We now have a 2017 event, which is not quite as bad as 2016, but certainly worse than the first two events that we studied [in 1998 and 2002]. That is significant because it postpones any hope of recovery. The current bleaching occupies a different geographical footprint from last year, which is bad news because it means between last year and this year a much greater extent of the Great Barrier Reef has now been damaged. In 2017, the hot water was in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef, the central section; last year it was in the north.
“To lose coral reefs is to fundamentally undermine the health of a very large proportion of the human race,” said Ruth Gates, director of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology
The uptake of fossil fuel carbon dioxide (CO2) by the ocean increases seawater acidity and causes a decline in carbonate ion concentrations. This process, termed ocean acidification, makes it energetically more costly for calcifying organisms to form their calcareous shells… Read More ›
Human actions have already increased carbon on the planet by about 40 percent. A quarter of that goes into the ocean. And the ocean has decreased by about .2 pH units, which may not sound like a lot. But, pH is a logarithmic scale like the Richter scale. So .2 pH is about 30% more acidic than it was before the Industrial Revolution.
… as climate change alters the chemistry of the world’s oceans, scientists and fishermen are just beginning to understand how this economically, culturally, and ecologically important species will be impacted.
“Oregon is ground zero for ocean acidification impacts–the water chemistry off our coast is already changing and has changed dramatically. For a glimpse into the science, the impacts and the information gaps behind ocean acidification in Oregon, check out the… Read More ›