We’ve written before in warning of the imminent destructive effects of ocean acidification. Still, most people don’t seem to be aware of the problem.
It’s part of climate change, with a cause shared by global warming, though its not directly caused by global warming itself. Increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are leading to increased creation of carbon-based acids in the world’s oceans.
In turn, the higher levels of acid in ocean waters are making it difficult for marine organisms to create the shells and skeletons upon which the depend. A new study shows that this effect isn’t just something that could happen in the future, and isn’t even just beginning to happen now. The study, by the Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, shows that little creatures called foraminifera are already growing shells that are about one-third less massive than the shells of the same species that lived hundreds of years ago. Other studies have shown that corals are growing more slowly than in the past.
The problem isn’t a static one. It’s getting worse as the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide is accelerating.
How long will it be until corals can’t grow, until the forams disappear from ocean waters?
A Sea Change, a documentary film that’s set to premier in Washington D.C. four days from now asks these questions. Given this new research, it’s already out of date, but if you’re in the area, I’d think that it’s a movie well worth seeing.