Is the Chesapeake Bay becoming acidic?

Attached is an article on ocean acidification potentially damaging the oysters in the Chesapeake Bay, that doesn’t mention the actual pH. Increasing CO2 can cause ocean acidification by increasing the amount of carbonate in the ocean.  The article claims that the pH of the Bay has decreased by 0.11 units since 1760.  But it never mentions the actual pH, which, I would guess to be around 8.2.  An expert chemistry scholar might observe that anything above 7.0 pH is considered basic.

Other observations on this scary article.  pH measurements in 1760 are going to be hard to come by since the concept of pH was invented by Soren Sorenson in 1909.  Estimates of pH from the beginning of the Industrial Age are based on calculations.  The pH of water, particularly in something like the Chesapeake Bay is going to vary with rainfall and other factors.  Mollusks survive in a fairly wide range of pH’s.

JoNova has an excellent article on ocean acidification



2 responses to “Is the Chesapeake Bay becoming acidic?

  1. so we are talking about Virginia here ,

    EPA regulations –

    Virginia: pH range is 6.0-9.0 for Open Ocean and Estuarine waters (Class I and II).

    • Those are general NPDES limits. The article is talking about acidification from CO2. The pH of the Bay and certain areas in the Bay will be affected by NPDES discharges, rain water and other factors. The normal pH variation is thought to be about 0.3 units.

      By the way, what is the pH of the Chesapeake Bay? The pH of a container is either from a well mixed container or a number of samples that, in composite, are thought to be representative of the entire container. This article implies one pH. Probably not so.

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