Rising Acidity Brings an Ocean of Trouble
The burning of fossil fuels emits some 35 billion metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. That has already begun to change the fundamental chemistry of the world’s oceans, steadily increasing their level of acidity. Projections from a new high-resolution computer model show that over the next 4 decades, the combination of deep-water upwelling and rising atmospheric CO2 is likely to have profound impacts on waters off the West Coast of the United States, home to one of the world’s most diverse marine ecosystems and most important commercial fisheries. In addition, numerous laboratory and field studies over the past few years underscore rising concerns that ocean acidification could devastate marine ecosystems on which millions of people depend for food and jobs.