Oceans acidifying at ‘unparalleled’ rate

2 Mar

A new study published in the Science journal suggests the increasing amount of carbon dioxide being absorbed by the seas is causing them to turn acidic with “unparalleled” speed.

If the trend continues it could have a variety of serious effects on marine life by slowing rates of growth, causing animals to produce fewer offspring and causing shells to dissolve, experts said.

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Oceans currently absorb about a quarter of all CO2 emissions, and as levels of the gas in the atmosphere increase so does the rate at which it dissolves in seawater, making the water more acidic.

Researchers studying 300 million years’ worth of data on global warming and acidifying oceans found the current rate of acidification is even greater than four other major periods of climate change in the Earth’s history.

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These included the impact of the asteroid which wiped out the dinosaurs, and the Permian mass-extinction 252 million years ago, when 95 per cent of life on Earth was destroyed.

Professor Andy Ridgwell, of Bristol University, said: “The geological record suggests that the current acidification is potentially unparalleled in at least the last 300 million years of Earth history, and raises the possibility that we are entering an unknown territory of marine ecosystem change.

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“Although similarities exist, nothing in the last 300 million years parallels rates of future projections in terms of the disrupting of ocean carbonate chemistry – a consequence of the unprecedented rapidity of CO2 release currently taking place.”

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https://www.google.com/search?q=Oceans+acidifying+at+%27unparalleled%27+rate&…:en-US:official&client=firefox&safe=active

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