Climate Change

Some effects of climate change—rising seas, warming water temperatures and prolonged periods of extreme weather—are already being observed in the Bay region.

FAQ

  • How will climate change affect the Chesapeake Bay?

    Climate change, sometimes called global warming, has led to sea-level rise and increased temperatures in the Chesapeake Bay and around the world. Other predicted effects of climate change include prolonged periods of extreme weather and changes in ocean chemistry, wildlife abundance and wildlife migration patterns.

  • How rapidly is sea level rising in the Chesapeake Bay?

    Over the past century, Chesapeake Bay waters have risen about one foot, and are predicted to rise another 1.3 to 5.2 feet over the next 100 years. This is faster than the global average because the land around the Bay is sinking through a process called subsidence.

  • What is ocean acidification?

    Ocean acidification occurs when carbon dioxide reacts with seawater to produce carbonic acid. This raises surrounding acidity levels and lowers carbonate ion levels, making it harder for oysters and other shellfish to produce the calcium carbonate needed to form their shells.

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Terms

  • Dead zone

    A condition where no oxygen is present in the water. Dead zones are often caused by the decomposition of algae blooms.

  • Dissolved oxygen (DO)

    The amount of oxygen that is present in the water. It is measured in units of milligrams per liter (mg/L), or the milligrams of oxygen dissolved in a liter of water.  Just like humans, all of the Bay’s living creatures need oxygen to survive.

  • Erosion

    The disruption or movement of soil by wind, water or ice, occurring naturally or as a result of land use practices.

  • Migration

    The seasonal movement of animals from one region to another.

  • Precipitation

    Rain, snow, sleet or hail that falls to the ground.

  • Wetland

    A transitional zone between land and water that is periodically flooded. For example, marshes, swamps and bogs are all wetlands.

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