Protecting Our Oceans from the Threat of Ocean Acidification
Source: AFS Blog
May 21, 2010
The world's oceans are becoming more acidic from absorbing carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere to the tune of 22 million tons each day. Surface waters have become 30% more acidic since the industrial age, and scientists predict that if carbon dioxide emissions continue unabated seawater acidity will increase 100-150% by the end of the century (Nature 437:681-686). Thus, ocean acidification is becoming one of the greatest threats to seawater quality.
Ocean acidification impairs the ability of marine animals—including corals, plankton, and shellfish—to build the protective shells they need to survive. Scientific evidence shows that ocean acidification may harm many marine organisms, and some of these impacts are already underway.
Studies of certain corals, shellfish, and plankton show that they will have difficulty building and maintaining their structures under future conditions of acidification (Limnol. Oceanogr. 54(6):2072-2080, J. of Marine Sci. 65: 414-432, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst. 10:Q07005).
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