Navigation Links
Earth on acid: The present & future of global acidification
Date:11/6/2012

Boulder, CO, USA Climate change and extreme weather events grab the headlines, but there is another, lesser known, global change underway on land, in the seas, and in the air: acidification.

It turns out that combustion of fossil fuels, smelting of ores, mining of coal and metal ores, and application of nitrogen fertilizer to soils are all driving down the pH of the air, water, and the soil at rates far faster than Earth's natural systems can buffer, posing threats to both land and sea life.

"It's a bigger picture than most of us know," says Janet Herman of the Department of Environmental Sciences at University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Herman and her colleague, Karen Rice of the USGS, discovered that despite the fact that they worked on different kinds of acidification in the environment, they were not well informed about the matter beyond their own specialties. So they have done an extensive review of science papers about all kinds of environmental acidification and are presenting their work in a poster session on Tuesday, 6 Nov., at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA) in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA.

Acidification is both a local and global problem, since it can be as close as a nearby stream contaminated by mine tailings or as far-reaching as the world's oceans, which are becoming more acidic as sea water absorbs higher concentrations of carbon dioxide that humans dump into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels.

Coal gives a double whammy by being the biggest contributor of anthropogenic carbon dioxide to the global atmosphere as well as creating regional acidification. Coal burning is famous for creating acid rain, which had dramatic environmental impacts on forests, streams, and lakes in eastern North America and Europe and led to major policy changes.

"It's not at all clear that other regions are considering such policy restrictions to be important," Herman says, regarding places where population growth is expected to increase acidifying activities.

Normally, acids in the environment are buffered by alkaline compounds released by the weathering of minerals in rocks. The problem today, according to Herman, is that the rate of acidification by human activities has outstripped the weathering rate and buffering capacity of the planet.

In their work, Herman and Rice look at the population projections by country over the next four decades to see where the increased industrialization and agriculture will likely lead to new acidification hot spots. Their hope is that by doing this people can anticipate the problem and plan to mitigate the harmful environmental effects, says Herman.


'/>"/>
Contact: Christa Stratton
cstratton@geosociety.org
Geological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Why astronauts experience low blood pressure after returning to Earth from space
2. Maintaining Earths sustainability: Scientists, engineers, educators take coordinated approach
3. EARTH: Antarctic trees surprise scientists
4. Research reveals contrasting consequences of a warmer Earth
5. Geologys Mystery Interval, the Great Deepening, and the largest kill-off in Earth history
6. Earthworms soak up heavy metal
7. Soft autonomous robot inches along like an earthworm
8. Scientists use worms to unearth cancer drug targets
9. Tale of 2 scientific fields -- ecology and phylogenetics -- offers new views of Earths biodiversity
10. Getting to the root -- unearthing the plant-microbe quid pro quo
11. Alpine Fault study shows new evidence for regular magnitude 8 earthquakes
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:7/20/2017)... July 20, 2017 Delta (NYSE: DAL ) customers ... Delta aircraft at Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). ... Delta launches biometrics to board aircraft ... Delta,s biometric boarding pass ... is now integrated into the boarding process to allow eligible Delta ...
(Date:6/14/2017)... IBM ) is introducing several innovative partner startups at VivaTech ... startups and global businesses, taking place in Paris ... will showcase the solutions they have built with IBM Watson ... France is one of the most dynamic ... in the number of startups created between 2012 and 2015*, ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... , May 16, 2017   Bridge Patient ... organizations, and MD EMR Systems , an ... partner for GE, have established a partnership to ... product and the GE Centricity™ products, including Centricity ... These new integrations will allow ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical Device Summit is back for ... June 2018 in San Francisco, CA. The Summit brings together current and former FDA ... board directors and government officials from around the world to address key issues in ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... ... Disappearing forests and increased emissions are the main causes of the evolving ... those living in larger cities are affected by air pollution related diseases. , That ... countries globally - decided to take action. , “I knew I had to take ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... conjugate (ADC) therapeutics, today confirmed licensing rights that give it exclusive global ... technology developed in collaboration with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). Additionally, ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... 2017 SomaGenics announced the receipt of a ... RealSeq®-SC (Single Cell), expected to be the first commercially ... microRNAs) from single cells using NGS methods. The NIH,s ... accelerate development of approaches to analyze the heterogeneity of ... techniques for measuring levels of mRNAs in individual cells ...
Breaking Biology Technology: