Ocean Acidification: Invisible now, but not for long

As I look out on Kachemak Bay, I know that the waters of the Bay, Cook Inlet, and the Gulf of Alaska are teeming with organisms that nourish the fish that I depend on to make a living and to fill my freezer. Some days, the water is too rough to go fishing, but still, I know the fish are there waiting when I can go. For over 30 years, my family and I have enjoyed some of the most sought-after and prized foods in the world, harvested right at our doorsteps. It is only in the last five years that I have learned that the very food web that supports this luxury and sustenance is under attack from a silent killer.

Ocean acidification is the result of the ocean absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. As the world population has increased, so has the use and demand of energy that is produced by many different methods and fuels. Most of these methods result in the emission of carbon in the atmosphere. As the ocean absorbs this carbon dioxide, the acidity in seawater is increased and this reduces the availability of calcium carbonate minerals, which are the building blocks of shells and skeletons for many marine organisms.

 

Pete Wedin, Homer Tribune, 28 March 2012. Full article.


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