Monday, September 17, 2012

Ocean Acidification

Ocean acidification is becoming a serious issue today.  Within the next hundred years it will become extremely serious.  Since the industrial revolution the oceans have been absorbing huge amounts of carbon dioxide due to the burning of fossil fuels.  As the oceans absorb this carbon dioxide it is converted into carbonic acid.  Oceans have already dropped 0.1 in pH and are predicted to drop another 0.3 to 0.5 in pH within the next 100 years.  These drops in pH might not seem like much but in reality are over a 100 percent increase in acidity.  This increase will have extreme consequences for shell forming organisms.  As acidity increases, the calcium in shells increasingly dissolve.  This can kill the organism or cause it to work harder to develop its shell.  Corral reef also will have increasingly difficult times forming as acidity increases.  In-fact, many people predict all corral reefs will be gone by the year 2050, which means a mass extinction of organisms that are completely dependent on corrals.  As shell bearing organisms disappear, organisms higher up the food chain also will disappear along with there food sources.  No one really know what exactly is going to happen, but everyone agrees it will not be good.  Fortunately, the solution to this problem is within reach.  To prevent continued acidification we must stop the mass burning of fossil fuels and switch to sustainable energy sources such as wind and solar.  Only with this switch can we decrease the increase in carbon dioxide and therefore stop global warming as well as ocean acidification.  Below is a documentary that aired on Discovery Planet Green that does an excellent job covering this topic. 

No comments:

Post a Comment