Energy / Climate Change

March 22, 2018


Japan Meteorological Agency Providing Monitored Information on Ocean Acidification Worldwide

Keywords: Climate Change Ecosystems / Biodiversity 

Image by Wicker Paradise Some Rights Reserved.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) announced on November 27, 2017, that it has started providing monitored information on global ocean acidification on a regular basis, making it the first effort of its kind. The information will be updated in the Marine Diagnosis Report on JMA's website, and is expected to be used for inspecting climate models and as a basis for studying applicable measures in Japan and overseas.

The ocean is facing an acidification problem on a worldwide scale, caused by an increase in hydrogen ion concentration (indicated by a decreasing pH level). This is the result of the ocean having absorbed carbon dioxide, a gas that has the greatest impact on global warming, from the air. There is a growing concern that ocean acidification will adversely affect marine ecosystems including coral and plankton.

JMA developed an analytical method to assess pH values of the surface water of global oceans using observed data from two JMA research vessels and from international sources. Using this method, JMA analyzed pH values after 1990.

The results showed that the average pH value had decreased by about 0.05 after 1990 (0.018 decrease per decade). This rate of decrease is faster than the rate reported in the Fifth Assessment Report of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was about a 0.1 decrease over 250 years (0.004 decrease per decade) after the Industrial Revolution, and is as fast as the rate currently predicted for the end of this century.