Canada’s Beaufort Sea acidifying fastest in the world according to new study

Macleans.ca reports on the findings of a new study into ocean acidification:

A study has found that the Beaufort sea is acidifying faster than any other ocean. Image credit: Collection of Dr. Pablo Clemente-Colon, NOAA National Ice Center.

A study has found that the Beaufort sea is acidifying faster than any other ocean.
Image credit: Collection of Dr. Pablo Clemente-Colon, NOAA National Ice Center.

Research suggests Canada’s Beaufort Sea is becoming acidic more quickly than any other ocean in the world, offering a window into what a major side effect of climate change will do to waters around the globe.

“As goes the Arctic, so go the rest of the oceans,” said Jeremy Mathis of the U.S.-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, lead author of the new paper published in the journal Oceanography.

In about 10 years, he predicts the Arctic waters off the Northwest Territories will be more acidic for most of the year than they have ever been before. The consequences for sea life are unknown, although organisms that have shells are likely to have trouble.

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Scientists have concluded that oceans around the globe are already an average of 30 per cent more acidic than they were 200 years ago. Acidification is happening fastest in the North because Arctic seas are already low in the chemicals that buffer against the process and because they are increasingly exposed to the atmosphere as sea ice retreats.

To read more on the changing world and what you can do to prepare, visit: www.greatwavesofchange.org

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