Dropping acid

‘Monaco Declaration’ sounds alarm about ocean acidification

If the idea of acidic oceans sounds problematic, it should. The carbon emissions that trap heat in the atmosphere also wind up in the ocean, where they dissolve and turn the water acidic. This lowering of the pH of seawater — already underway — threatens coral reefs, shellfish, and the vast food chains to which they belong.



Today 155 scientists issued a report on the rising danger of ocean acidification, saying swift and drastic emissions cuts are needed to curb the problem. The Monaco Declaration [PDF] is based on the work of the Second International Symposium on the Ocean in a High-CO2 World, held in Monaco last October. It’s not the first warning scientists have issued about ocean acidification, though the call to action from scientists from 26 countries is unusually strongly worded:

Ocean acidification could affect marine food webs and lead to substantial changes in commercial fish stocks, threatening protein supply and food security for millions of people as well as the multi-billion dollar fishing industry by mid-century, ocean acidification may render most regions chemically inhospitable to coral reefs. These and other acidification-related changes could affect a wealth of marine goods and services, such as our ability to use the ocean to manage waste, to provide chemicals to make new medicines, and to benefit from its natural capacity to regulate climate.

Jonathan Hiskes, grist, 30 January 2009. Full article.

1 Response to “Dropping acid”


  1. 1 Jean-Pierre Gattuso 20 February 2009 at 18:40

    The title of this article is unfortunate because, despite the process of ocean acidification, the oceans are alkaline and will not become acidic (pH lower than 7) even in the distant future.


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OA-ICC HIGHLIGHTS

Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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