The Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico

Scientists within the ACCRETE (Acidification, Climate, and Coral Reef Ecosystems Team) Lab of AOML’s Ocean Chemistry and Ecosystems Division (OCED) have constructed a tool to monitor ocean acidification over the wider Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. This tool utilizes satellite data and a data-assimilative hybrid model to map the components of the carbonate system of surface water. This effort represents an update to the experimental Ocean Acidification Product Suite (OAPS) developed by Coral Reef Watch (

To resolve the seawater carbonic acid system, we use the partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) and pH. Surface pCO2 is approximated by taking total tropospheric column CO2 from the AIRS mid-tropospheric CO2 and AMSU instruments on board the Aqua satellite ( and adjusting it for the marine boundary layer by replacing the annual cycle of the observed AIRS data with that from the NOAA Marine Boundary Layer ( Following this adjustment, seawater pCO2 is estimated using an empirical model relating the differential between sea surface and atmospheric CO2 partial pressure to changes in CO2 gas solubility (K0). Total alkalinity (TA) is calculated using the Subtropical/Tropical algorithm from Lee et al. (2006). Sea surface temperature is derived from an optimal interpolated product at 9km resolution ( and salinity is obtained from a data-assimilative hybrid model (HYCOM These measurements, together with pCO2 and TA, allow calculation of the complete carbonate system. Data are updated monthly at a 9km resolution. Initial results indicate good agreement with observed values from cruises and MAPCO2 buoys, but further testing and refinement of algorithms is planned.

The following animations show the monthly progression of pH, surface pressure of CO2, total alkalinity, aragonite saturation state (Ωarag) and calcite saturation state (Ωcalc) in 2016. Clicking any animation will load it in its original, full-sized format.

The monthly progression of pH in 2016

The monthly progression of surface pressure of CO2 in 2016

The monthly progression of total alkalinity in 2016

The monthly progression of aragonite saturation state (Ωarag) in 2016

The monthly progression of calcite saturation state (Ωcalc) in 2016

For each of the variables, a netCDF file can be downloaded that has 12 monthly values on a grid with 182 cells latitude, 398 cells longitude. The domain is bounded by 14°N to 30°N, 95°W to 60°W. The variables that can be downloaded (by clicking the desired data year in the list below) are:

For further details about this product, contact Dr. Ruben van Hooidonk. This product is part of the Atlantic Ocean Acidification Test-Bed (AOAT) funded by NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program, which is currently managed by Dr. Derek Manzello.