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.
Host Anita Kissee visits a shellfish farm to see the environmental and financial impacts of ocean acidification on the industry. Plus, an update on the whooping cough epidemic.
In the first state-level action of its kind, the governor of Washington today announced that her state will try to protect valuable shellfish industries and marine life from ocean acidification. Responding to a report that she requested, Governor Chris Gregoire said she has directed state agencies to take steps to reduce the pollutants that contribute to acidification. She also plans to ask the state legislature to establish a new acidification research center at the University of Washington (UW), Seattle.
Peering into the microscope, Alan Barton thought the baby oysters looked normal, except for one thing: They were dead.
Slide after slide, the results were the same. The entire batch of 100 million larvae at the Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery had perished.
In the United States and other coastal nations, ocean acidification has quickly become a common topic of scientific research. Ocean acidification also has become a public concern as news headlines warn of this potentially threatening byproduct of global climate change.