Researchers find emissions destroy Southern Ocean marine life

Australian scientists have estimated that carbon emissions will start destroying marine life in the Southern Ocean in just over 20 years time.

Our reporter Nonee Walsh says the world’s oceans absorb carbon dioxide, and are becoming more acidic.

A University of New South Wales researcher Ben McNeil has factored in seasonal variations, and found acidity levels in the Southern Ocean will damage tiny ocean organisms, sooner than previously thought.

“They start to dissolve. One is called a tetrapod – swimming snails, and they form the basis of the food chain. It has the effect of amplifying bringing forward the onset of these problematic conditions for these particular species.”

Dr McNeil’s tipping point is expected to be reached in 2030, when global atmospheric carbon is 15 percent higher than it is now.



Radio Australia, 11 November 2008. Article.

1 Response to “Researchers find emissions destroy Southern Ocean marine life”


  1. 1 gattuso 25 November 2008 at 15:41

    The terminology used in this article is not scientifically accurate. The definition of “acidic” in the Oxford English dictionary is “having the properties of an acid; having a pH of less than 7”. This definition does not apply to un-manipulated seawater now nor in the foreseeable future. Hence, the adjective “acidic” should not be used. Note that there are some exceptions, for example in the immediate vicinity of CO2 vents.

    Note also that the swimming snails mentioned are pteropods (not “tetrapods”).


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