I blog about environmental and social justice issues because I am very concerned about the health of the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.

Melting Arctic ice.......beautiful and frightening!

Search This Blog

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Acid Oceans

The day after the gulf rig blew out, the National Research Council quietly issued a report on what exactly carbon dioxide, which is warming the atmosphere, is doing to seawater. As the oceans absorb some of the carbon our factories and engines pour into the atmosphere, the "chemistry of the ocean is changing at an unprecedented rate and magnitude," the report said. "The rate of change exceeds any known to have occurred for at least the past hundreds of thousands of years."
Say what?

Ocean acidification is the name given to the ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth's oceans, caused by their uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Acidifying the ocean is particularly detrimental to organisms that secrete shell material made of CaCO3, such as coral reefs and a type of phytoplankton called coccolithophori.
We are running a giant experiment on our planet and ourselves and our ecosystems.  What will happen when we live on a much hotter planet with incredibly unpredictable weather where the oceans are too acidic for oysters and coral reefs to thrive?  We're gonna find out.  Correction: we already know.  I can see pine beetle killed trees from my window.

No comments:

Post a Comment