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Climate change isn't just acidifying the oceans it's also poisoning our lakes

It's well-known that CO2 emissions cause acidification in the ocean, which is harmful to wildlife such as shellfish. One new study shows that, while it is a different process, CO2 emissions cause harm in freshwater bodies of water as well.

Earth’s oceans absorb about 40% of all the carbon dioxide (CO2) that humans emit into the atmosphere. That CO2 then acidifies the water and is known to harm marine wildlife, especially shellfish, in a well-documented phenomenon known as ocean acidification. Yet according to a new study published in Current Biology, ocean waters are not the only bodies of water that are affected by CO2 emissions.

Researchers showed that, over the course of 35 years, four reservoirs in Germany had both a significant increase in CO2 and a related decrease in pH, with waters dropping by about 0.3. (pH runs on a scale of 1 to 14, with 1 being the most acidic and 14 being the most basic.) They detected these changes from data from the local Ruhr region agency, which monitors drinking water, over the years 1981 to 2015.

photo credit: Andi Campbell-Jones

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