Reef threat fails to meet the acid test

Now that the Bligh Government has saved the Great Barrier Reef from farming, the new threat – and there always has to be one – is ocean acidification caused by increasing atmospheric CO2.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) claims coral calcification (skeletal growth and density) is in rapid decline from acidification despite the obvious contradiction that our reefs have recovered very quickly from cyclone damage and bleaching events which occurred over recent years.

GBRMPA says by 2100 oceanic pH may decrease by as much as 0.4 to pH 7.8 and as that means the water will be less alkaline, it will be disastrous for coral calcification.

However, as the neutral point on the pH scale is 7.00 the water will not actually be acidic, just a bit less alkaline, and the evidence for detriment to corals at pH 7.8 is dubious.

Some experiments indicate decreased calcification while others show an increase.

Dr Walter Starck, North Queensland Register, 8 April 2010. Full article.

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