Acidification

Quick Summary

Acidification occurs when the amount of CO2 dissolved in the water changes, thus changing the pH of the water. Acidification of estuaries and the coastal ocean can have detrimental effects on shellfish, such as oysters, by impacting their growth and survival. The impacts of acidification may be more prominent in lower salinity waters, particularly those impacted by eutrophication. Eutrophication leads to excessive growth of algae and a corresponding increase in respiration (decay of the algae). The increased respiration decreases the pH through the production of CO2. This means the Chesapeake Bay may be especially vulnerable to acidification. Water CO2 concentrations are also increasing globally as the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere increases, resulting in a global-scale decrease in pH.

Click on the headings below to see Nowcast, Forecast, and Trend maps. One set of maps shows the entire Chesapeake Bay and a second set focuses on the James, York, and Rappahannock Rivers.

pH

ph_nowcast

ph_forecast

ph_trend

J_ph_nowcast

J_ph_Forecast

J_ph_trend

Alkalinity

alk_nowcast

alk_forecastalk_trend

J_alk_nowcast

J_alk_forecast

J_alk_trend

Aragonite Saturation State (Omega)

Note: As part of an active research project, the aragonite saturation state (omega) from the forecast model is currently being improved. Please interpret with caution.

omega_nowcast

omega_Forecast

omega_Trend

J_omega_Nowcast

J_omega_Forecast

J_omega_trend