Ocean Acidification
Acid in the Arctic
Written by Jeff

Arctic waters are rapidly turning acidic, even faster than originally thought. New research from oceanographer Dr. James Orr of the Laboratory for the Sciences of Climate and Environment in Paris predicts that the Arctic Ocean will be corrosive enough to dissolve shells of clams, mussels and others within the next decade. Host Jeff Young talks with Dr. Orr about the mounting crisis in the Arctic Ocean.

YOUNG: As we heard, ocean acidification is one of the looming threats marine scientists are racing to better understand. As seawater absorbs carbon dioxide, it changes the pH. And recent research indicates this acidification could come fastest in the Arctic Ocean. Oceanographer James Orr is with LSCE, the Lab for Sciences of Climate and the Environment in Paris. Dr. Orr, what’s happening in the arctic waters?

ORR: The Arctic is a special case because basically, it’s cold, and, therefore, naturally more prone

Sending Out An S.O.S.
Written by Buck Denton

Acid Oceans SOSThe ocean is a natural carbon sink: In addition to biotic carbon sequestration, the ocean naturally absorbs CO2. Consequently, when we burn fossil fuels, we release carbon that has been trapped for millions of years, and this excess carbon enters the Earth’s carbon cycle.

This anthropogenically-released excess carbon is what causes ocean acidification, and the oceans have become increasingly more acidic since the industrial revolution. More on this from Physorg.com:

The chemistry is very straight-forward: ocean acidification is linearly related to the amount of CO2 we produce. CO2 dissolves in the ocean, reacts with seawater and decreases the pH. Since the industrial revolution, the oceans have become 30 percent more acidic (from 8.2 pH to 8.1 pH). “Under a “business as usual scenario, predictions for the end of the century are that we will lower the surface ocean pH by 0.4 pH units, which means that the surface oceans will become 150 percent more acidic – and this is a ‘hell of a lot’ “, said Jelle Bijma, chair of the EuroCLIMATE programme Scientific Committee and a biogeochemist at the Alfred-Wegener-Institute Bremerhaven.

Getting The Word Out on Ocean Acidification
Written by Richard

Fellow sea blogger Richard over at RTSea Blog is heading over to Isla Guadalupe for a while to film white sharks for the Mexican/Latin America broadcasting company Televisa/Telemundo.  
We can't wait to hear stories!
And while we won't have him around a few weeks, in good spirit, we want to share his great marine blogging with all of you! He recently posted a great piece on RTSea about Ocean Acidification and our favorite ocean conservation organization, Oceana.  Here's what Richard had to say:
Ocean Acidification: a new piece of jargon in the ocean conservation vernacular but potentially a very big one. Many of you may already be aware of its implications; the increase in CO2 absorbed by the oceans producing everything from weakened shells to the overall destruction of corals, all due to an upset in the ocean's balance of calcium.
Acid Test
Written by Ava

Acid Test is no Blue Planet, says Sarah Van Schagen, the editor who reported on the documentary playing on the Discovery Channel this month, over at Gristmill

She says the movie has a lot more green-screen technology than the Discovery Channel's Blue Planet series, also covering the ocean, which unfortunately means: a lot less live footage of the beautiful sailing seas. 

Perhaps Acid Test is a lot less positive, too.  After all, how can one speak merrily about the carbon dioxide build up that is happening in our oceans.  

Ocean Acidification Q&A With PMEL
Written by Ava

Ocean acidification -- the ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth's ocean caused by increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere)--may be a bigger problem than any of us realize!

Fortunately for us, we have the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) on our side. Scientists at PMEL carry out many types of investigations in the ocean and atmosphere. 

One program was of particular interest to us.   The Carbon Dioxide (CO2) program at PMEL, located in Seattle, Washington, researches the ocean carbon cycle in most major ocean basins.  Of course, that also includes the ocean's acidity level--a.k.a. ocean acidification.

Oceanographer Simone Alin is part of the PMEL CO2 group.  Her research focuses on how carbon dioxide dynamics affect coastal ecosystems, however she is also interested in how ecosystems are affected by issues like climate change and pollution. 

Ocean Acidification and the Arctic?
Written by Lina

Thanks to Lina Hansson for some updates on some interesting experiments  the EPOCA has been conducting to study and combat ocean acidification...

The European Project on Ocean Acidification (EPOCA) just completed its first large-scale field experiment in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard. Fifteen EPOCA scientists from the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and France participated in the campaign - aimed at investigating the response of Arctic communities to elevated CO2. Organisms living on the sea floor, such as barnacles, sea urchins, brittlestars, algae and crabs, were sampled by divers and placed in indoor mesocosms – aquaria in which pH and other parameters are controlled. In 2010, about 40 EPOCA scientists will return to Svalbard, this time to study planktonic communities using offshore mesocosm facilities of several cubic metres.

“Sea Change” Documentary Highlights Ocean Acidification Threat
Written by Sarah van Schagen

Imagine a world without fish.

That's the tagline of the documentary A Sea Change. It may sound like an exaggerated threat meant to grab your attention and get you into a theater, but as the main character finds out during the course of the film, it could become a scary reality.

A Sea Change follows retired history teacher Sven Huseby as he tries to understand the implications of ocean acidification and the actions we need to take to slow or reverse the process. Through interviews with scientists and his own dogged research, Huseby learns that the excess carbon dioxide we are putting into the atmosphere – and as a result, the oceans – is already starting to cause problems for organisms with calcium carbonate-based shells or skeletons, like corals, crustaceans, and shellfish – and a certain lentil-sized planktonic snail that plays a vital role in the marine food chain.

The Other Carbon Dioxide Problem
Written by Coby Beck

At NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory there was a news article posted that discusses "the other carbon dioxide problem." That problem is, of course, ocean acidification.

Ocean acidification is the result of CO2 released into the atmosphere finding its way into ocean waters. Estimates are that around one third of all human emissions of CO2 are currently absorbed this way. While that is good news for the problem of an enhanced greenhouse effect causing global warming, it is not good news for marine ecosystems.

In fact it is extremely bad news, and make ocean acidifications one of the most neglected aspects of the whole climate change policy debate. According to the article:


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