"Ocean Acidification Emerges as New Climate Threat"

"HOMER, Alaska -- Kris Holderied, who directs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Kasitsna Bay Laboratory, says the ocean's increasing acidity is 'the reason fishermen stop me in the grocery store.'"

"'They say, 'You're with the NOAA lab, what are you doing on ocean acidification?' ' Holderied said. 'This is a coastal town that depends on this ocean, and this bay.'

This town in southwestern Alaska dubs itself the Halibut Fishing Capital of the World. But worries about the changing chemical balance of the ocean and its impact on the fish has made an arcane scientific buzzword common parlance here, along with the phrase 'corrosive waters.'

The ocean absorbs about 30 percent of the carbon dioxide we put in the air through fossil fuel burning, and this triggers a chemical reaction that produces hydrogen, thereby lowering the water's pH.

The sea today is 30 percent more acidic than pre-industrial levels, which is creating corrosive water that is washing over America's coasts. At the current rate of global worldwide carbon emissions, the ocean's acidity could double by 2100."

Juliet Eilperin reports for the Washington Post September 30, 2012.
 

Source: Wash Post, 10/03/2012