March 11, 2009

Acid Oceans Threaten Shellfish and Much More

Months ahead of official United Nations climate talks, scientists are meeting in Copenhagen to discuss concerns that global climate change could be worse than 2007 predictions — and could occur sooner.

Among the topics at hand is new Australian research that shows carbon dioxide pollution is creating acidic oceans at a rapid pace, potentially leading to the mass extinction of deep-water species, reports Agence France-Presse.

Researchers say this last occurred about 65 million years ago, when a giant release of carbon dioxide produced mass oceanic extinctions.

Current evidence shows that acidity is destroying the shells of tiny organisms that help absorb enormous amounts of carbon pollution from the atmosphere.

The Guardian reports that growing acidity is already placing pressure on shellfish and other marine life in the Arctic and Antarctic.

Though concerns about ocean acidity are on the rise among experts, the issue has had less publicity than global warming.

Scientists are hoping more severe predictions, backed by cutting-edge data, will inspire politicians to act on carbon emissions policy.

–Lauren Riggs/Newsdesk.org

Sources:

Climate scientists gather, and the news is not good
AFP, March 10, 2009

“Carbon emissions creating acidic oceans not seen since dinosaurs”
The Guardian, March 10, 2009

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