column on research cruises in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. This work is organized under the US Clivar/CO2 Repeat Hydrography Program and is coordinated with international partners through the IOCCP. Click on the image to the right for more information on this Program.

New! (The following images contain links to more information):
How is ocean acidity changing? How will ecosystems be affected? What research is being done? For the answers to these questions and more, click the image to the left to go to the Ocean Acidification Network, an information network for the internal scientific community.
Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Coral Reefs and Other Marine Calcifiers July 5, 2006: Worldwide emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning are dramatically altering ocean chemistry and threatening marine organisms, including corals, that secrete skeletal structures and support oceanic biodiversity. The report (accessed via the picture at left) released today summarizes the known effects of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide on these organisms, known as marine calcifiers, and recommends future research for determining the extent of the impacts. Click the image to the left for the full report. (9,677 KB PDF)
Carbon Dioxide and Our Ocean Legacy April 7, 2006: Global climate change is increasing ocean temperatures and raising sea levels. New scientific research shows that our oceans are beginning to face yet another threat due to global climate change - their basic chemistry is changing because of the uptake of carbon dioxide released by human activities. Click the image to the left for the full report. (100KB PDF)
The Dangers of Ocean Acidity:   Listen to RealAudio   Listen to MP3
April 6, 2006: Are humans changing the chemistry of the world's oceans by burning fossil fuels? Is carbon dioxide a threat to coral reefs and marine ecosystems? The problem starts with fuels like coal and gas that release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The excess carbon dioxide contributes to global warming. But carbon dioxide is not just making things hotter. It's also changing the chemistry of the world's oceans. Is the 'acidification' of seawater a threat to the future of coral reefs and other living organisms?
NOAA / NSF Cruise reveals impacts of ocean acidification on chemistry, biology of North Pacific Ocean April 5, 2006: Data collected from ocean sampling in the Pacific Ocean from the southern to northern hemispheres confirms that the oceans are becoming more acidic. A recently completed field study from Tahiti to Alaska collecting data about the effects of ocean acidification on the water chemistry and marine organisms found evidence that verifies earlier computer model projections. These findings are consistent with data from previous field studies conducted in other oceans. Click the image to the left for the full story.
Results from Workshop on the Impacts of Increasing Atmospheric CO2 on Coral Reefs and Other Marine Calcifiers. Calcification rates of several major groups of marine calcifying organisms, from both neritic and pelagic environments, will very likely decrease in response to changes in ocean carbonate chemistry. Although benthic and planktonic calcifiers of both neritic and pelagic communities display a similar response to increased CO2 forcing, important differences exist between the two that will dictate different approaches toward assessing the larger potential effects of reduced calcification on ecosystem structure and function, how the effects could cascade to other ecosystems, and ultimately, the changes in the ocean carbon cycle. Click on the image to the left for results from the April 2005 Workshop in Florida.

U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal in 2006: For pioneering research leading to the discovery of increased acidification in the world's oceans due to the absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide.