Alarm over acidifying oceans

Alarm over acidifying oceans
From Site:
Climate change may be veering out of control before we understand the consequences, say scientists studying the world's oceans.

If carbon dioxide emissions keep rising, surface waters could become more acidic than they have been for 300 million years - except perhaps during global catastrophes. And this warning follows a report that the biological productivity of the oceans has fallen by six per cent since the 1980s.

"We are changing the chemistry of the ocean and we don't know what it's going to do," says Ken Caldeira, a climate specialist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

As the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere rises, more of the gas reacts with seawater to produce bicarbonate and hydrogen ions, increasing the acidity of the surface layer of water. Ocean pH was 8.3 after the last ice age and 8.2 before CO2 emissions took off in the industrial era. It is now 8.1.


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