Alarming consequences of ocean acidification

Among the most horrifying consequences of anthropogenic climate change is the slow seep of CO2 that is gradually turning oceans into a caustic soup. The topic of ocean acidification (OA) has come into public discourse only in the past 15 years, and new research continues to hone in on how these chemical reactions could play out.

Scientists in Michigan and Canada recently modeled deep ocean currents and found the calcium‐rich seafloor, thought to be an important buffer against OA, is already beginning to dissolve at rates reflective of human‐induced CO2 levels (P Natl Acad Sci USA 2018; doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1804250115). These changes murk up an otherwise unperturbed and understudied ecosystem but also are slowly erasing important records. “Some climatic information is stored within these deep‐sea sediments”, explains lead author Olivier Sulpis (McGill University; Montreal, Canada). “If they dissolve, we’re losing this information as well.”

Murray M. M., 2019. Alarming consequences of ocean acidification. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment: Dispatches 17 (3): 136-141. Article.

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OA-ICC HIGHLIGHTS

Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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