A Warning on Ocean Acidification from the European Science Foundation

Posted on May 20, 2010

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The European Science Foundation (ESF) is an association of 79 member organisations devoted to scientific research in 30 European countries.

May 19, 2010

There is growing scientific evidence that, as a result of increasing anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, absorption of CO2 by the oceans has already noticeably increased the average oceanic acidity from pre-industrial levels. This global threat requires a global response. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), continuing CO2 emissions in line with current trends could make the oceans up to 150% more acidic by 2100 than they were at the beginning of the Anthropocene.

Acidification decreases the ability of the ocean to absorb additional atmospheric CO2, which implies that future CO2 emissions are likely to lead to more rapid global warming.

Ocean acidification is also problematic because of its negative effects on marine ecosystems, especially marine calcifying organisms, and marine resources and services upon which human societies largely depend such as energy, water, and fisheries. For example, it is predicted that by 2100 around 70% of all cold-water corals, especially those in the higher latitudes, will live in waters undersaturated in carbonate due to ocean acidification.

Recent research indicates that ocean acidification might also result in increasing levels of jellyfish in some marine ecosystems.

Aside from direct effects, ocean acidification together with other global change-induced impacts such as marine and coastal pollution and the introduction of invasive alien species are likely to result in more fragile marine ecosystems, making them more vulnerable to other environmental impacts resulting from, for example, coastal deforestation and widescale fisheries.

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Anthropocene –  The era in Earth’s history, beginning with the Industrial Revolution, when human activities have had a significant and critical impact on the Earth’s ecosystems.  Now.

Find the complete European Science Foundation report on ocean acidification at:

http://www.esf.org/publications/science-policy-briefings.html

Posted in: environment, politics