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KCAW: How do melting glaciers change ocean chemistry? #IronGate

by Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska News


Scientists have known for years that greenhouse gasses are altering the chemical makeup of our oceans.
More and more carbon dioxide is dissolving into salt water, creating carbonic acid. That changes the ocean’s pH, or acid-alkaline balance.
And it’s hitting harder in Alaska.
“We really have a unique environment that’s preconditioned to already be sensitive to ocean acidification,” says Jeremy Mathis, who directs the University of Alaska Fairbanks Ocean Acidification Research Center.
He’s also an oceanographer with NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Lab in Seattle..........
............................Some have proposed geo-engineering the ocean by adding lime or other alkaline substances to counter acidification. Mathis says it just won’t work because the ocean is too large.
“There’s not really a mechanism for removing that carbon dioxide. All you can do is turn off the supply and then wait for what has already been introduced to slowly mix itself out,” he says.
That includes a recent private, unsanctioned effort off the coast of British Columbia. Iron was dumped into the ocean to fuel a phytoplankton bloom. That removed carbon dioxide from the air, but added it to the ocean.
Mathis says it was a stupid idea that just transferred the problem from the atmosphere to the sea........ http://www.kcaw.org/2012/11/20/how-do-melting-glaciers-change-ocean-chemistry/