Climate change increase seawater acidity, scientists warn

2009 - 06 - 01
Climate change increase seawater acidity, scientists warn

Climate change increase the seawater acidity, and this could endanger the existence of numerous species living in the oceans, from clams to coral. Such seawater composition changes could be irreversible for millennia, states an appeal from academics from 70 countries.

This joint appeal was addressed by representatives of 70 national academic institutions to government delegations that are to discuss climate change in Bonn, Germany, until 12 June. The document calls on governments to step up their efforts to counter the threat to the world’s oceans, as they prepare a new international convention for the forthcoming UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December.

“If the world wishes to prevent significant damage to the ocean ecosystems, governments need to push for deep and rapid reductions in carbon dioxide emissions by at least 50 percent of their 1990 levels by 2050,” the academic paper urges.

The academics warn that the increasing volume of carbon dioxide emissions as the main greenhouse gas, as a result of the burning of fossil fuels, is being absorbed by the oceans. This results in increasingly unfavourable living conditions in the seas and makes it difficult for marine animals to build their body’s defence systems.

Such changes lead to the disruption of the chemical composition of oceans and have a negative impact on numerous marine organisms, such as coral and shellfish, because they prevent them from growing their skeletons, shells, and other solid body structures.

Some scientific projections warn that by 2060 the acidification of Arctic sea waters may be such as to endanger clam populations, threatening the food chain itself in 80 percent of the area.

Similarly, scientists are concerned that if the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rises from the current level of 387 particles per million (ppm) to 550 ppm, coral reefs will be destroyed. These reefs are home to numerous fish species.

“Such changes in the ocean’s chemistry are irreversible for thousands of years, and the biological consequences may last much longer,” he said. According to the scientists, there could be a real undersea disaster that could endanger the world’s food safety and damage local economies as well.

“The rising temperatures and sea levels are not the only issue that climate change brings. The utter disruption of the marine ecosystem, which is crucial for the entire planet, is one of the most threatening. Therefore, both the European Union and individual EU Member States must significantly step up their efforts to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and move to a carbon-neutral economy,” said Director Dalibor Dostal of the European Wildlife conservation organization.

Photo: Pixabay

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