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Oceans on Acid: Oceans Worst in 300 Years

 

When we spew carbon dioxide into our air, it eventually ends up in our oceans, too. This results in global warming’s evil twin: ocean acidification.

As oceans absorb carbon dioxide, or CO2, seawater chemistry changes and the water becomes more acidic. According to scientists, the oceans have become about 30 percent more acidic due to human CO2 emissions and this spells trouble for ocean life.

First of all, ocean acidification depletes seawater of the compounds that organisms need to build shells and skeletons, impairing the ability of corals, crabs, seastars, sea urchins, plankton and other marine creatures to build the protective armor they need to survive. To make matters worse, fish and other ocean organisms may be adversely affected from the rise in acidity in their ocean habitat. Fish are common ocean prey, and plankton are at the base of the ocean food chain, so when these animals suffer, so do the countless animals that eat them. Ocean acidification could disrupt the entire marine ecosystem.

Now there’s fresh evidence that sea life is in danger. A new study finds the world’s oceans are turning acidic faster than at any time in the past 300 million years — a period that included four mass extinctions of species.

The research, published in the journal Science, says that while past spikes in carbon dioxide levels that have turned the ocean acidic were driven by volcanoes and other natural causes, the latest disastrous shift in water chemistry is because of human pollution. Every day, 22 million tons of the CO2 we spew into the air are absorbed into our oceans. “If industrial carbon emissions continue at the current pace,” one researcher says, “we may lose organisms we care about — coral reefs, oysters, salmon.”

Since ocean acidification is one of the gravest threats to marine biodiversity, the Center for Biological Diversity is tackling it head on to protect our oceans from CO2 pollution – help us save the planet’s oceans by signing our petition to reduce global carbon dioxide levels to a sustainable 350 parts per million. Learn more about the Center for Biological Diversity’s work to stop ocean acidification and the study in The Christian Science Monitor.

 

Related Stories:

The Future of Water

Climate Talks End to Mixed Reviews

Carbon Fasting: Christians Give up CO2 for Lent

 

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140 comments

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8:17AM PST on Dec 7, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

8:20PM PDT on Jun 19, 2012

:(

5:34AM PDT on Jun 14, 2012

What utter tommy rot! The oceans are alkaline, not acidic. When the ocean gets warmer it drives off CO2, it can hold less CO2 as the temperature rises. The notion that humans are causing global warming defies science. Not the fraudulent "hockey stick" science of Dr Mann, now thoroughly rumbled and deserted even by the IPCC. Anthropogenic global warming warriors have even delayed the real science of the study of cosmic particles at CERN by 8 years. Climate science is much more complex than the simplistic notion that humans adding CO2 to the atmosphere are melting the ice caps and tipping the planet to a slide into irreversible burn-up. Study the science, not the political frenzy.

5:34AM PDT on Jun 14, 2012

What utter tommy rot! The oceans are alkaline, not acidic. When the ocean gets warmer it drives off CO2, it can hold less CO2 as the temperature rises. The notion that humans are causing global warming defies science. Not the fraudulent "hockey stick" science of Dr Mann, now thoroughly rumbled and deserted even by the IPCC. Anthropogenic global warming warriors have even delayed the real science of the study of cosmic particles at CERN by 8 years. Climate science is much more complex than the simplistic notion that humans adding CO2 to the atmosphere are melting the ice caps and tipping the planet to a slide into irreversible burn-up. Study the science, not the political frenzy.

9:39PM PDT on Apr 15, 2012

This is so very sad. Our oceans are so beautiful.

11:23AM PDT on Mar 19, 2012

Tutto questo è molto terrificante.

8:38AM PDT on Mar 19, 2012

Our poor oceans life can hardly hold on now. It takes much more time to adapt and many species cannot. We are really in trouble!

7:41AM PDT on Mar 19, 2012

Well, actually the rate of acidification is the fastest we have seen in the last 65 million years. This is when a large asteroid hit the Earth and wiped out the dinosaurs. It also hit in the Yucatan that vaporize carbonates and anhydrites that put enormous quantities of CO2 and sulfur into the atmosphere, respectively. The result was the CO2 went into the ocean and created a weak carbonic acid and the sulfur combined in the atmosphere and became sulfiric acid that rained down on land and the oceans.

Even with this caveat, the problem is real and potentially catastrophic for the oceans, life as we know it as well as for humanity in general.

6:09PM PDT on Mar 18, 2012

This is very scary

6:08PM PDT on Mar 18, 2012

This is very scary

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