Once we kill off the Oceans of the Earth, what shall we do next?
Posted November 13, 2008 12:00 AM
Is the ocean a victim of global warming? Our intrepid reporter travels thousands of miles – from Moss Landing to Peru and Chile – to crack an environmental crime.
A cold, salty wind blows from the west. The gray Pacific Ocean – incubator of slimy life, cycler of nutrients, composer of storms – doesn’t seem like itself lately.
The bully they call El Niño seems to be coming around more often, screwing with every fishery he touches. Niño plays games with the world’s weather, flooding dry Peruvian coastal towns while parching lush Indonesia.
Expanding offshore twilight zones of low oxygen turn fish into refugees and kill whatever can’t swim away. Oregon fishermen pull up buckets of dead crabs while jumbo squid pulse poleward, happier than clams in the suffocating layer. Other warm-water species are hanging out in places that used to be too cool for them. Tropical storms are getting meaner; jellyfish are swarming.
Meanwhile, the mad chemist known as pH is tinkering with the ocean’s ions, making California’s coast more acidic than the psychedelic ’60s. Dolphins file noise complaints, the shells of microscopic snails dissolve, and light-reflecting plankton retreat.
The sea’s weird behavior is a tough nut to crack, but some of the world’s sharpest minds are on the case. Their chief suspect is carbon dioxide, code-named CO2: atmospheric loiterer, weather tweaker, planet heater.
For much more see this article or google “acid ocean” and watch the hits grow.