The pace of ocean acidification is accelerating. Sustained efforts to monitor ocean acidification worldwide are only beginning, and, currently, it is impossible to predict exactly how the effects of ocean acidification will cascade throughout the marine food chain and affect the overall structure of marine ecosystems. Scientists, resource managers and policymakers have recognised the urgent need to save our oceans from this hazard.
Have you ever imagined an Earth without oceans? It is impossible, because oceans play the lead role in sustaining life on Earth. We are alive right now because of the oceans. Every day, the oceans give us the air we need to breathe, the weather to grow crops, water to support the smallest to the largest animals on Earth and 80% of all species. This is not forgetting the number of activities we do in oceans for entertainment, but where will we go for those yummy seafood and for those precious stones and showpieces.
Ocean acidification can be defined as a chemical response to the dissolving of carbon dioxide into the seawater. It is the consequence of the use of fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) that have lead to the increasing cause of global warming. The least attention is being given to the lesser-known ocean acidification, which is another result of the about 79 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere every day. It is happening not only as a result of fossil-fuel burning but also of deforestation and production of cement.
Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, about one-third of the CO2 released to the atmosphere by anthropogenic (human-caused) activities has been absorbed by the world’s oceans, which play a key role in moderating climate change. Without this capacity of the oceans, the CO2 content in the atmosphere would have been much higher and global warming and its consequences more dramatic. The capacity of the oceans to act as carbon sinks decrease as they become more acidic. The rate of acidification since pre-industrial times and its projected continuation are unparalleled in the last 300 million years, and are likely to have a severe impact on marine species and ecosystems, with flow-on effects to various industries, communities and food security.
(Read the full article from the July Issue of Safety Messenger Magazine 2015)