Climate Change and Your National Marine Sanctuaries

map of weekly average sea surface temperatures from 2016
Weekly average sea surface temperatures (or SST) from April 2016 are depicted here, with warmer colors showing warmer SST. Photo: NOAA

A rapidly changing climate brings challenges to our underwater parks in ways we have never seen before. Climate-related impacts, like changing weather patterns and storm events, warming seas, ocean acidification, and sea level rise, are becoming more prevalent around the globe. Changes in climate will affect national marine sanctuaries and the overall health of the ocean, which is vital to our quality of life and, ultimately, our survival. See an infographic on climate change impacts and how marine protected areas can help address them here.

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.

Science

two photos show a bleaching event that occurred over three months

National marine sanctuaries are establishing sentinel sites to monitor and study changes in natural and historic resources in these important places.

Impacts

climate impacts

Learn about the ways climate change is already affecting our ocean, including in our national marine sanctuaries.

Assessment and Adaptation

andrea kealoha and other researchers on a small boat

National marine sanctuaries are taking action to assess and adapt to climate impacts.

Education

screenshot of the ocean acidification website

Resources for educators about climate, our ocean, and national marine sanctuaries.

Frequently Asked Questions About Climate

Videos

Check out these three videos that show how climate change is affecting our underwater parks and how the National Marine Sanctuary System is working to understand and respond to climate impacts.

photo of fish and coral
Coral bleaching in Pacific Islands national marine sanctuaries and monuments
rov footage
Strandings of thousands of pelagic red crabs are correlated with warm water.
diver swimming by big momma coral head
Protecting Big Momma (National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa)