The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is to launch a new centre this summer to address the growing problem of ocean acidification. Operated by the Agency’s Monaco Environmental Laboratories, the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre will serve the scientific community – as well as policymakers, universities, media and the general public – by facilitating, promoting and communicating global actions on ocean acidification.
Growing amounts of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere are being absorbed in the planet’s oceans which increases their acidity. According to the experts, ocean acidification may render most regions of the ocean inhospitable to coral reefs by 2050 if atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continue to increase. This could lead to substantial changes in commercial fish stocks, threatening food security for millions of people as well as the multi-billion dollar fishing industry. International scientists have been studying the effect and possible responses, and the new centre will help coordinate their efforts.
“During the past five years, numerous multinational and national research projects on ocean acidification have emerged and significant research advances have been made,” said Daud bin Mohamad, IAEA Deputy Director General for Nuclear Sciences and Applications. “The time is now ripe to provide international coordination to gain the greatest value from national efforts and research investments.”
The centre will be supported by several IAEA Member States and through the Peaceful Uses Initiative, and it will be overseen by an Advisory Board consisting of leading institutions, including the U.N. Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco, the OA-Reference User Group, as well as leading scientists and economists in the field.
The new centre will focus on international activities which are not currently funded at national or international levels. The centre’s role will be to facilitate, promote and communicate these activities related to global actions on ocean acidification, including international observation, joint platforms and facilities, collaboration between natural and social sciences, exchange of students and scientists, joint experiments, definition of best practices, open-access bibliographic database, data management, capacity building and dissemination.
For additional information, please contact:
IAEA Environment Laboratories
Tel: [+377] 97977201
Fax: [+377] 97977275
IAEA, 16 June 2012. Press release.