Hatfield tackles ocean acidification — local work on global climate change

SOUTH BEACH — Rising global temperatures. Melting polar ice caps. Increasing risk of wonky weather. Flooding from sea level rise and increased storm surge. These predicted outcomes of global climate change are now lodged in the public consciousness and studied carefully by scientists and policy makers.

Add to the list a climate change side effect that has only recently been in the news, although scientists have been considering its implications for years: ocean acidification.

Ocean acidification (OA) is exactly what it sounds like. Rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are leading to increased carbon dioxide levels in the ocean, the result of which is a decrease in oceanic pH, the measure of a substance’s acidity. Lower numbers equate to more acidic conditions. Since the start of the industrial revolution, scientists estimate that the acidity of the ocean’s surface waters has risen by 26 percent.

Nancy Steinberg, News Times, 27 March 2014. Article (subscription required).

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