Unprecedented, man-made trends in ocean’s acidity (movie)

The animation shows how aragonite saturation at the ocean’s surface is projected to decrease towards the end of the 21st century as man-made carbon dioxide accumulation in the atmosphere continues to rise. Recent carbon dioxide emissions have pushed the level of seawater acidity far above the range of the natural variability that existed for thousands of years and are affecting the calcification rates of shell-forming organisms, according to a study of an international team of scientists led by IPRC’s Tobias Friedrich and Axel Timmermann published in Nature Climate Change.

The availability of carbonate ions is crucial for marine calcifying organisms to form their skeletons or shells that are made of different crystalline forms of calcium carbonate, such as calcite and aragonite. Aragonite is more soluble than calcite and organisms forming aragonite; thus, the saturation state of aragonite can be taken as an indicator for ocean acidification.

This animation was generated as part of a project funded by The Nature Conservancy, the National Science Foundation and JAMSTEC.

YouTube, 25 January 2012. Movie.

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