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Our Acidic Ocean

OPB | May 27, 2008 midnight | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 8:41 p.m.

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How does the rising acidity of the ocean fit into the global climate change puzzle?

Acidity levels in the Pacific Ocean are rising faster than expected, according to a study published last week in the journal Science. A team of researchers from the Pacific Northwest as well as Canada and Mexico studied water samples up and down the coast last year and came up with some alarming results: acidity levels could become high enough to prevent shellfish from growing shells in the coming decades.

The ocean has helped temper global warming by absorbing carbon emissions from the atmosphere. That, coupled with the carbon dioxide that naturally occurs in the water, is quickly pushing the Pacific towards corrosive levels for plankton and organisms on up the food chain.

How does this new information fit into the larger global climate change puzzle? What is the best way to deal with the consequences of rising acidity levels in the ocean? How will this news impact the shellfish industry?


Photo credit: mako / Flickr / Creative Commons


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