Cross-posted at dailykos.com
According to Britain’s leading scientific organization, the Royal Society, carbon dioxide is making the world’s oceans increasingly acidic. The Royal Society has released 60 page report to coincide with the Group 8 economic meeting this week. The group’s current president, Prime Minister Tony Blair, has called for action to slow climate change.
The effects of the increase can be measured now.
where the gas undergoes chemical reactions that produce carbonic acid, which is corrosive to shells.
Substantial change has already taken place in the last two hundred years.
But like the magnitude scale of earthquakes, one unit on the pH scale reflects a change of a factor of 10. The 0.1 pH change means there are now 30 percent more hydrogen ions in the water.
Depending on the rate of fossil fuel burning, the pH of ocean water near the surface is expected to drop to 7.7 to 7.9 by 2100, lower than any time in the last 420,000 years, the Royal Society report said.
While there have been times in the distant past where carbon dioxide levels have been high, the concern is that the current change is taking place too fast. That is, a slower increase would allow the oceans to
dilute the additional carbon dioxide.
Dr. Ken Caldeira, a research scientist at the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology in Stanford, Calif., and a member of the Royal Society panel:
Coral reefs, already facing the problem of temperature change, will likely suffer further.