Friday, November 21, 2008

NOAA and NSF to study ocean acidification

This is a relatively new issue associated with fossil fuel consumption that some of you may not be aware of: ocean acidification.

Basically, anthropogenic release of CO2 is absorbed by the world's oceans. This eventually lowers the pH of ocean waters with potentially disastrous consequences for species that must form and maintain calcium carbonate skeletons or shells. Corals, shell fish, sea urchins and star fish will not grow as fast or survive as long.

Read about it:

Science Daily


A lot of info here from NOAA and the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory

Note the connection with sonar and marine mammals and the impact on algea and some types of plankton. This could get really ugly really fast.

NOAA and the National Science Foundation are looking for answers:

"The first comprehensive national study of how carbon dioxide emissions absorbed into
the oceans may be altering fisheries, marine mammals, coral reefs, and other natural
resources has been commissioned by NOAA and the National Science Foundation".

NOAA press release here (pdf file)


Antonio Joyette said...

This is yet another interesting article. Anthropogenic release of CO2 potentially lowering the pH of ocean waters, affecting the growth, development and longlivety of calciform parts of the fishery wild life. Hmm this ia big deal! I dont like this.

I am aware that we have to find substitutes for oil as the significant damage caused by the use of fossil fuels is more and more being revealed. However, we need be careful that substitutes don't like other vege-matter based fuels - ethinol etc don result in different but just as huge problems; problems such as food scarcity, starvation, deforestation, mono-cropping, and other problems related to capitalism - i.e as such alternative fuel sources become the sole focus of profits.

Before you know it, basic food and cheap foods are public goods. Its not profitable business any more.

We have some major issues to sort out in the management and planning of our environment and hence need all the resources we can with the framework of economics to keep things going but in an eficiently regulated manner.

Mandy Isaac said...

This is a scary issue that needs to be acted upon quickly. We read the Science Daily article in my Oceanography class as well and it seems that research needs to be done immediately so we can learn more and find out how to act immediately. We also watched some clips from "Altered Oceans" by the LA times that shows how much damage we are causing the oceans. If you can get your hands on that it's a frightening but insightful DVD (it's interactive too!).