Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

Acidification of the Arctic Ocean 'unprecedented'

  • Written by  Olivia Edward
  • Published in Oceans
Acidification of the Arctic Ocean 'unprecedented'
01 Nov
2013
A new study has found that the Arctic Ocean is acidifying more rapidly and more widely than projected

A team of US scientists analysed data from three years of research cruises in the Arctic Ocean. The results indicated that the recent extreme melting of sea ice in the Arctic has led to higher than expected levels of acidification. As the sea ice melts, the underlying seawater becomes exposed to carbon dioxide, which dissolves in the water to form carbonic acid. To make matters worse, the increase in fresh water caused by the sea ice melting dilutes the sea water, lowering pH levels and reducing the concentrations of calcium and carbonate, which many marine micro-organisms use to form their skeletons and shells.

‘A remarkable 20 per cent of the Canadian Basin has become more corrosive to carbonate minerals in an unprecedented short period of time. Nowhere on Earth have we documented such large-scale, rapid ocean acidification,’ said the study’s lead author, Lisa Robbins of the US Geological Survey.

‘In the Arctic, where multi-year sea ice has been receding, we see that the dilution of seawater with melted sea ice adds fuel to the fire of ocean acidification,’ said one of the study’s co-authors, Jonathan Wynn of the University of South Florida.

This story was published in the November 2013 edition of Geographical Magazine

Related items

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in NATURE...

Nature

The field of bioremediation involves cleaning up toxic waste products…

Wildlife

A new analysis tots up the cost of invasive species…

Climate

It’s surprisingly difficult to know why trees die, but understanding…

Nature

By the late 1980s, almost all mature specimens of the…

Oceans

Scientists are discovering that narwhal tusks reveal a great deal about…

Climate

Climate change is bringing earlier, dangerous 'false springs', longer summers…

Wildlife

A victory for conservation, South Africa has announced plans to…

Energy

The UK has made little progress decarbonising heating, but a significant source…

Nature

The concept of 'natural capital', where the value of nature…

Geophoto

Prestigious photography competition returns for a fourth year

Climate

Founded in the USA by Denis Hayes, Earth Day became…

Geophoto

Tom Goldner's project Do Brumbies Dream in Red? is an intimate portrayal…

Wildlife

Not your usual tune: translating spider's silk into sound could…

Oceans

Millions of oysters have been rescued from the struggling shellfish…

Climate

History is littered with examples of fungi helping to digest…

Geophoto

The streets of Philadelphia are home to a small and forgotten…

Geophoto

When photographer Matthew Maran first snapped a fox he had…

Wildlife

Coloradans have voted to reintroduce grey wolves to the state