Acid seas problem getting worse

While the world is riveted on Japan’s tragedy, other global menaces are proceeding, barely noticed. One creeping disaster is acidification of the world’s seas, caused by CO2 from burning of fossil fuels.

“The carbon dioxide we pump into the air is seeping into the oceans and slowly acidifying them. One hundred years from now, will oysters, mussels and coral reefs survive?” Elizabeth Kolbert asks that question in “The Acid Sea” in the April National Geographic. She continues:

“The atmosphere has a higher concentration of carbon dioxide today than at any point in the past 800,000 years and probably a lot longer. What is less well known is how carbon emissions are changing the oceans too.”

Ocean acidification is the “evil twin” of global warming, according to Jane Lubchenco, a marine ecologist who heads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. Much damage has already been done. “The acidification that has occurred so far is probably irreversible,” Kolbert believes.

The Charleston Gazette, 21 March 2011. Full article.

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