Thursday, March 26, 2015

Bad ocean acidification news

Shell-shocked: Ocean acidification likely hampers tiny shell builders in Southern Ocean

The coccolithophore E. huxleyi is important in the marine carbon cycle and is responsible for nearly half of all calcium carbonate production in the ocean, said lead study author Natalie Freeman, a doctoral student in the CU-Boulder'sDepartment of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC). The new study indicates there has been a 24 percent decline in the amount of calcium carbonate produced in large areas of the Southern Ocean over the past 17 years.

The researchers used satellite measurements and statistical methods to calculate the calcification rate - the amount of calcium carbonate these organisms produced per day in surface ocean waters. Across the entire Southern Ocean, which surrounds Antarctica, there was about a 4
percent reduction in calcification rate during the summer months from 1998 to 2014. In addition, the researchers found a 9 percent reduction in calcification during that period in large regions of the Pacific and Indian sectors of the Southern Ocean.
Not quite sure how those percentages add up to 24% - I suppose it has to do with the area over which the reductions happen.

Anyhow, sounds bad.

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