Here are some interesting facts and figures...
How fast is ocean chemistry changing?
Since the Industrial Revolution, the world’s oceans have become 30 percent more acidic, on average. Scientists predict the acidity of our oceans could double or triple by the end of the century compared to preindustrial times.
Natural Resources Defense Council., Gulf of Maine, Ocean Acidification: http://www.nrdc.org/oceans/acidification/files/ocean-acidification-maine.pdf Ocean Acidification. Summary for Policymakers. UNESCO
One of the greatest impacts of Ocean Acidification is on reef-building corals, which are known as ‘framework species’. Without corals, reefs cannot exist. Ocean Acidification is already slowing their growth rates. Left unchecked they will soon stop growing and erode away. On the other side of the planet, coral species in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef have shown a 14 percent decline in calcification since 1990, and body weights of a species of plankton in Antarctica are now 30 to 35 percent lower than they were in the past.
NRDC August 2009, Ocean Acidification: The Other CO2 Problem
Finfish includes all fish types that we eat outside of shellfish. They include herrings, sardines, anchovies, tuna, cod, flounder, and many others. Finfish are very important because apart from their membership in marine food chains for top predators, they are also a source of food for humans and offer many more economic benefits. Ocean acidification will make these vulnerable as their habitats will change. It can also affect their behavior, fitness, and larval survival.
Carbon dioxide from fossil fuels
Each year industrial processes and combustion of fossil fuels release over six billion metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year.* Two major issues are related to this: Global Warming (because of CO2’s greenhouse effect) and Ocean Acidification. Together, they form the biggest environmental threat in modern times.
Reading Sources included the following:
1. Ocean Acidification: Reducing CO2 levels is the only way to minimise risks.,
2. Ocean-Based Food Security Threatened in a High CO2 World., Matthew Huelsenbeck September 2012
3. Impacts of Ocean Acidification., http://www.esf.org/fileadmin/Public_documents/Publications/SPB37_OceanAcidification.pdf
4. Ocean acidification., http://www.bristol.ac.uk/alumni/give-back/centenary-campaign/ocean-acidification/
5. Biological carbon pump., http://noc.ac.uk/science-technology/climate-sea-level/carbon-ocean/biological-carbon-pump
6. Ocean Acidification – The other CO2 challenge. http://www.oceanacidification.net/docs/OAA_Factsheet.pdf
7. Ocean acidification – another effect of global warming., http://timeforchange.org/ocean-acidification-effect-of-global-warming
8. What is ocean acidification? http://www.epoca-project.eu/index.php/what-is-ocean-acidification.html
9. Ocean Acidification. Present Conditions and Future Changes in a High-CO2 World., http://www.tos.org/oceanography/archive/22-4_feely.pdf
10. pH — Water properties., The USGS Water Science School., http://water.usgs.gov/edu/ph.html
11. Ocean Acidification. Summary for Policymakers. Third Symposium on the Ocean in a High-CO2 World http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002247/224724E.pdf
12. Ocean acidification: A risky shell game, 6 OCEANUS MAGAZINE Vol. 48, No. 1, 2010 www.whoi.edu/oceanus
Recommended Environmental Lessons
Key words: Ocean-acidification, pH, ocean-acidity, CO2, carbon-dioxide, biological-carbon-pump, calcification, calcifiers, shell-fish, coral-reefs, environmental-issue, biodiversity