SUMMIT COUNTY — Runoff from agricultural and urban areas is speeding up ocean acidification in some coastal areas, adding to the woes resulting from increased concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Ocean acidification occurs when the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or from the breakdown of organic matter, causing a chemical reaction to make it more acidic. Species as diverse as scallops and corals are vulnerable to ocean acidification, which can affect the growth of their shells and skeletons. Continue reading “Environment: Excess nutrients speed up ocean acidification”→
Nitrogen pollution affects wide range of land, sea ecosystems
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Nitrogen pollution is becoming one of the most pervasive global environmental problems, with nutrient pollution from agricultural runoff and sewage leading to coral diseases, bird die-offs, fish diseases, human diarrheal diseases and vector-borne infections transmitted by insects such as mosquitos and ticks.
About two-thirds of U.S. coastal systems are moderately to severely impaired due to nutrient loading and there are now nearly 300 hypoxic (low oxygen) zones along the U.S. coastline.
Air pollution continues to reduce biodiversity, with exotic, invasive species dominating native species that are sensitive to excess reactive nitrogen. For example, in California, airborne nitrogen is impacting one third of the state’s natural land areas, and the expansion of nitrogen-loving, non-native, highly flammable grasses in the western U.S. has increased fire risk in the region.