The Other CO2 Problem

Acidic oceans threaten coral reefs' demiseOne hundred and thirty-five leading ocean scientists have released [ark | more] the Monaco Declaration to draw attention to the "other CO2 problem [search]". Carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas responsible for increases in global temperature and climate change, also causes ocean acidification [search]. Oceans have buffered the climate by absorbing some 25% of human released carbon dioxide, but as a result have already become 30% more acidic. This is interfering with the growth and health of shellfish and eating away at coral reefs, which will eventually affect marine food webs generally.
Ocean acidification is predicted to destroy most coral reefs by 2050, and substantially change commercial fish stocks, threatening food security and the fishing industry. This problem has seemingly come out of nowhere and is only now getting the attention it deserves. Should the human family fail to limit carbon dioxide emissions urgently and massively, we can expect not only terrestrial extreme weather, droughts, famines and sea rising; but also for global oceans to largely become slimy, lifeless, acidic cesspools. This is eerily reminiscent: Soylent green [search] is people.

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2 Responses

  1. R. Gates says:

    The acidification problem hardly “came out of nohwere”. In fact, marine biologists have been looking at it, and ringing alarm bells for several decades. It has long been known that the oceans would take up some of the excess carbon dioxide. What has come snuck up on us is how rapidly it seems the oceans have started “getting full” of the excess carbon dioxide. It was assumed that it would be able to take more by mixing it down to deeper levels through a sort of natural carbon sequestering action. This mixing has not occuring in the manner expected, and now the acidification is occuring at a very alarming rate.
    As go the oceans, so goes much the web of life across the entire planet. I'm beginning to feel guility for even posting to this site, as my very use of the web has serious effects on my carbon footprint, and therefore, on the very problem we are addressing here…
    R. Gates

  2. Good point R. Gates. I was referring to the issue coming to the public's attention, and the magnitude with which it is occurring. Thank you for keeping me on my toes!

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