The record acidity of the ocean

Acidification is a threat to the marine ecosystem.

Thanks to the carbon dioxide emissions, the level of greenhouse gases is increasing. The oceans that are absorbed by this emission are all acid (acidification), which has a more vulnerable impact on marine ecosystems and fish resources. This is said by the authors of the report titled "Biological Effects on Acidification of the Ocean" ( BIOACID ).

The results of a large eight-year research conducted by 250 scientists have shown that acidity is extremely detrimental to the morbidity of marine fauna. The number of young animal species could be reduced to a quarter compared to what we have today. Some of the experts are even more pessimistic, so they think the reduction will fall to twelve.

The main brochure conclusions were at the annual UN climate change conference in Bonn in late November. The authors of the BIOACID project claim that some animal species will first benefit from chemical changes (algae, say, due to carbon dioxide for photosynthesis), but they will ultimately be indirectly affected by changes throughout the food chain.

It is also claimed that the impact of changes caused by acidification will have impacts and climate change, the development of coastal cities, pollution, excessive drainage and agricultural fertilizers. It is emphasized that acidification occurs at the peak of global warming, which causes human suffering to double trouble. The combination of these two factors could be the most critical economic and environmental challenge of the century.

Oceans absorb a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions and additionally a quarter of the biosphere intake, which naturally limits the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. CO2 is kept in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, and in the oceans and longer. The gases stored therein have long-term consequences due to acidification.

In order to get closer to how alarmingly the situation is, every day the world's oceans absorb 4 kg of CO2 per person, and the existing acidity of the ocean is "unprecedented in 300 million years," the scientist warns.

Accessories for Acidification Study. Photo: Maike Nicola / Geomar

Carbon dioxide fossil fuels dissolve in seawater, thus producing carbonate acid, which reduces the pH of the water factor. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the average pH of the global ocean surface dropped from 8.2 to 8.1. In translation, acidity has increased by about 26 percent.

"Acidification affects the lives of all the inhabitants of the sea, to varying degrees," said the head of the study, Professor Ulf Riebesella of the GEOMAR Helmholtz Ocean Research Center. He warned that the negative impact would be stronger for seafood in its earlier stage of life. "Even if marine organisms are not directly affected by acidification, it will indirectly affect them through changing habitats or nutrition chain changes. It is already endangered by the undercrowding of Atlantic cod, blue mussels, sea butterflies, sea stars and seaweed. "

Oceanic acidification expert Dr. Carol Turley from British Plymouth Marine Laboratory says the BIOACID study is extremely important. "It contributes to an important insight into the effects that ocean acidification can have on a large number of marine organisms, from microbes to fish species," Turley said.

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