Archive for June 9th, 2009

Ocean Acidification: The other CO2 problem (video)

Increased carbon dioxide is changing the chemistry of the earth’s oceans, threatening marine life

Earth’s atmosphere isn’t the only victim of burning fossil fuels. About a third of all carbon dioxide emissions are absorbed by the earth’s oceans, where they’re having an impact that’s just starting to be understood.

Over the last decade, scientists have discovered that this excess CO2 is actually changing the chemistry of the sea and proving harmful for many forms of marine life. This process is known as ocean acidification.

A more acidic ocean could wipe out species, disrupt the food web and impact fishing, tourism and any other human endeavor that relies on the sea.
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Why Waxman-Markey matters to the oceans

The sprawling Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill is headed to the full House and could be voted on as early as late June. The bill’s passage would signal real progress in the fight against climate change, but it would also be a vital step in preventing global warming’s terrifying cousin: ocean acidification.

As we speak, carbon emissions are changing the ocean’s chemistry. Here’s a quick ocean acidification primer: the oceans absorb a huge amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which reacts with sea water to produce carbonic acid, reducing the amount of available calcium carbonate that corals and marine life such as crabs, lobsters, clams and oysters depend on to produce their skeletons and shells.
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