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Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre (OA-ICC)

Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre (OA-ICC)

The IAEA Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre (OA-ICC) promotes international collaboration on ocean acidification.  The OA-ICC organizes training courses in Member States and provides access to data and resources to advance ocean acidification research. The Centre promotes the development of data portals, standardized methodology and best practices. The OA-ICC works to raise awareness of the issue among various stakeholders and inform about the role that nuclear and isotopic techniques can play in assessing its impacts. To achieve these objectives, the OA-ICC works with many international partners and supports global and regional ocean acidification networks, including the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network.

Ocean Acidification - Helping to Tackle this Global Threat with Nuclear Techniques

As the ocean absorbs one fourth of the carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere by human activities, the carbonate chemistry and acidity of seawater is modified in a process known as ocean acidification. This has emerged as a key global issue in the last decade because of its potential to affect marine organisms and ecosystems. The IAEA’s Environment Laboratories conduct research to better understand the potential environmental and economic impacts of ocean acidification. The Agency uses nuclear and isotopic techniques to study the rates of biological processes in marine organisms, such as mussels, oysters and corals.


The OA-ICC is an IAEA Peaceful Uses Initiative project launched at the UN Rio+20 conference in 2012 following increasing concern from IAEA Member States about ocean acidification. The Centre responds to the need to coordinate, promote and facilitate global ocean acidification activities as expressed by scientists of the Ocean Acidification Working Group of the Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research (IMBER) project and the International Surface Ocean - Lower Atmosphere Study (SOLAS). The OA-ICC has received direct and in-kind contributions from eight IAEA Member States (Australia, France, Italy (ENEA; the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development), Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, UK and USA) as well as key international organizations and projects (SOLAS, IMBER, the UK Ocean Acidification Programme, and the European Mediterranean Sea Acidification in a changing climate (MedSeA) project of the European Commission).

The goal of the OA-ICC is to act as a hub to communicate, promote and facilitate international activities on ocean acidification. These are divided into three categories: science, capacity building and communication. The target audience is not only scientists but any group or individual interested in ocean acidification, such as policy-makers, the media, schools and the general public. The OA-ICC brings together experts to discuss issues of relevance to the global ocean acidification community, organizes training courses, compiles and centralizes information, as well as provides a number of online resources. The Centre benefits from input by prominent ocean acidification researchers and organisations from all corners of the world.

Major environmental issue of the 21st century

Ocean acidification has emerged as one of the 21st century’s major global threats to marine organisms, ecosystems, and resources and is the specific focus of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14.3. This “other CO2 problem”, still poorly known by the general public, can have potentially dramatic socio-economic consequences for countries depending on marine resources, especially countries with limited possibilities for alternative livelihoods.  As world-wide research activities on ocean acidification and related stressors continue to develop, there is a clear need for effective global scientific cooperation. The OA-ICC is working to build a strong ocean acidification research community across the globe, providing access to training, tools, resources and opportunities for regional and international networking and collaboration, directly supporting Member States in their initiatives to address SDG14.3.


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