Ocean acidification report at Copenhagen

A report warning the rate of ocean acidification is at its fastest for 55 million years has been presented to delegates at the Copenhagen Climate Change conference.

The report by more than 100 marine scientists says that since the Industrial Revolution in the mid-19th century, the sea has become 30 per cent more acidic. A review of existing studies, it warns that coral reefs, algae and plankton – the base of many marine food chains – will be severely affected by increased acidity and species could become extinct.

The scientific consensus of the report is that sea acidity is rising due to increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – a quarter of carbon dioxide released by burning fossil fuels is absorbed by the sea.

Dr Helen Phillips, chief executive of Natural England who co-sponsored the report, said: ‘Acidification of our seas is being directly linked to the growing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and our oceans are struggling to cope. The threat to the delicate balance of the marine environment cannot be overstated – this is a conservation challenge of unprecedented scale.’

For more on ocean acidification, see DIVE’s article: Acid ocean warning

Jo Mattock, DIVE MAGAZINE, 10 December 2009. Article.

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