Double trouble: Climate change and ocean acidification

In recent years the world has experienced some of the hottest years ever recorded. Scientists warn that climate change resulting from the heat-trapping effect of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gases released into the atmosphere is accelerating, and the world is becoming warmer at a rate not anticipated just a decade ago. As polar ice melts, mountain glaciers shrink, and deserts expand, biologists and resource managers everywhere face the challenge of how to prepare for the changes to come.

As significant as these threats are, however, they represent only part of the problem created by the emission of 250 billion metric tonnes of greenhouse gases since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. While half the world’s CO2 has remained in our atmosphere, the other half has dissolved in the oceans to be taken up by marine plants or, in combination with seawater, to become carbonic acid. As a result, the world’s naturally alkaline oceans have already become 30% more acidic in a process known as “ocean acidification.” The twin threats of climate change and ocean acidification pose major problems not only for marine species but for life on Earth.

Marydele Donnelly, Caribbean Conservation Corporation Newsletter: VELADOR, April 2010. Full article.

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OA-ICC HIGHLIGHTS

Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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