Friday, September 21, 2012

Too much CO2 polluting our oceans

Our oceans are huge carbon sinkers and they absorb approximately one third of carbon dioxide (C02) from the atmosphere. The problem is that CO2 emissions continue to grow (the atmospheric levels of CO2 have increased by approximately 40% since the start of industrial revolution) which in turn leads to increased acidity of our oceans.

Carbon dioxide isn't only making its way into our oceans from the atmosphere but also because of growing water pollution with nutrients (nutrient runoff from fertilizer, human and animal waste).

The CO2 pollution coming from nutrients is often overlooked despite the fact that we are talking here about the major source of carbon dioxide in our oceans.

The increased level of nutrients in seawater also leads to algae bloom which is harmful for marine ecosystems because it results in depletion of oxygen from the water, which in turn leads to formation of ocean dead zones.

The U.S. scientists have developed computer models that showed that higher CO2 levels will substantially increase the acidity of ocean waters, which could even have major negative impact on commercial fisheries in coastal regions receiving nutrient inputs, such as the northern Gulf of Mexico and Baltic Sea.

Many marine species that play vital role at the bottom of marine food web could be adversely affected with increased acidity of our oceans with clams, oysters, scallops and mussels being likely the most heavily impacted.

The scientists have also expressed fears that these changes in ocean acidity could be already impacting commercial fish and shellfish populations.

As long as our society remains heavily dependent on fossil fuels, carbon dioxide levels will continue to grow, meaning that the climate change impact will further grow in size. This could spell danger for entire planet and our oceans are sadly no exception.

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