Feb 10 2009
When ocean temperatures rise as they have slowly over the past couple of decades, coral is affected and often dies (coral bleaching). However, a recently discovered consequence of global warming is the gradual acidification of the oceans, which has far greater and devastating effects. As CO2 levels rise in the atmosphere, the oceans absorb up to half of it. This causes a drop in the pH of the oceans or acidification. The organisms that make coral work in a very narrow range of pH. As the oceans acidify, not only does it cause coral to stop being made, it also destroys existing coral. BBC reports. More here.
Goodbye Uluwatu, G-Land, Lance’s, and pretty much every perfect wave you can imagine. Gone. Gone also is the Great Barrier Reef and the vast ocean life the reef supports.
“The researchers warn that ocean acidification, which they refer to as “the other CO2 problem”, could make most regions of the ocean inhospitable to coral reefs by 2050, if atmospheric CO2 levels continue to increase. ”
“It’s not just the fact that something like a third of all reef-forming corals are threatened, but that we could be facing the loss of large areas of these ecosystems within 50 to 100 years.”
The new analysis shows that before 1998, only 13 of the 704 coral species assessed would have been classified as threatened. Now, the number is 231