Copenhagen: Look to the Sea? (audio)

The oceans may be largely overlooked at the climate conference in Copenhagen, but they will bear the brunt of climate change.

The oceans control climate change. Not only do the world’s waters absorb the bulk of the extra heat trapped by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, they also absorb the bulk of the extra carbon dioxide. And that means one thing: a more acid ocean

New research shows that while some shell-forming sea critters, like lobsters, will actually build thicker shells in a more acid ocean, clams and oysters, among others, have shells that partially dissolved under the new conditions. And tiny creatures known as foramnifera are already building less thick shells as a result of a drop in ocean pH from 8.2 to 8.1 over the course of the last century. That tenth of a point on the logarithmic pH scale actually means a roughly 30 percent increase in acidity. 



David Biello, SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, 10 December 2009. Full article & audio.

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