14 Jun

Coastal acidification is like beer….

b1_Page_14One of our goals is to communicate the difference between “ocean acidification”, a relatively steady drop in ocean pH caused by carbon dioxide absorption form the atmosphere, and “coastal acidification” which is the result of powerful biological processes in nearshore habitats and is extremely variable.  One way we think about this is to highlight the difference between making a carbonated beverage by direct injection of carbon dioxide (ocean acidification) and brewing a beer, creating carbonation via yeast fermentation of sugars (coastal acidification).  Both are important and troubling consequences of human activities. Both are increasing.  Both can be harmful to marine and estuarine organisms.  But they arise mostly from different processes, and we must manage them accordingly.  Hence, this slide from a recent presentation on climate change in the Chesapeake Bay.