Ocean acidification in Washington waters

We play an important role in monitoring the conditions and health of our marine water. Ocean water is becoming more acidic because of carbon pollution from human activities. This process, known as ocean acidification, may be having negative impacts on marine animals, particularly shellfish. Scientists predict that ocean acidification will continue in the future, which could cause problems for many important species in Washington, including humans. 

Man emptying wire bucket full of oysters into a large bin. Coastal water in background.

Carbon lowers ocean pH

Ocean water is becoming more acidic because of carbon pollution from human activities.

  • Acidification in Puget Sound describes the local and global processes of carbon pollution in seawater and what our scientists are doing to learn more.
  • Saltwater studies describes our long-term marine monitoring program, including data on ocean pH.

Statewide initiatives lead to coordinated solutions

A Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification was convened in 2012 to engage a variety of organizations to identify actions to address ocean acidification. Ocean Acidification: From Knowledge to Action was the final report. In 2017, the Marine Resources Advisory Council (MRAC) convened Washington's leading ocean acidification thinkers to evaluate progress, next steps, and potential revisions to the recommended actions identified in 2012. The 2017 Addendum updates the comprehensive strategy based on emerging science, management practices, and the new global network of partners working on this challenge.”

The Marine Resources Advisory Council is the Governor’s advisory body on coastal resource management issues for Washington’s Pacific Coast that provides a coordinated focus on ocean acidification.

Partnering on ocean acidification

We partner with many organizations to better understand and prepare for ocean acidification. Partnerships include:

We respond to acidification

We're working to protect Washington's waters from acidification by reducing local contributions to global greenhouse gases. We adopted the Clean Air Rule to cap carbon emissions from the state's biggest polluters.

Reducing carbon pollution to protect Puget Sound and other natural resources.