|Image: National Geographic|
EPA's efforts will have no effect
Oceans are not acidic, despite the front-page headline, “EPA tackles acidic oceans.”
Oceans are actually alkaline with a surface pH of around 8.1.
The article with this headline stated that the EPA is exploring whether to use the Clean Water Act to control greenhouse gas emissions because climate change legislation is stalled in Congress. The Washington Department of Ecology had originally been asked to use the Clean Water Act to regulate emissions, but stated that there wasn’t enough data about acidification of specific bodies of water to justify any such listings.
The serious concern being used by the EPA to justify its control of greenhouse gas emissions is the up-welling of deep ocean water along the West Coast by northwest summer winds. This deep ocean water is alkaline, but is somewhat less alkaline than the surface ocean water because it is colder and therefore contains more dissolved carbon dioxide.
The deep ocean water up-welling along the West Coast may not been have exposed at the ocean surface for centuries and the EPA efforts to control current greenhouse gas emissions will therefore have no effect on the pH of this deep ocean water for many years. These EPA efforts will also have no effect on the northwest winds and the ocean up-welling that they will continue to create along the West Coast.
KEN SCHLICHTE, Tumwater