Scientists: Global warming has already changed oceans

In Washington state, oysters in some areas haven’t reproduced for four years, and preliminary evidence suggests that the increasing acidity of the ocean could be the cause. In the Gulf of Mexico, falling oxygen levels in the water have forced shrimp to migrate elsewhere.

Ocean acidification or diseases that thrive in acidified, oxygen-depleted seawater could be responsible for oysters not reproducing in Washington state, said Brad Warren, who oversees the ocean health and acidification program of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership in Seattle. A federal study found that two-thirds of larval blue crabs died when exposed to acidity levels like those currently measured off the West Coast, he said.

Federal studies also found acidity levels in the North Pacific and off Alaska are unusually high compared to other ocean regions. The high acidity is already taking a toll of such tiny species as pteropods, which are an important food for salmon and other fish.



As greenhouse gas emissions increase, billions of tons of carbon dioxide from smokestacks and vehicle tailpipes are absorbed by the oceans. The result is carbonic acid, which dilutes the “rich soup” of calcium carbonate in the seawater that many species, especially on the low end of the food chain, thrive in, Warren said.

“If we lose it, it is gone forever,” Warren said of the oceans’ delicate chemical balance.

Les Blumenthal, The Miami Herald, 9 June 2009. Full article.

0 Responses to “Scientists: Global warming has already changed oceans”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply




Subscribe to the RSS feed

Follow AnneMarin on Twitter

Blog Stats

  • 1,410,873 hits

OA-ICC HIGHLIGHTS

Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book


%d bloggers like this: