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9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Chemistry, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type

  • Articles and Websites

Regional Focus


Coastal and Ocean Sinks

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  • This sector summary highlights the importance of oceans and coastal ecosystems in sequestering carbon dioxide, absorbing heat, maintaining biodiversity, and fighting climate change.
  • The brief article explains how the marine environment is being affected by climate change and what we can do to prevent these effects.
Teaching Tips


  • This article is ideal for introducing students to how marine environments are affected by climate change and the essential role oceans play in carbon sequestration.
  • The article introduces many scientific concepts and topics which can be expanded upon in class or through research.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This article is an introduction to a series of articles on marine-related climate solutions.
  • Links to more articles on solutions can be found at the bottom of the webpage. These solutions include improving fisheries and seaweed farming.
  • Students should be familiar with the causes of climate change.


  • As an extension, have students work in groups to research different marine-based climate solutions and their potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Through a class discussion, ask students why they think land-based climate solutions have been prioritized in the past.
  • As there are many concepts and scientific terms presented in the article, consider encouraging younger students to highlight any terms they may be unfamiliar with. These terms can be researched individually or discussed in class to ensure comprehension.
  • This resource can be used in chemistry classes during lessons about the effects of changing ocean chemistry and in social studies classes during lessons about the impacts of reduced ocean productivity and biodiversity on the livelihoods of coastal communities.
Scientist Notes
This resource introduces the topic of ocean and coastal sinks. A brief discussion of how critical oceans are to reducing and slowing the effects of climate change, and the results of the oceans working overtime to keep up with absorbing the excess heat generated by climate change. A few solutions to address the continued use of the ocean as a carbon sink include protecting and restoring ecosystems, and shifting our agricultural practices. This site would be a great addition to a lesson discussing alternative methods to reducing carbon emissions. This resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Science
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS-ESS2-6. Develop a quantitative model to describe the cycling of carbon among the hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-6. Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.
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