Our changing world: The acid test: a feature on ocean acidification (audio)

with Alison Ballance, Ruth Beran & Veronika Meduna

Increasing carbon dioxide is making the world’s oceans more acidic; what does this mean for marine life? (duration: 43′22″)

In this special feature on ocean acidification, producer and diver Alison Ballance finds that coral reefs, such as the Great Barrier Reef pictured here, are already experiencing the effects of increasing acidity. (Image: M. Francis)

Ocean acidification has been called ‘The Other Carbon Dioxide Problem’. We’re all familiar with global warming and the effects that increasing carbon dioxide emissions are having on the atmosphere, but what few people realise is that about 30% of carbon dioxide emitted by human activities since the beginning of the industrial revolution has been absorbed by the world’s oceans. And rising levels of carbon dioxide in seawater are beginning to affect ocean chemistry, and as a consequence, marine life.

In this Our Changing World feature Alison Ballance talks with chemists and biologists about ocean acidification, what it is and what their experiments are beginning to reveal about its possible effects in southern hemisphere waters.

Many of the scientists featured in The Acid Test are meeting at the University of Otago on Monday 6 September for a workshop titled ‘Ocean Acidification in the South Pacific’ – it is the fourth such meeting in New Zealand, and one of a growing number of international conferences being held on the subject. Significant workshops were held in Paris in 2004, Monaco in 2008, with one being planned for California in 2012.

The Royal Society of New Zealand published an emerging issues paper on ocean acidification in 2009, following on from a similar position paper published by the Royal Society in 2005. Recent articles on the subject have featured in The Economist, Science (pdf) and Scientific American.

Radio New Zealand National, 2 September 2010. Article and audio.

3 Responses to “Our changing world: The acid test: a feature on ocean acidification (audio)”

  1. 1 Trajano Paiva 14 September 2010 at 03:32

    Does anyone knows the average rate on which ocean acidification process is taking place?

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