Greenhouse gas causing Canadian Arctic seas to acidify quicker: report

Research presented at the Arctic Council meeting in Finland says the Beaufort Sea could be corrosive enough within a decade to make it difficult for crustaceans to create shells.

Beaufort Sea acidification expected to make it difficult for crustaceans to develop shells within decade

In July 2017, ice is broken up by the Finnish icebreaker MSV Nordica as it sails through the Beaufort Sea off the coast of Alaska. A new report says the will be corrosive enough within a decade to make it hard for crustaceans to create shells. (David Goldman/Associated Press)

Research suggests that greenhouse gases are turning Canada's Arctic waters acidic at a faster rate than anywhere else in the North.

The results were presented to the eight countries that ring the Arctic Circle at a meeting in Finland earlier this week.

The report says the Beaufort Sea off Canada's northwest coast will be corrosive enough within a decade to make it hard for animals such as clams or crabs to create shells.

That is expected to slowly spread east.

Federal researcher Nadja Steiner, who helped write the report, says acidification and increasing water temperatures are likely to make it tough for fish that species such as seals, beluga whales and Arctic char depend on for food.

She says much remains unknown about the effects of increasing acidity in the North.

That's largely caused by water absorbing carbon dioxide from the air, a process which is increasing in the Arctic as ice cover diminishes.


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