PSEMP releases 2019 marine waters overview

It’s traditional at the close of the year for media outlets and bloggers to make a summary of what happened in their parts of the world over the past 12 months — the classic ‘Year in Review.’ In some ways, scientists do the same thing. The Puget Sound Marine Waters Overview has been published every year since 2011 and may be the most comprehensive look at our annual marine conditions.

High amounts of dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2) can lead to a phenomenon known as ocean acidification that threatens the balance of life in the Salish Sea. Ocean acidification is caused when COfrom burning fossil fuels is absorbed into the water. The resulting changes in water chemistry can harm the foodweb, reduce the ability of salmon to smell and can make it challenging  for oysters and other creatures to create shells. The highest levels of COin the Salish Sea were observed in the deep waters of Whidbey Basin and Hood Canal. Water throughout Puget Sound was the most corrosive due to high CO2 during the fall and winter when marine plants produce less oxygen to offset CO2 buildup. Scientists call this variation “carbonate weather,” which can produce harsh — and even dangerous — conditions for shell-building organisms such as Dungeness crabs. For more information, read ‘Rate of ocean acidification may accelerate, scientists warn’ in the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound.

Jeff Rice, Puget Sound Institute, 10 December 2020. Full article.

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