Posted by: r.m. | March 10, 2009

back to the dinosaurs

Human pollution is turning the seas into acid so quickly that the coming decades will recreate conditions not seen on Earth since the time of the dinosaurs, scientists will warn today.The rapid acidification is caused by the massive amounts of carbon dioxide belched from chimneys and exhausts that dissolve in the ocean. The chemical change is placing “unprecedented” pressure on marine life such as shellfish and lobsters and could cause widespread extinctions, the experts say.”

but wait…

and here’s an excellent response to that article:

The Guardian writes: Human pollution is turning the seas into acid so quickly that the coming decades will recreate conditions not seen on Earth since the time of the dinosaurs, scientists will warn today.

Scienceblog responds:

“Say what?! Look, ocean acidification is a VERY real threat to our planet. That said, the seas are not turning to acid! (But gee, way to scare folks into envisioning the demise of the wicked witch!) This demonstrates a lack of taking the time to explore and understand what ocean acidification means–the term is used to describe the way the pH of oceans is becoming less basic as they absorb excess CO2. Yes, it is an enormous and extremely frightening problem because of potential implications for organisms that depend on calcium carbonate like corals, algae, oysters and on… Scientists are already observing changes in survival and behavior of aquatic animals and because we are all connected through trophic interactions, humans will feel the effects too.

Misinformation is no way to introduce a topic as serious as acidification. We need to foster broader public understanding if we hope to change policy and human behavior in order to mitigate the threat. While I would be pleased to see acidification making news, I fear hyberbole and misleading statements are counterproductive. The Guardian can do better.”

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Responses

  1. So … if seas became more acidic, cant this be solved by proper treatment fo water befor use, and is shellfish and lobster extinction that big of a deal??? I think marine life should not be our main focus unless it has a direct impact on our lives, or threat our existince ???

  2. If the decline of ocean pH leads to the extiction of marine calcifiers, will this lead to an increase in sea levels of calcium carbonate because of the absence of its consumers?
    I also wonder why acidification is worse in deep seas. Is it because calcifiers exist on ocean bottoms and they deplete the carbonates there?
    I don’t know how “noise” in the ocean is important but I’m wise enough to be alarmed by the extinction of any organism, especially if we don’t know how the extinction of these species can affect the survival of species that are crucial for human survival. There is already proof that acidification can directly affect the orange clownfish. If the same effect applies to other fish species, we might be facing a loss of marine food sources.
    Also, is there a possibility that the carbon dioxide “stored” in the oceans could be released back into the atmosphere, worsening global warming?
    Anyway, It seems more and more clear that carbon emissions should be our main focus if we plan on surviving to see the next century.


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