2 recent news articles of concern – both talking about the swimming snails..
– “RISING acid levels in the Southern Ocean will start destroying sea life within 30 years, three decades earlier than previously thought, Australian climate change researchers warned yesterday. Much of the carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere by human activity is absorbed by the oceans, causing the sea water to become more acidic. Scientists had previously predicted that when carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached 550 parts per million – compared with about 383 parts per million today – the oceans would become so acidic that the calcium in the shells of sea creatures would start dissolving. However, it was thought it would take 60 to 100 years for such a “tipping point” to be reached. But new findings by Ben McNeil, of the University of NSW, and the CSIRO’s Dr Richard Matear, suggest rising acidity may trigger “irreversible” destruction of shell creatures far sooner.”
Douglas Fischer – editor of the dailyclimate.org – explains it more eloquently: “The most pressing example of climate change’s impact is not monster hurricanes, retreating glaciers or water wars. It’s the humble swimming sea snail. The tiny pteropod has difficulty growing a shell in a warmer planet’s acidified ocean waters. Given the snails’ role at the base of the cold-water food chain, its struggle threatens the entire polar ecosystem, through salmon to seals and whales.”
Wait. Pause. This bears repeating:
“Given the snails’ role at the base of the cold-water food chain, its struggle threatens the entire polar ecosystem, through salmon to seals and whales.”