"Rising Acidity Erodes Alaska's Fisheries"

"The Arctic's increased vulnerability to climate change is not limited to higher temperatures and melting permafrost.

New research from the University of Alaska Fairbanks suggests Arctic oceans are particularly susceptible to acidification, with potentially dire consequences to Alaska's rich crab and salmon fisheries.

'Everything is acting in unison on the environment – it's not just the ice loss or the warming or the acidification,' said UAF chemical oceanographer Jeremy Mathis. 'The Arctic is taking a multilateral hit.'

Mathis' newest data from the Gulf of Alaska show that acidity levels far higher than expected might already be impacting the food web. In several sites the increasing acidity has changed ocean chemistry so significantly that organisms are unable to pull crucial minerals out of the water to build shells, he said.

Ocean acidification, often called the sister problem to climate change, refers to the rising acidity of the world's seas as seawater absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere."

Douglas Fischer reports for The Daily Climate August 20, 2009.

Friday, August 21, 2009