Climate has a profound effect on life in the oceans. Climate-related changes in ocean ecosystems such as warming oceans, increasing acidification, and rising seas can affect the distribution and abundance of marine species and thereby impact the people and communities that depend on them. We work with partners to understand and respond to changing climate and ocean conditions to help minimize impacts, adapt to the changes that are coming, and ensure that future generations can enjoy the benefits of healthy marine ecosystems.
Communities and economies in southern states are also being impacted by changing climate and ocean conditions. Louisiana loses a football-field-size area of coastal wetlands to the sea every hour due to rising seas and sinking lands.
Climate change is already having a profound effect on life in the oceans. Droughts, floods, rising seas, ocean acidification, and warming oceans are changing the productivity of our waters and areas where wildlife live, spawn, and feed. There is much at risk—marine fisheries and seafood industries support more than $200 billion in economic activity and 1.83 million jobs annually.
We conduct a variety of science activities including monitoring, research, modeling and assessments to inform and fulfill our agency mission. This includes tracking current conditions, providing early warnings and forecasts, understanding the mechanisms of climate impacts, projecting future conditions, and evaluating possible options for fisheries management and protected resources conservation in a changing world.
Learn more about how we are working to understand climate impacts
The NOAA Fisheries Climate Science Strategy is part of a proactive approach to increase the production, delivery, and use of climate-related information needed to fulfill our mandates. The strategy identifies seven objectives to provide decision-makers with the information they need to reduce impacts and increase resilience with changing climate and ocean conditions.
Learn more about the NOAA Fisheries Climate Science Strategy
Working with our partners, we developed regional action plans to guide how we implement our national climate science strategy in each of our regions. The goal is to provide decision-makers with the information they need to reduce impacts of changing climate and oceans and increase resilience of valuable marine resources and the people who depend on them.
Learn more about the Regional Action Plans
We support a NOAA-wide Ocean Acidification Program, established by Congress in 2009, which will plan and oversee a long-term coastal and open-ocean monitoring program and lead research on the impacts of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems and the socioeconomic implications of these impacts.
Learn more about ocean acidification
Our Fish Species Climate Vulnerability Assessment Methodology provides decision-makers with information on the relative vulnerability of fish species with expected changes in climate and ocean conditions. The methodology uses information on species life history characteristics, species distributions and projected future climate, and ocean conditions to estimate the relative vulnerability of fish species to changes in abundance.
Learn more about how we assess the vulnerability of fish stocks
Changes in our climate and our oceans are having very real and profound effects on the natural resources we depend on—including our fisheries and coastal habitats.