Study: Acidification of oceans could impact marine life

Chasing camera shy sea life is an occupational hazard when you work with a giant Imax camera. But veteran filmmakers Howard and Michele Hall do it to make people aware of a new hazard to the oceans, they’re becoming more acidic.

“We’re trying to show what carbon dioxide is doing to the ocean, not only because of global warming, but also the chemical effects that carbon dioxide are having on our oceans,” says Underwater Filmmaker Howard Hall.

Research shows that seawater has become about 30 percent more acidic than it was around 1800. And it’s projected to be 150 percent more acidic by the end of the century, the biggest change in 20 million years. Most of this change is happening in the upper part of the ocean, where most marine life lives.

“We’re changing the acidity of the oceans faster than the organisms have ever experienced during their course of evolution,” says Oceanographer Richard Feely

NOAA Oceanographers Richard Feely and Christopher Sabine discovered that this is made worse in some coastal regions by nature. They wrote in the journal Science that along the West Coast of North America, seasonal winds cause the ‘upwelling’ of water from deeper in the ocean, bringing more naturally occurring carbon dioxide with it.

“We were getting levels of acidification up onto the shelf in these upwelling regions that were much more dramatic than we expected to see,” says Sabine.

Lab tests have shown the increased acid can impact ocean life, endangering the cast of the next generation of undersea films.

Brad Kloza, News Watch 12 ABC, 26 August, 2008. Movie.

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