Updated June 25, 2008: Increasingly Acidic Pacific Coast Waters Threaten Marine Life

“We have already seen in 2007 a drop in pH of 0.1,  which equates to ~30% increase in acidity. By the end of this century  the models predict a total drop in pH of 0.4 which is actually more  like a 150% increase in acidity. For ocean chemistry, this is very dramatic –  a bigger change than we’ve seen for at least the last 5 million years on planet Earth. And it’s more than 100 times faster rate of change than we’ve seen over that period.”

- Christopher Sabine, Ph.D., NOAA

 

Coccolithosphores, single-celled algae, that contain calcium carbonate shells. When exposed to acidic water equivalent to the 800 ppm upwelling ocean samples in 2007 off the California coast, the Coccolithosphores become malformed and deteriorate. Images by Riebesell and Zondervan in 2000 and 2001.
Coccolithosphores, single-celled algae, that contain calcium carbonate shells. When exposed to acidic water equivalent to the 800 ppm upwelling ocean samples in 2007 off the California coast, the Coccolithosphores become malformed and deteriorate. Images by Riebesell and Zondervan in 2000 and 2001.

June 21, 2008  Corvallis, Oregon and Shelton, Washington - None of the global warming climate models saw open oceans increasing in acidity by 30% or more until the end of the 21st Century. But a new study published in the June 2008 journal, Science, shows that Pacific ocean water only four miles off the northern California shore, is already 30% more acidic than normal. When I did my first Earthfiles.com report about the acidification of the world’s oceans [ 081304 Earthfiles ], computer models were projecting that open ocean acidity might seriously increase by at least 30% or more at the end of the 21st Century - not by 2008.

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