Visualizing coastal ocean acidification

Since the industrial revolution began a little over 200 years ago, the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has increased due to the burning of fossil fuels, cement production, and land use change. The ocean acts as a “carbon sink” and absorbs between 20% and 30% of the CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere. When CO2 is absorbed by seawater, the chemistry of the ocean is changed. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as ocean acidification (OA). 

Ocean acidification is a global threat to the world’s oceans, estuaries, and waterways. OA can harm sea life, particularly commercially valuable species. It is best known for its osteoporosis-like effects on shellfish, which makes building and maintaining shells difficult for oysters, clams, sea urchins, shallow water corals, and deep sea corals. Ocean acidification is expected to have negative overall effects on many marine species which could alter marine food web, change the community composition and structure, and food supply to humans.

The growing concern about acidity has led to an increase in research, monitoring, and the development of management measures. Long-term monitoring and scientific analysis of ocean carbon data are critical to anticipate, mitigate, and adapt to potential future changes. Effective stewardship of important OA data is also essential. A new set of OA climatologies has been developed that provides valuable OA information for the coastal ocean where 90% of fisheries yields are located. 

Inergency, 28 February 2023. Full article.


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