Global carbon dioxide emissions are triggering troubling changes to ocean chemistry along the West Coast that require immediate, decisive actions to combat through a coordinated regional approach, a panel of scientific experts has unanimously concluded.
A failure to adequately respond to this fundamental change in seawater chemistry, known as ocean acidification, is anticipated to have devastating ecological consequences for the West Coast in the decades to come, the 20-member West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia (OAH) Science Panel warned in a comprehensive report unveiled April 4.
“The findings of the West Coast OAH Science Panel build on those of the Washington Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification, extending those findings to the entire West Coast, and incorporating consideration of the growing stressor, hypoxia. The strength of the OAH Panel’s findings lies in the coordinated, regional approach to the problem and opportunities for mitigation and adaptation that are scaled to the West Coast,” said Terrie Klinger, who participated in both panels and co-directs the Washington Ocean Acidification Center. Klinger is also director and professor of the UW’s School of Marine and Environmental Affairs.