Climate Change Impacts and Solutions: Ocean Acidification in New York City


When atmospheric carbon dioxide dissolves in ocean water, it creates carbonic acid. This process, known as ocean acidification, is the result of increasing carbon emissions and the impact of man-made climate change. While ocean acidification is a major environmental concern all over the world, carbon dioxide is most soluble in colder water temperatures, posing an even greater risk to our local northeast coast. According to NOAA, the ocean absorbs roughly 30% of all atmospheric carbon dioxide, which is slowly decreasing ocean pH. The current average surface water pH is 8.1, but is projected to fall to 7.8 by the end of the century — reaching levels that have not been actualized in the last 14-17 million years. This changing environment will significantly impact aquatic life and habitat, along with the humans who utilize the ocean for their benefit. While ocean acidification has yet to be fully understood, New York State and City have been working diligently to better understand these impacts in hopes of developing meaningful and effective solutions.

In August 2018, The New York State Department of Conservation (DEC) unveiled its 14-member Ocean Acidification Task Force as a means to assess the impacts on ecological, economic, and recreational health. Established by Governor Andrew Cuomo, this force of appointed individuals with a wide range of expertise will identify local contributing factors and recommend actions to reduce negative impacts. The Ocean Acidification Task Force last met on December 3, 2019. 

In January 2019, DEC and the New York Sea Grant announced $570,000 in ocean research funding to Stony Brook University, CUNY York College, and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) to better understand climate change impacts on marine resources. This grant has been prioritized as part of the 10-year Ocean Action Plan (OAP). While projects have been delayed, they are currently underway and are projected to continue through 2021. As we begin to better understand the changes taking place in our oceans, we can push forward to develop the innovative solutions necessary to combat man-made climate change and ocean acidification impacts.   

Diving Into National Geographic’s Encounter: Ocean Odyssey

Blog, Environment, Science

It’s not every day that you can hop on the subway, head to Times Square, and submerge yourself hundreds of feet below sea level. Thanks to National Geographic’s Encounter: Ocean Odyssey, an interactive and immersive underwater adventure, swimming with sea life has never been easier.

From the moment you step through the aqua-colored mist, it’s clear you’ve left Manhattan and embarked on a journey like no other. Nat Geo’s Encounter guides you from the South Pacific to the West Coast of North America, bringing a better understanding of the magnificent life we’ve discovered and the excitement and mystery of all that remains unknown.

The best part about Ocean Odyssey is the all-ages access pass to some of the world’s most beautiful, but dangerous places. This experience provides fun for the entire family. No waivers necessary. As a 23-year-old nature enthusiast, I can admit that I had just as much fun as the four-year-old explorer stomping around as the bioluminescent coral changed color around her.


While Ocean Odyssey serves as an educational experience about ocean life, this isn’t the typical exhibit-style museum trip. Nat Geo provides meaningful and engaging experiences, like a kelp forest maze, a sea lion training encounter, a 3D ride through a school of fish, and a room full of games and quizzes to keep your wits sharp. Every station gives visitors a sense of how these aquatic creatures live, thrive, and survive in their environments.

I would be remiss to exclude the overarching theme of advocacy and activism throughout the encounter. Nat Geo takes a subject as complicated as climate change and conveys the issue in a way that anyone could understand. There are many moments, both subtle and obvious, that prove how important and urgent human action continues to be. Luckily, there are numerous ways to engage and get involved with important issues like coral bleaching, pollution, and plastic use from signing pledges and promising to make small changes to sharing newfound knowledge with friends and family. Everyone at this encounter can make a difference, and any difference is commendable.

National Geographic has always been and continues to be an environmental organization very close to my heart. It educates young minds of the most critical environmental issues of our time and encourages action and change for the better. I will always support this amazing work and I hope you will too.

Tickets start at $32.50 and can be purchased here.

A portion of the proceeds will support National Geographic Society’s nonprofit work in conservation, exploration, research, and education.