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Global Warming Threatens Alaska’s Waters with Acidification

Over time, Alaska has been affected by global warming through shrinking glaciers, costal erosion, and melting sea ice in the Artic that impacts marine animals and sea life found in these waters. Recently, scientists discovered that Alaska’s waters are becoming less basic and more acidic as a result of global warming.  Increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere lead to ocean acidification, as nearly thirty percent of greenhouse gases emitted by humans gets absorbed into the ocean each year.  A chemical oceanographer conducted research on the seawater and found samples to contain more acidity than in tropical waters.  Testing also found multiple locations where the acidity inhibits the growth of shell-building minerals causing many shellfish to struggle to building strong shells.  Instead of focusing on growth and reproduction, these types of creatures will have to spend their energy on adjusting to acidity changes in the water.  Last year Alaska rejected The Center for Biological Diversity’s request for the state to declare its waters damaged under the Clean Water Act, but the center renewed its request this year in hopes that the state will submit to their plea.

Sources:

Joling, Dan. “Global Warming Threatens Alaska’s Waters with Acidification.”

Alternet. N.p., 9 Sept. 2009. Web. 5 Oct. 2009. <http://www.alternet.org/water/142536>.

Student Researchers: Jillian Harbin & Abbey Wilson

Faculty Instructor: Kevin Howley, Associate Professor of Media Studies, DePauw University

Evaluator: Tim Cope, Department of Geosciences, DePauw University

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