Arctic Ocean Acidification Assessment: Summary for Policy-makers

This document presents the Executive Summary of the 2013 Arctic Ocean Acidification (AOA) Assessment.

Key finding 1
Arctic marine waters are experiencing widespread and rapid ocean acidification.Scientists have measured signifi cant rates of acidifi cation at several Arctic Ocean locations. In the Nordic Seas, for example, acidifi cation is taking place over a wide range of depths—most rapidly in surface waters and more slowly in deep waters. Decreases in seawater pH of about 0.02 per decade have been observed since the late 1960s in the Iceland and Barents Seas. Notable chemical effects related to acidifi cation have also been encountered in surface waters of the Bering Strait and the Canada Basin of the central Arctic Ocean.
Key finding 2
The primary driver of ocean acidification is uptake of carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere by human activities When carbon-rich materials such as coal or oil are burned (for example, at power stations), carbon dioxide is released to the atmosphere. Some of this gas is absorbed by the oceans, slowing its buildup in the atmosphere and thus the pace of human-induced climate warming, but at the same time increasing seawater acidity. As a result of human carbon dioxide emissions, the average acidity of surface ocean waters worldwide is nowabout 30% higher than at the start of the Industrial Revolution.