Ocean chemistry changing at ‘unprecedented rate’

| 05/05/2010

(SeaWeb): The chemistry of the ocean is changing at an unprecedented rate, according to a recent report from the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences. The report, Ocean Acidification: A National Strategy to Meet the Challenges of a Changing Ocean, underlines growing concerns over the effect on the ocean of increasing emissions of carbon dioxide. The ocean absorbs approximately one-third of the carbon dioxide emitted by human activities, moderating the impacts of climate change but causing seawater to become more acidic. The average pH of ocean surface waters has dropped from approximately 8.2 to 8.1 since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and is predicted to drop by a further 0.2 or 0.3 units by the end of the 21st century, under current emissions scenarios.

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