Science The Acidifying Ocean off the Pacific Coast
posted by May 22 at 15:50 PMon
Ok, just in case slog hasn’t been depressing enough today….
Since the beginning of the industrial era, the oceans have absorbed approximately 127 ▒ 18 billion metric tons of carbon as carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, or about one third of the anthropogenic [human produced] carbon emissions released….(from Science, Richard A. Feely et al. AOP)
However, the ocean’s daily uptake of 30 million metric tons of carbon dioxide is significantly impacting its chemistry and biology. Recent hydrographic surveys and modeling studies have confirmed that the uptake of anthropogenic CO2 by the oceans has resulted in a lowering of seawater pH by about 0.1 since the beginning of the industrial revolution….
The reaction of CO2 with seawater reduces the availability of carbonate ions that are necessary for calcium carbonate (CaCO3) skeleton and shell formation for a number of marine organisms such as corals, marine plankton, and shellfish…
In May and June of 2007, we conducted a North American Carbon Program (NACP) West Coast Cruise on the Research Ship Wecoma along the continental shelf of western North America, completing a series of 13 cross-shelf transects from Queen Charlotte Sound, Canada to San Gregorio Baja California Sur, Mexico.
What did they find? When the normal seasonal upswelling of deep ocean water occurs, the CO2-laden (and therefore acidified) offshore water comes into the continental shelf. This water is now acidic enough to be corrosive to the shellfish that support the entire ocean ecosystem. So, we’re all just a bit closer to doomed. Sweet!
Where’s Aquaman when you need him?