BY: JEREMY MATHIS & STEVE COLT
A new study shows, for the first time, that ocean acidification is driving changes in waters vital to Alaska’s commercial fisheries and traditional subsistence way of life.
As one of our planet’s most under-recognized challenges, ocean acidification is emerging because the sea is absorbing increasing amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. CO2 concentrations are now higher than at any time during the past 800,000 years, and the current rate of increase is likely unprecedented in history. Ocean acidification is literally causing a sea change, threatening the fundamental health of ocean and coastal waters from pole to pole. And, as the new study indicates, the implications for Alaska may be profound.
By BECKY BOHRER, Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The release of carbon dioxide into the air from power plant smokestacks to the tailpipe on your car could pose a risk to red king crab and other lucrative fisheries in Alaska, a new report says.
Ocean water becomes more acidic when it absorbs carbon dioxide released by human sources, such as the burning of fossil fuels. Increased ocean acidification could harm important Alaska commercial and subsistence fisheries and communities that rely heavily on them, according to the new research aimed at spurring discussion on how to address the changes.
By: NOAA Research
Ocean acidification is driving changes in waters vital to Alaska’s valuable commercial fisheries and subsistence way of life, according to new NOAA-led research that will be published online in Progress in Oceanography.
Many of Alaska’s nutritionally and economically valuable marine fisheries are located in waters that are already experiencing ocean acidification, and will see more in the near future, the study shows. Communities in southeast and southwest Alaska face the highest risk from ocean acidification because they rely heavily on fisheries that are expected to be most affected by ocean acidification, and have underlying factors that make those communities more vulnerable, such as lower incomes and fewer employment opportunities.
New unmanned tools used to track effects of melting glaciers BY: NOAA Research
Scientists from NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, the University of Alaska and the Alaska Ocean Observing System are teaming up this summer and early fall to use new unmanned tools to study how melting glaciers in Alaska’s Prince William Sound may be intensifying ocean acidification in the sound and on the Gulf of Alaska continental shelf.
By: NOAA Research
Ian Enochs, a scientist with NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies at the University of Miami, traveled in May to the Island of Maug in the Pacific Ocean as part of a NOAA expedition aboard NOAA Ship Hi’ialakai to study coral reef ecosystems. We caught up with Enochs to learn about his research on underwater vents that seep carbon dioxide into the Pacific.
Why journey to the Island of Maug to study ocean acidification?
Maug is a unique natural laboratory that allows us to study how ocean acidification affects coral reef ecosystems. We know of no other area like this in U.S. waters. Increasing carbon dioxide in seawater is a global issue because it makes it harder for animals like corals to build skeletons
By: CRAIG WELCH, The Seattle Times
It didn’t take long for researchers examining the tiny sea snails to see something amiss.
The surface of some of their thin outer shells looked as if they had been etched by a solvent. Others were deeply pitted and pocked.
These translucent sea butterflies known as pteropods, which provide food for salmon, herring and other fish, hadn’t been burned in some horrific lab accident.
They were being eaten away by the Pacific Ocean.
For the first time, scientists have documented that souring seas caused by carbon-dioxide emissions are dissolving pteropods in the wild right now along the U.S. West Coast. That is damaging a potentially important link in the marine food web far sooner than expected.
A NOAA-led research team has found the first evidence that acidity of continental shelf waters off the West Coast is dissolving the shells of tiny free-swimming marine snails, called pteropods, which provide food for pink salmon, mackerel and herring, according to a new paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Marine biologists are searching for evidence of what our oceans will look like if carbon dioxide levels continue to increase. Thirty percent of the carbon dioxide, or CO2, released into the atmosphere is absorbed by the ocean, leading to a process called acidification. Shellfish and coral reefs are particularly impacted, according to Jason Hall-Spencer of Plymouth University. “We’ve never put this much carbon dioxide into the ocean before,” he said. “It’s never happened before in Earth’s history. Not this quickly.” NBC’s Ann Curry reports.
Ocean acidity is also rising rapidly
NOAA research has revealed unprecedented changes in ocean carbon dioxide in the tropical Pacific Ocean over the last 14 years, influencing the role the oceans play in current and projected global warming and ocean acidification. Natural variability has dominated patterns in ocean CO2 in this region, but observations now show human activity contributes to increasing CO2 levels.
Interagency Working Group on Ocean Acidification outlines multi-disciplinary research on impacts
NOAA and its partners released the first federal strategic plan to guide research and monitoring investments that will improve our understanding of ocean acidification, its potential impacts on marine species and ecosystems, and adaptation and mitigation strategies.