Increasing acidity added to list of Hood Canal’s water woes

Hood Canal’s low-oxygen problems are widely known, but new research has revealed that our inland waterways are becoming more acidic — a factor that could in time disrupt the entire food web.

The double whammy of low dissolved oxygen and high carbon dioxide levels is expected to cause the most damage to natural systems — but financial losses may already be rippling through the lucrative shellfish industry.

Unusually high readings of acidity were measured in the deep waters of southern Hood Canal, according to Richard Feeley, director of the Ocean Acidification Program at the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. Increased acidity appears to be caused by increased carbon dioxide working its way from the atmosphere into the ocean, as well as the decomposition of organic matter in local waters.

“Our calculations suggest that ocean acidification can account for a significant part of the pH decrease in this region,” said Feeley, whose laboratory is operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Christopher Dunagan, Kitsap Sun, 12 July 2010. Full article.

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