Pollution making oceans more acidic, study says

Chemistry Changing Faster Than in Hundreds of Thousands of Years Because of Carbon Dioxide Absorption, Researchers Say

The chemistry of the oceans is changing faster than it has in hundreds of thousands of years because of the carbon dioxide being absorbed from the atmosphere, the National Research Council reported Thursday.

Carbon dioxide and other industrial gases have been a concern for several years because of their impact on the air, raising global temperatures in a process called the greenhouse effect.

One factor easing that warmth has been the amount of CO2 taken up by the oceans, but that has also caused scientific concerns because the chemicals make the water more acidic, which can affect sea life.

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, the pH of ocean water has declined from 8.2 to 8.1 and a further decline of 0.2 to 0.3 units is expected by the end of this century, according to the Research Council, an arm of the National Academy of Science.

CBS NEWS, 22 April 2010. Full article.

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