Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dangers of Ocean Acidification

The Industrial Revolution brought about cars, factories, machines etc. but most importantly it also brought about air pollution. More specifically Carbon Dioxide pollution in the air. The problem is this pollution just doesn’t end up in the air. A lot of this Carbon being emitted in the air is being absorbed in our oceans. This causes a lot of problems for our ecosystem. The JGOFS (Joint Global Ocean Flux Study) and the WOCE (World Ocean Circulation Experiment) completed an exercise in 2004 and concluded that the ocean has absorbed fully half of all the fossil carbon released to the atmosphere since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. What this does is make the oceans pH fluctuate. The current absorption of Carbon Dioxide has caused the pH of modern surface waters to be about .1 lower than it was in preindustrial times. This seems like a small change but if this continues oceanographers suggest the pH of the ocean several centuries from now will be lower than at any time in the pas 300 million years. The lower pH may harm the ability of certain organisms to make calcium carbonate so much that these organisms will have a difficult time growing. Including Coccolithophorids which are plankton covered with small plates of calcium carbonate and are essential to the diet of many marine fish. Also many corals whose shells are made of calcium will start disintegrating along with a string of other problems.
This affects society because it is our ecosystem that is being harmed and it is our fault. We are the ones that brought cars and factories to the world so it should be our job to make sure that we keep our planet healthy from things that we brought into it. It is important because marine life although small and seemingly non important are actually very important to our ecosystem and people’s lives. This is bad news that our oceans are changing because it seems like a small change now but if this pattern continues it will get worse and worse until the effects are irreversible. We are causing lifetime damage to our oceans and causing harm to many marine organisms. We should definitely care because this is our world, our environment, our life and it is our job to keep our earth clean and properly functioning. There are still many questions posed on how we can stop this or if there are any positive effects to the increase in Carbon in the water. With the help of interested people and scientist soon we will know more about this problem and will hopefully be able to do something about it.
I would recommend this article to anyone interested in Marine Biology as a career possibly in the future or any sort of science related or environment related career. It is important information for anyone to know. Although it seems like it doesn’t apply to you because it is talking about a bunch of scientific terms and it’s a lot of information but it really does affect us all. If it doesn’t know it will in the future and it is now that we can stop what is happening.

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