13.05.2014 - Natural Sciences Sector

IOC-UNESCO and KIOST strengthen their collaboration for ocean carbon research

Compared with preindustrial levels shown here, the projected increase in ocean acidity is about 170% by 2100 if high CO2 emissions continue (RCP* 8.5).

The study of ocean carbon is key to our understanding of global processes stemming from global change. In recent years, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) was able to foster international collaboration and create synergies in ocean carbon research and sustained observations through the 1st phase of the Ocean Carbon Sources and Sinks project, funded by the Republic of Korea, via the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST). These efforts have provided an impulse in the field, in order to deliver improved products for the scientific community, policymakers and stakeholders.

On 5 May 2014, IOC-UNESCO and KIOST signed a new agreement to strengthen their collaboration and continue to support the implementation of the Ocean Carbon Sources and Sinks project. Building on the momentum of the first phase, ongoing activities will be maintained and reinforced.

Signature of the UNESCO/Republic of Korea Funds-in-Trust Agreement for the project Ocean Carbon Sources and Sinks II, May 2014. © Kiost

The core objective of this 2nd phase is to catalyze and enhance the cooperation of ocean carbon monitoring and research activities, in order to align carbon measurements and to track the impacts of higher levels of CO2 in the ocean. It also includes innovative actions to raise public awareness of the threats to ocean and human health posed by increased atmospheric and marine CO2 concentration. The outcomes are crucial to determine likely impacts on ecosystem sustainability and human wellbeing.

In this second phase, the project will continue to be based on three main pillars:

  • Ocean Carbon Observation and Monitoring,
  • Ocean Acidification, and
  • Coastal Blue Carbon.

This format proved itself through the broad success of the first phase, thus motivating the continued engagement of the Republic of Korea in this fruitful collaboration.

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