Scientists tackle acid buildup in oceans

Scientists will gather in Canberra on Thursday to discuss research showing the world’s oceans are becoming more acidic, creating a danger for vast numbers of marine creatures.

The coral scientists believe the increasing acidity is caused by the gradual buildup of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere and dissolving into the oceans.

The Coral Reef Futures 07 Forum is being hosted by the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS).

“Recent research into corals using boron isotopes indicates the ocean has become about one third of a pH unit more acid over the past 50 years,” CoECRS scientist Professor Malcolm McCulloch said in a statement.

“This is still early days for the research, and the trend is not uniform, but it certainly looks as if marine acidity is building up.”

He said it appeared acidification was now taking place over decades, rather than centuries as originally predicted.

“It is happening even faster in the cooler waters of the Southern Ocean than in the tropics. It is starting to look like a very serious issue,” Professor McCulloch said.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 October 2007. Article.


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