CENTRAL COAST, Calif. - Carbon dioxide from Silicon Valley is making its way to the Central Coast and having some big effects on the Monterey Bay. Scientists estimate that area is adding an additional 25 million tons of carbon dioxide to the ocean each year.
Francisco Chavez is one of the scientists at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute responsible for measuring the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and ocean.
The scientists use instruments called “wave gliders” to study the effects that fossil fuels have on our environment. While doing so, they found the air wasn’t as clean near our ocean as it should be. “We started looking around and found it was coming from the Salinas Valley and Hecker Pass, Silicon Valley,” Chavez says.
From cars to plants to buildings- there are a lot of things that put out carbon dioxide. While plants suck up a lot of carbon dioxide during the day, they actually release a little bit at night. But, the carbon dioxide levels are *much higher* in industrial areas, including Silicon Valley.
“Winds blow in a certain direction and they bring it over the ocean, right here on top of us,” says Chavez.
When the C02 enters the ocean, it increases the acidity, which makes it tough on certain marine life. Chavez says, “It can dissolve the shells of certain organisms like mussels or sea urchins.”
While this problem is just now getting discovered, it’s been happening for several decades. Right now, scientists are getting the word out and continuing to study how this impacts the bay.