Acidification of the oceans need world attention

BY: MATT WINTERS, The Daily Astorian

Remember what it’s like to hold your breath, your lungs demanding fresh air with increasing urgency? That awful sensation isn’t about lack of oxygen, but is a signal of a dangerous carbon dioxide level. This same CO2 is swiftly changing the chemistry in the earth’s oceans at a rate that would kill you if it were happening inside your own body.

Monday, December 10, 2012
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Clallum County board briefed on ocean acidification

Clallum County board briefed on ocean acidification

BY: ROB OLLIKAINEN, Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — It would take a global reduction in carbon dioxide emissions to reverse the effects of ocean acidification, members of the Clallam County Marine Resources Committee told county commissioners Monday. But there are ways to help at the local and state level — pollution control, a reduction in stormwater runoff and investment in more water monitors — to protect shellfish and other species from potentially lethal changes in ocean chemistry, committee members Ed Bowlby and Andrew Shogren said. “We have to tackle the global aspect, but when possible, when appropriate, to try to tackle it locally to mitigate this onslaught that we can't do anything about,” Bowlby said. “That's a different aspect. That's going to keep occurring. “But we can start trying to minimize local contributions within the watershed, the stormwater runoffs, that can cause local ocean acidification.”

Monday, December 10, 2012
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The Limits of Water Quality Criteria

The Limits of Water Quality Criteria

A rising tide of acidity is overwhelming the global ocean. Estuaries and near-shore waters fall under the jurisdiction of states and the federal government, mandating treatment under the Clean Water Act, but criteria for action are uncertain and unclear. BY: RYAN KELLY & MEG CALDWELL, The Environmental Forum

Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the global ocean has absorbed a third of the carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels, transforming it into carbonic acid. The acidity of the marine environment has increased by roughly a third since 1750, changing chemical processes vital to life, including shell and coral formation and the growth of bony structures in fish. This massive change in ocean chemistry is a growing water quality problem that focuses attention on the surprisingly difficult business of determining whether and how a particular water quality standard has been violated. Such attention brings with it a larger question of whether water quality criteria are legally sufficient under the CWA if they are difficult or impossible to test as a practical matter, and highlights the changing role of the act as it is used to combat a new class of water pollution.

Monday, December 10, 2012
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Trouble in the Water: Acidifying Oceans Hinder Health of Northwest Shellfish

PBS

The world's oceans are absorbing carbon dioxide at an unprecedented rate and the resulting acidification is transforming marine ecosystems. Hari Sreenivasan reports on how ocean acidification is already affecting oysters and other shellfish in the U.S.

Friday, December 7, 2012
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Marine Life on a Warming Planet

New York Times, Opinion Pages

Since the beginning of the industrial era, humans have pumped increasing amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This has led not only to a warmer climate but also to significant changes in the chemistry of the oceans, which have long acted as a sink for carbon emissions but are being asked to absorb more than they can handle. The result is ocean acidification: increasingly corrosive seawater that has already ruined many coral reefs and over time could threaten the entire marine food chain.

Sunday, December 2, 2012
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