Navigation Links
Oceans turning to acid from rise in CO2

Editor : A 0.1 change over 200 years? I'd like to see how they calculated that, and their standard error - but as with the last article, don't panic just yet! Still, if it's a real trend, it could be alarming. Oceans are quite big... It takes a lot of acid to change its pH, I guess!

A report issued by the Royal Society in the U.K. sounds the alarm about the world's oceans. "If CO2 from human activities continues to rise, the oceans will become so acidic by 2100 it could threaten marine life in ways we can't anticipate," commented Dr. Ken Caldeira, co-author of the report and a newly appointed staff scientist at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology in Stanford, California.* The report on ocean acidification was released today by the Royal Society. See

Many scientists view the world's oceans as an important sink for capturing the human-induced greenhouse gas CO2 and slowing global warming. Marine plants soak up CO2 as they breathe it in and convert it to food during photosynthesis. Organisms also use it to make their skeletons and shells, which eventually form sediments. With the explosion of fossil-fuel burning over the past 200 years, it has been estimated that more than a third of the human-originated greenhouse gas has been absorbed by the oceans. While marine organisms need CO2 to survive, work by Caldeira and colleagues shows that too much CO2 in the ocean could lead to ecological disruption and extinctions in the marine environment.

When CO2 gas dissolves into the ocean it produces carbonic acid, which is corrosive to shells of marine organisms and can interfere with the oxygen supply. If current trends continue, the scientists believe the acidic water could interrupt the process of shell and coral formation and adversely affect other organisms dependent upon corals and shellfish. The acidity could also negatively impact other calcifying organisms, such as phytoplankton and zooplankto n, some of the most important players at the base of the planet's food chain.

"We can predict the magnitude of the acidification based on the evidence that has been collected from the ocean's surface, the geological and historical record, ocean circulation models, and what's known about ocean chemistry," continued Caldeira. "What we can't predict is just what acidic oceans mean to ocean ecology and to Earth's climate. International and governmental bodies must focus on this area before it's too late."

The pH (potential of Hydrogen) scale is from 1 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Anything that lowers pH makes the solution more acidic. The scientists calculated that over the past 200 years, the pH of the surface seawater has declined by 0.1 units, which is a 30% increase in hydrogen ions. If emissions of CO2 continue to rise as predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's IS92a scenario, there will be another drop in pH by .5 units by 2100, a level that has not existed in the oceans for many millions of years. In addition, the changes in the oceans' chemistry will reduce their ability to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, which in turn will accelerate the rate of global warming.

"This report should sound the alarm bells around the world," remarked Chris Field, director of the Carnegie Department of Global Ecology. "It provides compelling evidence for the need for a thorough understanding of the implications of ocean acidification. It also strengthens the case for rapid progress on reducing CO2 emissions."


Source:Carnegie Institution

Related biology news :

1. Oceans more vulnerable to agricultural runoff than previously thought, study finds
2. Oceans are 70 percent shark free
3. MIT: Oceans are a major gene swap-meet for plankton
4. Seals protect brain, conserve oxygen by turning off shivering response on icy dives
5. Mechanical artificial hearts can remove need for heart transplant by returning heart to normal
Post Your Comments:

(Date:4/11/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global ... ... at a CAGR of 30.37% during the period 2017-2021. ... based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. ... the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of the ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... April 5, 2017 Today HYPR Corp. ... the server component of the HYPR platform is officially ... the end-to-end security architecture that empowers biometric authentication across ... has already secured over 15 million users across the ... of connected home product suites and physical access represent ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... 30, 2017 The research team of The ... (3D) fingerprint identification by adopting ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae recovery ... of speed and accuracy for use in identification, crime investigation, immigration ... ... A research team ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 2017 , ... At its national board meeting in North ... the co-founder, CEO and chief research scientist of Minnesota-based Advanced Space Technology and ... ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame . ASTER Labs is a technology development ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... Oct. 11, 2017  VMS BioMarketing, a leading provider of ... oncology Clinical Nurse Educator (CNE) network, which will launch this ... communication among health care professionals to enhance the patient care ... staff, and other health care professionals to help women who ... ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... CALIF. (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 , ... San ... part of its corporate rebranding initiative announced today. The bold new look is ... reach, as the company moves into a significant growth period. , It will also ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... Calif. , Oct. 10, 2017 SomaGenics ... from the NIH to develop RealSeq®-SC (Single Cell), expected ... for profiling small RNAs (including microRNAs) from single cells ... Program highlights the need to accelerate development of approaches ... "New techniques for measuring levels ...
Breaking Biology Technology: