Sea Changes: Ocean Acidification Is Worse Than It’s Been for 300 Million Years
By Bryan Walsh | @bryanrwalsh | March 2, 2012 | 160
White coral skeleton, Cocos Island, Pacific Ocean. Such coral bleaching events are one consequence of ocean acidification
Human beings doing unprecedented things to the Earth, which is sort of impressive when you realize that the planet has existed for more than 4.5 billion years. But that’s what happens when 7 billion people produce and consume more and more stuff, emitting enormous amounts of gases like carbon dioxide and generally making of muck of things for everyone else.
Take the oceans. Researchers already know that the seas are becoming more acidic, thanks largely to the increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon. (Much of the carbon in the air is absorbed by the oceans—think of the fizz in a soda can—which over time makes them more acidic.) Over the last hundred years, the ocean pH—which measures the relative acidity of a liquid—has fallen by 0.1 unit to 8.1 That may not sound like much, but according to a new study published in Science, it’s all but unprecedented. Ocean acidification is now almost certainly occurring faster than it has for at least 300 million years—and as the rate of manmade carbon emissions increases in the future, acidification will likely only accelerate. That will have dire effects on corals and other ocean life that will struggle to adapt to a marine environment that will be changing—by geological standards at least—at breakneck pace.
Read more: http://ecocentric.blogs.time.com/2012/03/02/sea-changes-ocean-acidification-is-worse-than-its-been-for-300-million-years/#ixzz1q5QZYREl