Oceans absorb a quarter of annual emissions: report

The world’s oceans absorb about a quarter of all carbon dioxide emitted by humans each year and it is making the water so acidic it could start dissolving some cold water corals, scientists said on Thursday.

The oceans are acting as a giant storage locker for the main gas causing global warming, but at a cost to all marine life, said a report from the European Project on Ocean Acidification.

More acidic seas could weaken shells and damage creatures that build them, block chemicals that fish use to find their homes and make life noisier for dolphins as some sounds travel better in water that has soaked up carbon — among other effects researched by scientists in recent years.

“It is a global phenomenon that will be felt hardest and first in the polar regions but this doesn’t mean that warm water (regions) will not be affected,” Carol Turley from the Plymouth Marine Laboratory told a news conference on the sidelines of climate talks in Copenhagen.

Emma Graham-Harrison, REUTERS, 11 December 2009. Full article.

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