Gulf of Maine changing

The Gulf of Maine is and always has been an essential part of the coastal New England economy. Throughout history, the bounty of the Gulf of Maine has fluctuated due to fishing pressures, technology and species’ popularity. As these changes have affected some parts of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem more than others, New England fishermen and lobstermen have adapted by shifting their efforts to different parts of the ecosystem. But what would happen if the entire Gulf of Maine ecosystem changed at once?

We may soon find out. Excess carbon dioxide, or CO2, in our atmosphere is causing ocean acidification. The ocean absorbs atmospheric CO2, and when CO2 mixes with seawater, carbonic acid develops. Increasing CO2 in the atmosphere has subsequently increased the acidity of seawater, lowering its pH. And the oceans are expected to become even more acidic over the next 200 years, as CO2 levels in the atmosphere continue to rise. In fact, atmospheric CO2 levels are predicted to nearly double over that time.

Kelsey Abbott and Justin Ries, Bangor Daily News, 8 August 2010. Full article.

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