Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Acidifying oceans alarm hundreds of scientists

Environment News Service: Climate change is causing the world’s oceans to acidify at rates not seen for the last 55 million years, and the only way to moderate this danger is to reduce human emissions of carbon dioxide, conclude 540 scientists from 37 countries in a new report.

Their conclusion is the outcome of the Third Symposium on the Ocean in a High CO2 World that took place in Monterey, California in September 2012. The findings of these experts were presented in a report to the Conference on Climate Change that took place in Warsaw from November 11 to 22.

Reflecting the latest research on the subject, the report was prepared by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, the Scientific Committee on Ocean Research  and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme.

The scientists expect “substantial changes” in marine ecosystems, marine biodiversity and coral reefs that have the potential to affect food security. They warn that seashell fisheries could lose some US$130 billion annually, if current CO2 emissions remain unchanged.

It emerges that all the oceans, which together absorb close to one quarter of the CO2 emissions generated by human activity, have experienced an overall 26 percent rise in acidity since the dawn of the industrial age.

Twenty-four million tonnes of CO2 are absorbed by the oceans every day and, if current emission rates are maintained, the level of the ocean acidity worldwide will rise by 170 percent before 2100, compared to the pre-industrial age....

A cliff vista shot by psyberartist, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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