Report: Oceans getting more acidic

December 14, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 14 -A new study by the Convention on Biological Diversity indicates that the absorption of carbon dioxide by seas and oceans was causing them to be more acidic.

According to the study, seas and oceans absorb about a quarter of the carbon dioxide – a green house gas – emitted to the atmosphere due to deforestation and other human activities and this had lessened the effects of global climate change.

“Ocean acidification is irreversible on timescales of at least tens of thousands of years and substantial damage to ocean ecosystems can only be avoided by urgent and rapid reductions in global emissions of carbon dioxide,” the convention’s Executive Secretary Ahmed Djoghlaf said.

Mr Djoghlaf said that attention must be given for integration of this issue at the climate change debate because damage to the ocean ecosystem could only be avoided by urgent and rapid reductions in the global emissions of carbon dioxide.

The study released at the ongoing climate change talks in Copenhagen predicts that by the year 2050, ocean acidity could increase by 150 percent which was a 100 times faster than any change in acidity experienced in the marine environment over the last 20 million years.

It also envisaged that in addition to the current emission rates, the surface water of the highly productive Arctic Ocean would become under-saturated with respect to essential carbonate minerals by the year 2032.

The Convention on Biological Diversity, which launched the study, is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity with 192 member countries. The study was prepared in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre and highlights the direct link between climate change, ocean health and human well-being.

The study was based on the analysis of more than 300 scientific literatures.

“It describes an alarming picture of possible ecological scenarios and adverse impacts of ocean acidification on marine biodiversity,” said Mr Djoghlaf.


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