Monitoring and research initiated

It is only in very recent years that attention has been focused on the consequences of ocean acidification. Research in this field is therefore quite new.

In 2010, the Climate and Pollution Agency started monitoring ocean acidification in Norwegian waters. To get a good picture of the changes taking place in the ocean, it is not sufficient to simply measure the pH changes. It is also necessary to measure changes in concentrations of various carbon compounds. In 2010, such measurements were made in the surface waters of the Oslo-Kiel and Tromsø-Longyearbyen stretches and throughout the water column of the Arendal-Hirtshals stretch.

In 2011 monitoring has been extended to include coastal routes from Bergen to Kirkenes (surface measurements) and the Norwegian Sea (the entire water column).

The plan is to conduct surface measurements on the same stretches every year, while deep water measurements will cycle between the North Sea, Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea. Acidification monitoring is part of the Input Programme and is carried out by the Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Institute of Marine Research and Bjerknes Centre/Uni Research.

Work within OSPAR

Under the auspices of OSPAR (Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic), Norway has played an important role in putting acidification on the agenda. The Directorate for Nature Management has been responsible for coordinating the work. A report summarizing available knowledge has been drawn up. 
Depositing CO2 in geological formations under the seabed could be a means to reduce the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In OSPAR work is therefore also being done on issues related to storage security and opportunities for monitoring stored CO2. In Norway it is the Norwegian Climate and Pollution Agency who has coordinated this effort.

Research on how marine ecosystems will respond to acidification

In 2008 a project was started to study how marine ecosystems will respond to climate change and ocean acidification. The project is called "Marine Ecosystem Response to a changing CLIMate" (MERCLIM) and is funded by the Research Council of Norway. Several Norwegian institutions are involved, and the project is coordinated by the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research. The project is closely coordinated with the EU project EPOCA (European Project on OCean Acidification). 

In the summer of 2010 the largest marine biological experiment ever was conducted on Svalbard. A number of large bags (mesocosms) were deployed that were filled with fjord water. By manipulating the concentration of dissolved CO2 in the water in the bags, scientists monitored the impact this had on plankton and the microbial food web.

Ocean acidification will also be one of five main topics of research (”flagships”) at the newly-established Fram Centre in Tromsø.