Saturday, December 4, 2010

The consequences of ocean acidification

The new United Nations study yet again warns us about the ocean acidification issue. The report called "Environmental Consequences of Ocean Acidification" says that the chemistry of the world's oceans is changing at a rate not seen for 65 million years, and that this will soon have tremendous negative impact on marine biodiversity. Like we didn't know that already.

Though scientists are trying to warn the public there's really a little use of these reports because world leaders are doing nothing to tackle climate change issue, and I seriously doubt that latest climate change talks in Cancun will change current situation for better.

In the meantime our oceans will become more and more acidic, and this will totally disrupt the functioning of the marine food web. Sea creatures such as coral and shellfish will find it increasingly hard to survive, and these organisms play key role for many marine ecosystems, providing food for billions of different sea creatures.

Corals are among sea creatures most affected with ocean acidification.

Our oceans currently absorb around quarter of our global carbon emissions, but if we continue to increase our emissions in years to come, oceans will find it very hard to continue with this useful ability. If the world continues with current trend by the end of this century ocean acidity should increase by 150 percent, and this is literally the state of total environmental disaster.

This latest UN report also says that there are around three billion people worldwide who rely on fish for key nutrients, and if oceans continue to become more and more acidic there won't be enough fish for all these people. What this means, is that ocean acidification could also become one of the key factors that will cause even more hunger in the world.

Oceans are not only becoming more and more acidic but they are also becoming warmer. The combination of ocean acidification and increased warming could prove fatal for many marine species because this could extremely limit their habitats, and therefore lead this species to the brink of extinction.

The consequences of ocean acidification are therefore a decreased ability of our oceans to sink CO2 from the atmosphere, devastating impact on marine food web and extinction of many marine species, and to top it all even more hunger in the world.

This should be more than enough for world leaders to start working instead of just talking all the time. Or perhaps talk is the only work they are capable of.

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