Ocean Acidification


[ocean waves] [music] Narrator: Oceans. They have a critical role in protecting the Earth; covering nearly 71 percent of its surface. But rising sea levels, melting ice caps and ocean acidification are endangering our planet. [woosh] Narrator: EPA scientists are studying oceans to understand the impacts of climate change. Kristin Regan: Sea level rise is driven by climate change which is caused by an increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. And as carbon dioxide concentrations increase the ocean absorbs more of that trying to keep the Earth in balance and as it absorbs more carbon dioxide the water becomes more acidic which can affect how most of our seafood is grown. Narrator: As the ocean becomes more acidic, marine organisms, like plankton, mussels, and crabs, struggle to build their shells. Bill Richardson: As shellfish populations decrease, there will be less available for fishermen to harvest which means there will be less available in seafood restaurants and supermarkets. [radio chatter] [splash. Ocean waves] Bill Richardson: EPA is collecting ocean acidification data to help us fulfill our mission of protecting human health and the environment. The data are important because the ocean environment is currently changing, and the data will be useful for EPA to help fulfill our mission and protect the ocean and also inform policy makers when decisions are made related to climate change. [water splashing, underwater bubbles] Narrator: EPA has multiple methods to measure acidification and works on improving these methods through research. For example, EPA researchers and divers deploy instrumentation to study acidification. These instruments continuously record pH, temperature and salinity to help understand broader trends of water quality and acidification in coastal waters. [woosh, ocean waves] Narrator: Climate change is everyone’s problem. You can help reduce ocean acidification by cutting emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that cause acidification through simple actions like conserving water, using energy efficient lights and appliances, and by recycling. [music, ocean waves fades]

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