Thursday April 18, 2024

Los Angeles Times

As the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities continue to increase the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the ocean is absorbing a large portion of the CO2, which is making seawater more acidic.

The changing water chemistry in the ocean has far-reaching effects for plankton, shellfish and the entire marine food web.

And here’s one important fact about ocean acidification: It’s not happening at the same rate everywhere.

The California coast is one of the regions of the world where ocean acidification is occurring the fastest. And researchers have found that local sources of pollution are part of the problem.

In particular, effluent discharged from coastal sewage treatment plants, which has high nitrogen levels from human waste, has been shown to significantly contribute to ocean acidification off the Southern California coast. These nitrogen-filled discharges also periodically contribute to algae blooms, leading to hypoxia, or oxygen-deprived water that is inhospitable for marine life.

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