A new bill in the Senate would address increasing ocean acidification.

Alaska's U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has introduced the Coastal Communities Ocean Acidification Act. It aims to identify communities who greatly depend on coastal and ocean resources and determine just how much they would be affected by ocean acidification.

The bill also attempts to strengthen the ability of several groups to work together, including indigenous groups, regional ocean acidification networks, and the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System.

"The reality is our ocean is becoming more acidic and will impact our ocean resources, coastal communities, and beyond if we don't take proactive steps to address it," said Sen. Murkowski. "My bill takes important steps in understanding just how ocean acidification is impacting our communities throughout Alaska and steps we need to take to maintain healthy oceans for generations to come."

The University of Alaska Fairbanks released a study Monday in partnership with the University of Colorado Boulder finds research that suggests increased acidification of the Southern Ocean will "cause a layer of water to form below the surface that corrodes the shells of some sea snails," which could greatly affect marine food webs. 

“If emissions were curbed tomorrow, this suddenly shallow horizon would still appear, even if possibly delayed,” Nicole Lovenduski of UCB said when the study was announced. “And that inevitability, along with the lack of time for organisms to adapt, is most concerning.”

The UAF researchers say the study raises concerns about parallels between the Southern Ocean and northern seas "could indicate that Alaska’s coastal waters are similarly at risk."

Claudine Hauri, co-author of the study and a chemical oceanographer at UAF’s International Arctic Research Center, has developed an Alaska regional model to explore ocean acidification impacts around the state.

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