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Ocean acidity a growing concern

  • Written by  Harley Rustad
  • Published in Oceans
Dead coral Dead coral Shutterstock
01 Jan
The world’s oceans could see a 170 per cent increase in acidification by the end of the century, according to a research summary led by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP)

The main concerns related to ocean acidification are biodiversity loss and the destruction of marine ecosystems, leading to economic ramifications for communities dependent on these ecosystems.

The summary followed the world’s largest gathering of experts on ocean acidification – the Third Symposium on the Ocean in a High CO2 World, in 2012. It expressed concern that if CO2 emissions continue at the current rate, coral reef erosion will surpass reef building this century, and cold water coral reefs, located in the deep sea, may be unsustainable.

‘Emissions reductions may protect some reefs and marine organisms but we know that the ocean is subject to many other stresses such as warming, deoxygenation, pollution and overfishing,’ said Wendy Broadgate, deputy director of the IGBP. ‘Warming and deoxygenation are also caused by rising carbon dioxide emissions, underlining the importance of reducing fossil fuel emissions. Reducing other stressors, such as pollution and overfishing, and the introduction of large-scale marine protected areas, may help build some resilience to ocean acidification.’

This story was published in the January 2014 edition of Geographical Magazine

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