Climate Change
Education and Outreach

The NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries education programs not only work to instill a sense of stewardship and conservation, but also share the latest science and research happening in the sanctuaries, including threats and uncertainties from a changing climate. These climate and ocean acidification-related educational materials help bring science into classrooms, after-school programs, science centers, aquariums, and other facilities.

Satellite image of hurricanes in the gulf and atlantic ocean. Land is green and brown with the lower half of the U.S., Mexico, and Caribbean in view.

Climate Change Resource Collection

A rapidly changing climate brings challenges to our national marine sanctuaries 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. Explore a collection of NOAA videos, lesson plans, posters, webinars, web stories, virtual reality, and more to gain a deeper understanding about climate change.

A small, bleached coral head sits on top of a coral reef ecosystem that has experienced many climate stressors.

Ocean Acidification Resource Collection

The ocean absorbs much of the extra carbon dioxide we emit into the atmosphere when we burn fossil fuels, like coal, oil, and methane gas, and that changes the chemistry of the ocean. We call this “ocean acidification.” Ocean acidification changes the chemistry of the ocean and causes “osteoporosis of the sea,” which prevents animals at the bottom of the food chain from building and maintaining the protective shells they need to survive. Explore a collection of NOAA videos, lesson plans, posters, webinars, web stories, virtual reality, and more to gain a deeper understanding about ocean acidification.

Waves crash into a metal stairway along the California coast during a king tide, which is one of the highest high tides of the year.

Elementary School Collection: Climate Change

Human activities are changing Earth’s climate. When humans burn fossil fuels like coal, oil, and methane gas for energy, it changes the Earth’s climate by releasing excess or rampant carbon into the atmosphere. It is our job to protect people and places from harm caused by a warming planet. Before we can take action to limit the impacts of rampant carbon dioxide, we have to understand what causes it and how it impacts our environment.

A young, Hispanic boy in an orange life jacket holds a jar of small crustaceans called krill up to his face.

Elementary School Collection: Ocean Acidification

The ocean absorbs about 30% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) that is released in the atmosphere. As levels of atmospheric CO2 increase from human activity, such as burning fossil fuels (e.g., car emissions) and changing land use (e.g., deforestation), the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the ocean also increases. Try a hands-on activity that demonstrates what can happen to animals like coral, clams, and crabs when the ocean becomes more acidic and explore additional online materials.

Large coral reef with a wide reaching bleached coral.

Webinar Series

The National Marine Sanctuaries Webinar Series provides educators, students, and the interested public with educational and scientific expertise, resources, and training to support ocean and climate literacy. A compiled list of climate-related webinars can be found here featuring topics like coral, fisheries, sea level rise, and how climate change will have mass impacts on the sanctuary system and ocean as a whole.

An infographic that shares ten different things you can do to protect the planet.

Protecting our Planet Starts with You

Community solutions are vital to addressing a problem as large as climate change. Take action and get involved with national marine sanctuaries and within your community to do your part to address the changing climate.

A woman in a blue jacket sits on a rock facing the ocean waves in the distance in NOAA’s Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.

Get Involved

Volunteers and citizen scientists participate in a wide variety of activities. Find out more about these hands-on opportunities.