UW News

April 19, 2007

Oceanographer flags dangers of ocean warming, acidification in April 23 lecture

The one-two punch of global warming and a chemical change in ocean waters because of human-caused carbon dioxide is the topic of the lecture Monday, April 23, titled Global Warming and Ocean Acidification: Double Trouble for Marine Ecosystems.

Oceanographer Richard Feely will describe the latest findings about significant changes that are underway in marine ecosystems at 7 p.m. in Kane Hall, room 120, on the University of Washington campus.

Visit http://depts.washington.edu/uwpcc/ourprog/Feely2007_lecture.html for more information.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the UW’s Program on Climate Change. But climate change is only one challenge faced by marine organisms and ecosystems. A second is what is called ocean acidification where excess, human-caused carbon dioxide from the atmosphere has dissolved into the world’s oceans. This has changed the chemistry of the water making it, among other things, more difficult for certain organisms to build and maintain their shells, protective coatings and skeletons.

Tropical corals, for instance, face coral bleaching during higher than normal ocean temperatures while ocean acidification depletes the material needed by the organisms that build the coral structures we’re all so familiar with, says Feely, who holds appointments with the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and as an UW affiliate faculty member in oceanography.

Scientists from across the nation, who are striving to predict what the effects on ecosystems might be, will be meeting Monday and Tuesday on the UW campus for a workshop on “Anthropogenic Stresses on Ocean Ecosystems.”