Acid rain is affecting the coastal oceans much more than the rest of the ocean areas.
Click on image for full size
Jupiter Images/National Science Foundation
Acid Rain Has Greater Impact on Coastal Ocean Waters
News story originally written on September 7, 2007
Acid rain plays a small role in making the world's oceans more acidic. But new research has found that acid rain has a much bigger impact on the coastal sections of the ocean. Acid rain is caused by pollution in the atmosphere from power plants, cars, farming, and ranching.
When coastal areas become more acidic, marine animals such as sea urchins, corals, and certain types of planktons have a hard time creating exoskeletons (their hard outer shells). Because these animals are an important food source for other animals in the ocean, if they don't survive the food chain of the entire ocean ecosystem could be affected.
Scott Doney is a scientist on a team that has been looking into the affects of acid rain on the ocean and coastal areas. "Acid rain isn't just a problem of the land; it's also affecting the ocean," said Scott Doney. He added thar the problems from acid rain are the worst near the coasts. Coastal areas are vunerable because they have already been damaged by pollution, overfishing and climate change.
Also, phytoplankton and other ocean plants become overgrown when there is more acid in the oceans. When this happens, there are more areas of the ocean that don't have enough oxygen in them for plants and animals to live.
When doing their study, the research team built models of the ocean and the atmosphere to see where acid rain will probably have the biggest impact. They compared the results of their model with field observations other scientists made in coastal waters around the United States.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology
, rocks and minerals
, and Earth system science
You might also be interested in:
Acid rain is a general term used to describe different kinds of acidic air pollution. Although some acidic air pollutants return directly back to Earth, a lot of it returns in rain, snow, sleet, hail,...more
Biomes are large regions of the world with similar plants, animals, and other living things that are adapted to the climate and other conditions. Explore the links below to learn more about different biomes....more
Over 100 years ago, people worldwide began burning more coal and oil for homes, factories, and transportation. Burning these fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere....more
Scientists have learned that Mount Hood, Oregon's tallest mountain, has erupted in the past due to the mixing of two different types of magma. "The data will help give us a better road map to what a future...more
The Earth's mantle is a rocky, solid shell that is between the Earth's crust and the outer core, and makes up about 84 percent of the Earth's volume. The mantle is made up of many distinct portions or...more
Some geologic faults that appear strong and stable, slip and slide like weak faults, causing earthquakes. Scientists have been looking at one of these faults in a new way to figure out why. In theory,...more
The sun goes through cycles that last approximately 11 years. These solar cycle include phases with more magnetic activity, sunspots, and solar flares. They also include phases with less activity. The...more