Wednesday, April 05, 2006
NOAA / NSF CRUISE REVEALS IMPACTS OF OCEAN ACIDIFICATION ON CHEMISTRY, BIOLOGY OF NORTH PACIFIC OCEAN
April 5, 2006 — Data collected from ocean sampling in the Pacific Ocean from the southern to northern hemispheres confirms that the oceans are becoming more acidic. A recently completed field study from Tahiti to Alaska collecting data about the effects of ocean acidification on the water chemistry and marine organisms found evidence that verifies earlier computer model projections. These findings are consistent with data from previous field studies conducted in other oceans.
"We observed measurable decreases in pH, a measure of the acidity of the water, as well as measurable increases in dissolved inorganic carbon over a large section of the northeastern Pacific," said Richard Feely, an oceanographer with the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, Wash., and chief scientist aboard the field study.
The preliminary results from NOAA scientists and their academic colleagues indicate measurable pH decreases of approximately 0.025 units and increases in dissolved inorganic carbon of about 15 µmol/kg in surface waters over a large section of the northeastern Pacific. A lowering of pH indicates rising acidity.
"The pH decrease is direct evidence of ocean acidification in the Pacific Ocean," said Feely. "These dramatic changes can be attributed, in most part, to anthropogenic CO2 uptake by the ocean over the past 15 years. This verifies earlier model projections that the oceans are becoming more acidic because of the uptake of carbon dioxide released as a result of fossil fuel burning."
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