Climate Change

The overall health of the ocean and national marine sanctuaries will be impacted by climate change. National marine sanctuaries and monuments must contend with rising water temperatures and sea levels, water that is more acidic and contains less oxygen, shifting species, and altered weather patterns and storms.

A male scuba diver floats near the surface of the water above a colorful coral reef.

Climate Change and Your National Marine Sanctuaries

Discover how climate change is affecting our nation’s underwater treasures, what the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is doing about it, and how you can help.

Side by side comparison of before and after of bleaching event. From left to right: Green mountain with blue sky and large white clouds. Below the surface, a colorful brown reef with half of a large rock formation with trees showing. Other half of rock formation is on right with a whole bleached reef under the water.

Climate Science

National marine sanctuaries and partner organizations monitor ocean conditions and assess the impacts of a changing climate on ecosystems and coastal communities. Sanctuaries serve as sentinel sites where the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification can be studied.

Climate change impacts reports from Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. Left to right: two humpback whales surfacing and birds in Stellwagen National Marine Sanctuary. Orca whale breaching in Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary.

Sanctuary Climate Change Impact Profiles

The impacts of climate change are intensifying both globally and locally, threatening America’s physical, social, economic, and environmental well-being. Explore how each sanctuary and monuments in the national marine sanctuary system is being, and is projected to be, affected by climate change.

From top to bottom: Mangrove forest with sun shining through trees, surface of water, underwater with branches of trees in view.

Blue Carbon in Marine Protected Areas: A Guide to Understanding and Increasing Protection of Blue Carbon

These "blue carbon" ecosystems help mitigate climate change and its impacts by facilitating the uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) into the ocean and transporting carbon into sediments or deep waters, where it can remain indefinitely if undisturbed.

Four photo collage: From left to right and top row to bottom: Humpback whale breaching in blue water, kelp forest in turquoise water, seagrass on shore with green mountain in the back, white birds on water with mountains in the background and blue sky.

Blue Carbon in Marine Protected Areas: A Blue Carbon Assessment of Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary

The study, conducted by Greater Farallones Association for Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, assessed two coastal blue carbon habitats, seagrasses and salt marshes, and two oceanic carbon sequestration processes, kelp exports and whale deadfalls.

Mangrove forest with bright green leaves.

Blue Carbon

Blue carbon is the term for carbon captured by the world's ocean and coastal ecosystems. Coastal and marine ecosystems play a significant role in the global carbon cycle, sequestering and storing carbon over long timescales.

Hand drawing of earth from space with black background.

What is the Carbon Cycle?

The carbon cycle is nature's way of recycling carbon atoms. Carbon is the foundation for all life on Earth.

White glacier with gray sky and dark water.

NOAA Climate

From supercomputers and state-of-the-art models to observations and outlooks, we provide data, tools, and information to help people understand and prepare for climate variability and change.