“Some people call it the elephant in the room. I like to call it the blue whale in the pool,” scientist Brian Kingzett told a room of naturalists this week. He was talking about the dramatic rise in ocean acidity along the B.C. coast.
As the Oceanside Star reports, Kingzett, field station manager for the Vancouver Island University Centre for Shellfish Research, met the Arrowsmith Naturalists at the Knox United Church to deliver a talk, Climate Change and Ocean Acidification.
“It’s going to sound a little doom and gloom,” he told the room. When it comes to recent discoveries about ocean acidity, Kingzett said he could hardly believe what he was seeing.
Scientists, Kingzett explained, traditionally haven’t spent much time measuring ocean acidity because levels have remained so consistent for nearly 300 million years. Yet when he began sampling water in and around the Strait of Georgia, Kingzett was so surprised by the results he asked fellow researchers along the Pacific Northwest to confirm them.
It was true: the region’s pH levels had dropped from an expected 8.0 to a staggering 7.57. The difference seems moderate, but each 0.1 decrease represents a whopping 25 per cent increase in acidity.