Archive for June, 2008

Regional scale impacts of distinct CO2 additions in the North Sea

A marine system model applied to the North West European shelf seas is used to simulate the consequences of distinct CO2 additions such as those that could arise from a failure of geological sequestration schemes. The choice of leak scenario is guided by only a small number of available observations and requires several assumptions; hence the simulations reported on are engineered to be worse case scenarios. The simulations indicate that only the most extreme scenarios are capable of producing perturbations that are likely to have environmental consequences beyond the locality of a leak event. Tidally driven mixing rather than air–sea exchange is identified as the primary mechanism for dispersal of added CO2. We show that, given the available evidence, the environmental impact of a sequestration leak is likely to be insignificant when compared to the expected impact from continued non-mitigated atmospheric CO2 emissions and the subsequent acidification of the marine system. We also conclude that more research, including both leak simulations and assessment of ecological impacts is necessary to fully understand the impact of CO2 additions to the marine system. Continue reading ‘Regional scale impacts of distinct CO2 additions in the North Sea’

Session “Climate change and ocean acidification”, 11th Pacific Science Inter-Congress

Julie Cole and Jean-Pierre Gattuso will co-chair session 2 on “Climate change and ocean acidification” at the 11th Pacific Science Inter-Congress, Tahiti, 2-6 March 2009.

Continue reading ‘Session “Climate change and ocean acidification”, 11th Pacific Science Inter-Congress’

Silent grief on a tragic reef

Silently and steadily, a tragedy is unfolding beneath the ocean’s waves: Coral reefs around the world are disappearing. According to some projections, there could be few, if any, left by the end of the century.

This dire and credible prediction has shocked many marine scientists, who had not realized how close to the tipping point coral reefs are. The news is especially disheartening because 2008 is the International Year of the Reef.

The culprit here is carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas that is responsible for global warming and that also is turning our oceans into an acid bath.

Continue reading ‘Silent grief on a tragic reef’

Ocean acidification and its potential effects on marine ecosystems

Ocean acidification is rapidly changing the carbonate system of the world oceans. Past mass extinction events have been linked to ocean acidification, and the current rate of change in seawater chemistry is unprecedented. Evidence suggests that these changes will have significant consequences for marine taxa, particularly those that build skeletons, shells, and tests of biogenic calcium carbonate. Potential changes in species distributions and abundances could propagate through multiple trophic levels of marine food webs, though research into the long-term ecosystem impacts of ocean acidification is in its infancy. This review attempts to provide a general synthesis of known and/or hypothesized biological and ecosystem responses to increasing ocean acidification. Marine taxa covered in this review include tropical reef-building corals, cold-water corals, crustose coralline algae, Halimeda, benthic mollusks, echinoderms, coccolithophores, foraminifera, pteropods, seagrasses, jellyfishes, and fishes. The risk of irreversible ecosystem changes due to ocean acidification should enlighten the ongoing CO2 emissions debate and make it clear that the human dependence on fossil fuels must end quickly. Political will and significant large-scale investment in clean-energy technologies are essential if we are to avoid the most damaging effects of human-induced climate change, including ocean acidification.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification and its potential effects on marine ecosystems’

Effects of high CO2 seawater on the copepod (Acartia tsuensis) through all life stages and subsequent generations

We studied the effects of exposure to seawater equilibrated with CO2-enriched air (CO2 2380 ppm) from eggs to maturity and over two subsequent generations on the copepod Acartia tsuensis. Compared to the control (CO2 380 ppm), high CO2 exposure through all life stages of the 1st generation copepods did not significantly affect survival, body size or developmental speed. Egg production and hatching rates were also not significantly different between the initial generation of females exposed to high CO2 and the 1st and 2nd generation females developed from eggs to maturity in high CO2. Thus, the copepods appear more tolerant to increased CO2 than other marine organisms previously investigated for CO2 tolerance (i.e., sea urchins and bivalves). However, the crucial importance of copepods in marine ecosystems requires thorough evaluation of the overall impacts of marine environmental changes predicted to occur with increased CO2 concentrations, i.e., increased temperature, enhanced UV irradiation, and changes in the community structure and nutritional value of phytoplankton.

Continue reading ‘Effects of high CO2 seawater on the copepod (Acartia tsuensis) through all life stages and subsequent generations’

Committee passes legislation to reauthorize (…) monitor ocean acidification

Today, the House Committee on Science and Technology approved two bills, H.R. 4174, the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act of 2007, and and H.R. 5618, the National Sea Grant College Program Amendments Act of 2008.
Continue reading ‘Committee passes legislation to reauthorize (…) monitor ocean acidification’

Twenty years later: tipping points near on global warming

James Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, marks the 20th anniversary of his groundbreaking statement to Congress by saying there’s no time left to delay in defusing the global warming time bomb

Continue reading ‘Twenty years later: tipping points near on global warming’

European project on ocean acidification launched

Epoca 10 June 2008: The European Project on Ocean Acidification (EPOCA) was launched on 10 June 2008. This EU research project is a consortium of over 100 scientists from 27 organizations in nine countries to address ocean acidification. Its goal is to document ocean acidification, investigate its impact on biological processes, predict its consequences for the next 100 years, and advise policy-makers on potential thresholds or tipping points that should not be exceeded. Continue reading ‘European project on ocean acidification launched’

Sea acidity a threat to Pacific reefs

Scientists are warning of another danger from climate change, which could pose a serious threat to the Pacific region.

A report by the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Research Centre in Australia is warning of rising acidity in the ocean, caused by seas absorbing greenhouse carbon dioxide.

Continue reading ‘Sea acidity a threat to Pacific reefs’

Relief for Our Reefs

Brainless, immobile and with only the most primitive nervous systems, coral polyps have built some of the most magnificent structures on our planet.

SILENTLY and steadily, a tragedy is unfolding beneath the ocean’s waves: Coral reefs around the world are disappearing. According to some projections, there could be few, if any, left by the end of the century.

This dire and credible prediction has shocked many marine scientists, who had not realized how close to the tipping point coral reefs are. The news is especially disheartening because 2008 is the International Year of the Reef.

The culprit here is carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas that is responsible for global warming and that also is turning our oceans into an acid bath.

Continue reading ‘Relief for Our Reefs’


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