Evidence for upwelling of corrosive “acidified” water onto the continental shelf

The absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide into the ocean lowers the pH of the waters. This so-called ocean acidification could have important consequences for marine ecosystems. In order to better understand the extent of this ocean acidification in coastal waters, we conducted hydrographic surveys from central Canada to northern Mexico. We observed seawater that is undersaturated with respect to aragonite upwelling onto large portions of the continental shelf, reaching depths of approximately 40 to 120 m along most transect lines and all the way to the surface on one transect off northern California. While seasonal upwelling of the undersaturated waters onto the shelf is a natural phenomenon in this region, the ocean uptake of anthropogenic CO2 has increased the areal extent of the affected area.
Feely R. A., Sabine C. L., Hernandez-Ayon J. M., Ianson D. & Hales B., 2008. Evidence for upwelling of corrosive “acidified” water onto the continental shelf. Science in press. Article.

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