Blue Planet II facts

Sir, On Sunday Blue Planet II chose to visualise ocean acidification by showing acid pouring on a coral, snail and mussel. The producers should have known better and Matt Ridley (Comment, Dec 11) is right to criticise the BBC for it. While the ocean is acidifying it will never turn into an acid. Ridley, though, is wrong to think that ocean acidification is not a problem. Orgasnisms building their shells and skeletons out of carbonate, such as corals, are vulnerable to ocean acidification. Continuing to build these structures in waters that have chemically altered will demand increased energy, with no indication that food in the ocean will increase globally. Evidence is strong that the rate of change is unprecedented in the history of most organisms; events with lower rates of change had impacts on life in the ocean.

Ocean acidification impacts will have economic implications, which can already be seen in shellfish aquaculture along the west coast of the United States.

Professor Daniela Schmidt, University of Bristol

Daniela Schmidt, The Times, 12 December 2017.

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book