Climate Change
Blue Carbon

Blue carbon is the carbon captured and stored in coastal and marine ecosystems, such as tidal salt marshes, mangroves, and the deep ocean floor. Blue carbon ecosystems can help address climate change resulting from the global emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by removing and storing some of that atmospheric carbon dioxide for long timescales in sediments and deep water. Sanctuaries contain blue carbon ecosystems; by protecting and restoring these ecosystems they preserve and grow an important nature-based climate solution.

a blue rockfish in a kelp forest with text over the photo

Blue Carbon and Sanctuaries

Visit this page to learn more about how national marine sanctuaries contain blue carbon ecosystems. By protecting and restoring these ecosystems, national marine sanctuaries facilitate an important nature-based climate solution.

Vibrant green seagrass moves in the underwater currents of the ocean off NOAA’s Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

Blue Carbon Toolkit

This communication toolkit is designed for educators and communicators to use to teach others about blue carbon ecosystems. The toolkit includes: a fact sheet, an infographic, a lesson plan, and links to webinars and supplementary resources.

Bull kelp underwater with text over the image.

Blue Carbon Story Map

This story map aims to broaden the reach and engagement of our recent reports on blue carbon in marine protected areas, and is a guide to understanding and increasing protection of blue carbon.

A screenshot of a webinar recording.

Recording: The Ocean as a Carbon Sponge

This webinar recording (58 minutes) illustrates how the ocean is a carbon sponge and why blue carbon is important. You’ll learn about different coastal and ocean species and habitats and the valuable role they play in capturing carbon for long-term storage.

blue image with three people on the left side

Recording: Mud Matters: Understanding the Role of Ocean Sediment in Carbon Sequestration

Learn about the first systematic evaluation of marine sediment in North-Central California and discover the importance of marine sediments in global carbon sequestration and storage. The webinar shows how marine protected areas prevent disturbance to these important long-term carbon storage sites.

A skeleton of a large whale on the seafloor covered with various types of marine life.

Whale Fall Illustration and Video

A graphic poster that illustrates the various states of decomposition of a whale skeleton on the seafloor. When a whale dies, its body falls to the ocean floor, where it is slowly absorbed into the sediment layer. A large whale stores an average of 9 tons of carbon, the greenhouse gas equivalent of seven gasoline-powered passenger vehicles driven for one year.