Ocean acidification

The on-going rise of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is not only changing our climate – it is also changing our oceans.

Ocean acidification

More than a quarter of the CO2 released to the air by human activities is absorbed by the world’s oceans. 

This helps buffer global climate change but also causes seawater to acidify.

This acidification may threaten the delicate balance of life in our oceans.

Take a look below at the research NIWA and its partners are carrying out into this important global issue.   

NIWA is working with a range of national and international partners to understand the impact of ocean acidification and to look for solutions.

You can find out more about our activities at: 

New Zealand Ocean Acidification Observing Network (NZOA-ON)

CARIM

Sustainable Seas

Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network

Commonwealth Blue Charter

Latest news

New Zealand’s changing ocean environment has prompted the call to develop a system that will keep closer tabs on information from scientific monitoring buoys so the data they produce can be shared as widely as possible.

The on-going rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) that is fuelling climate change is also driving significant changes in the waters off our coasts.

At a laboratory just outside Whangarei, scientists are putting very young snapper through comprehensive physical testing - including a full medical check-up involving smell, hearing, vision, and even anxiety testing.
A decade of scientific research into how ocean acidification is affecting New Zealand waters has led to far greater understanding of the vulnerability of our marine ecosystems, according to a newly published review.

Our work

A NIWA-led project to tackle coastal acidification in New Zealand.

Acidification of the world’s oceans from rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels reduces the availability of carbonate required by some marine organisms to build shells and skeletons, and potentially affects their ability to maintain existing structures.

Ocean acidification conditions around the New Zealand coast are being measured to establish baseline conditions and to quantify future change.
Our oceans are expected to become more acidic as carbon dioxide concentrations rise. This will likely have impacts on the plankton, which play a major role in ocean ecosystems and processes.

Latest videos

Ocean acidification - what is it?

The on-going rise of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is not only changing our climate—it is also changing our oceans. Take a look at the work of the NIWA-led CARIM project into what these changes may mean for the delicate balance of marine life.

Mitigating ocean acidification to protect mussels

Professor Cliff Law from NIWA describes research to protect mussels from ocean acidification. New Zealand has a $300 million mussel industry that is under threat from climate change, as coastal waters become increasingly acidic due to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. 

Thin Ice
In late 2013, a group of scientists from NIWA travelled to Antarctica to perform a series of experiments under the sea ice to look at how climate change and ocean acidification could affect this fragile ecosytem.
Ocean acidification

Otago water shows how the ocean is changing.

New Zealand’s changing ocean environment has prompted the call to develop a system that will keep closer tabs on information from scientific monitoring buoys so the data they produce can be shared as widely as possible.

The on-going rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) that is fuelling climate change is also driving significant changes in the waters off our coasts.

Ocean acidification - what is it?

The on-going rise of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is not only changing our climate—it is also changing our oceans. Take a look at the work of the NIWA-led CARIM project into what these changes may mean for the delicate balance of marine life.

Mitigating ocean acidification to protect mussels

Professor Cliff Law from NIWA describes research to protect mussels from ocean acidification. New Zealand has a $300 million mussel industry that is under threat from climate change, as coastal waters become increasingly acidic due to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. 

At a laboratory just outside Whangarei, scientists are putting very young snapper through comprehensive physical testing - including a full medical check-up involving smell, hearing, vision, and even anxiety testing.
A decade of scientific research into how ocean acidification is affecting New Zealand waters has led to far greater understanding of the vulnerability of our marine ecosystems, according to a newly published review.
A NIWA-led project to tackle coastal acidification in New Zealand.
New Zealand’s answer to ocean acidification is a model of the ‘best team’ approach – when organisations pool talent and resources to find solutions to national, or global, issues.]
The world’s oceans are acidifying as a result of the carbon dioxide (CO2) generated by humanity.
Ocean acidification conditions around the New Zealand coast are being measured to establish baseline conditions and to quantify future change.
Thin Ice
In late 2013, a group of scientists from NIWA travelled to Antarctica to perform a series of experiments under the sea ice to look at how climate change and ocean acidification could affect this fragile ecosytem.

Acidification of the world’s oceans from rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels reduces the availability of carbonate required by some marine organisms to build shells and skeletons, and potentially affects their ability to maintain existing structures.

Ocean acidification

Otago water shows how the ocean is changing.

Ocean Acidification

The oceans are an important sink for atmospheric CO2, but as they take up increasing amounts of CO2 they are becoming more acidic.

Our oceans are expected to become more acidic as carbon dioxide concentrations rise. This will likely have impacts on the plankton, which play a major role in ocean ecosystems and processes.
 
 

Key contacts

Principal Scientist-Marine Biogeochemistry
Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology

All staff working on this subject

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Principal Technician - Marine Ecology
Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
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Marine Biogeochemistry Technician
Principal Scientist-Marine Biogeochemistry
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Regional Ocean Modelling System (ROMS) Numerical Modeller
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Marine Biologist (Biosecurity)
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Ocean-Atmosphere Technician
Fisheries Scientist
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