Tag: ocean acidification

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Emissions from shipping making ocean more acidic

According to research conducted by the University of Delaware Shipping pollution along major trade lanes can rival carbon emissions in contributing to the increased acidity of the ocean, according to a new study by an international team, including researchers from the University of Gothenburg, Chalmers University of Technology, the University of Delaware and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies.The research is the first global analysis that shows that acidification from shipping can during the summer months equal that from carbon dioxide.Rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere cause a steady acidification of the ocean as carbon dioxide dissolves into the water and produces the weak acid carbonic acid. Other gases can also cause acidification, for example sulfur and nitrogen oxides, which dissolve to give the strong acids sulfuric acid and nitric acid respectively."These oxides are present in the exhaust gases from ships' engines," said David R. Turner of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. "Sulfur oxides come from the sulfur present in marine fuel oil, while nitrogen oxides are formed from atmospheric nitrogen during combustion. Emission of these oxides causes atmospheric pollution, followed by marine pollution (acidification) on deposition."Ocean acidification has been shown to harm the health of coral, ...

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Scientist creates new hypothesis on ocean acidification

Increased absorption of this carbon by oceans is lowering the seawater pH Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been rising due to the burning of fossil fuels. Increased absorption of this carbon by the oceans is lowering the seawater pH (the scale which measures how acidic or basic a substance is) and aragonite saturation state in a process known as ocean acidification.Aragonite is the mineral form of calcium carbonate that is laid down by corals to build their hard skeleton. Researchers wanted to know how the declining saturation state of this important mineral would impact living coral populations.Much of the previous research has been centered on the relationship between coral growth and aragonite levels in the surface waters of the sea. Numerous studies have shown a direct correlation between increased acidification, aragonite saturation, and declining coral growth, but the process is not well understood.Various experiments designed to evaluate the relative importance of this process have led to opposing conclusions. A recent reanalysis conducted by Dr. Paul Jokiel from the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB), suggests that the primary effect of ocean acidification on coral growth is to interfere with ...

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