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.

The report says it could make low-lying island nations more vulnerable to storms as their coral reefs become affected.

Arthur Webb, from the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission in Fiji, has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat Program it’s a subtle but dangerous change.

“As the pH increases the acidity decreases and as that occurs animals that lay down calcium carbonate shells, like everything from shell fish through to corals, their ability to take calcium carbonate from the water that they are surrounded in is reduced,” Mr Webb said.

[Important note: this is quoted verbatim from the ABC Radio web site. The first sentence of the paragraph above should read “As the pH decreases the acidity increases“]

ABC RAdio Australia, 19 June 2008. Article.

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