ELEMENTS: Scientists track ocean acidity in Arctic

A team of scientists will sail through Arctic ice to test the chemistry of the worlds northernmost waters.

A couple years ago Scripps Institution of Oceanography held an international paleocanography conference, featuring keynote speaker Ken Caldeira, whose description of ocean acidification became a linchpin of research documenting rising global temperatures.

As the oceans absorb more carbon dioxide, they become more acidic, harming the ability of creatures such as corals, oysters, crabs, shrimp and plankton to build shells or exoskeletons.

Some of those animals are favorite human delicacies, while others form the food base for bigger fish.

Caldeira’s work focused on the effects of ocean acidification on coral reefs, but a team of scientists with the US Geological Survey will explore its impacts on the Arctic.

They’ll travel on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy for four weeks, collecting water and ice samples. You can track their findings here: http://coastal.er.usgs.gov/ocean-acidification/arcticcruise2012/

“Comparatively more research has been devoted to the tropics, where coral reefs are threatened,” USGS Director Marcia McNutt said in a statement. “This important expedition focuses on polar latitudes, where the acidification effects can cascade from microscopic organisms up to our economy, as the organisms at risk form the base of the food chain for some of the world’s most productive fisheries.”

Deborah Sullivan Brennan, North County Times, 25 August 2012. Article.

  • Reset


OA-ICC Highlights

%d bloggers like this: