Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
 2005 projects
Benthic processes

Observing the anthropogenically-induced pH shift in the ocean

Project Manager and Lead Scientist: Zbigniew Kolber
Lead Engineer: Denis Klimov

Although it is commonly accepted that the ocean pH will decrease in the near future, due to dissolution of excess CO2 in the atmosphere, the predicted extent of this phenomenon and its potential consequences on the energy cycle in the ocean remain uncertain. There is a sense of urgency to measure the extent and the rate of the pH shift on global scales and to identify and quantify the biological and geochemical responses to this change. Potential implementation of such a program will require: 

  • Development of a reliable pH sensor.
  • Evaluation of methods to determine how pH changes will affect biological processes, especially primary and secondary production.
  • Development of instruments capable of carrying the required measurements within the network of the ocean observatories.
  • Extensive testing, validating, and calibrating of these instrument in semi-controlled environments.

The goal of this exploratory proposal is to assess the scope of the effort required to meet these objectives, to identify the scientific and engineering requirements to carry this effort, and to evaluate whether MBARI should undertake such an effort.

Last updated: Feb. 05, 2009