Ocean Acidification May Amplify Global Warming
Commercial fishermen and other mariners send an message to save the oceans from ocean acidification in Homer, Alaska.
Join the discussion below, or Read more at US News & World Report.
#1 Aug 26, 2013
Pay attention, folks. From the article:
Over the last 200 years, oceans have absorbed about 525 billion tons, roughly 50 percent of human-released carbon dioxide emissions.
"The 'price' for storing [carbon dioxide] is an ongoing decrease of seawater pH, a process that is likely to have diverse and harmful impacts on marine biota, food webs, and ecosystems," the study says.
Changes in the acidity of oceans, and thus the amount of dimethyl sulfide they produce, have the potential "to notably alter the Earth's radiation budget," the study says.
Historically, sea water has had a pH level of around 8.16, but has fallen by about 0.1 units since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, to 8.05, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory.
Although that sounds like a small change, it represents a nearly 30 percent increase in acidity, according to the Center for Ocean Solutions, located in Monterey, Calif. Oceans have not seen a change so "abrupt and large" for at least 650,000 years, the center says. Research predicts that sea water pH levels may continue to decrease by as much as 0.4 units by 2100.
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