Media advisory: Ocean acidification findings for Puget Sound to be announced

WHAT: Learn where Puget Sound waters have particularly low pH values compared to what is normal for ocean waters and what proportion is probably the result of man-made carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. View a buoy and sleek University of Washington-built Seaglider on board the ship that is about to deploy them off the Washington coast. They will be used to monitor ocean water, destined to end up in Puget Sound, for such things as acidification.

SPEAKERS: Oceanographers with the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory

WHEN: 10 a.m. Monday, July 12

WHERE: Applied Physics Laboratory dock, Eastlake Avenue East, under the University Bridge

DETAILS: NOAA and UW scientists will announce findings that are about to be published about acidification in Puget Sound and the outlook for the Sound’s waters if carbon dioxide continues building in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide gas dissolving in seawater lowers the pH and makes it more difficult for organisms to get the substances they need to build their skeletons and shells. Scientists are working to determine the effects on everything from single-celled organisms to oysters, mussels and crabs. To learn more, the most sophisticated array of instruments ever put in Washington waters will be deployed on a buoy and Seaglider off the coast near La Push, Wash., in water that typically makes its way into Puget Sound. The instruments also will keep tabs on ocean and atmospheric conditions that can lead to toxic algae outbreaks along the coast as well as low-oxygen waters, like those that have plagued Hood Canal in recent years.

Researchers will also discuss:

  • How carbon dioxide sensors on the Space Needle since spring are helping citizen scientists learn about emissions.
  • How local conservation groups, government and university scientists, those who fish for a living, shellfish aquaculturists and Native Americans have come together to support a comprehensive ocean acidification research and monitoring program in Puget Sound.

Sandra Hines, Vince Stricherz. University of Washington News, 8 July 2010. Article.

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