Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Acidifying Oceans - Deafening Nemo?

Acidifying Oceans

A really good piece on the BBC website today by Richard Black - - the article outlines how more acidic oceans are actually causing Clown Fish to lose their hearing. This is obviously bad news for the fish that inspired the classic Finding Nemo film as it will no longer be able to hear predators approaching. But the whole article does also highlight just how fragile the ocean's ecosystems are and could be just the tip of the iceberg as our oceans soak up more and more CO2.

The oceans are thought to have absorbed about half of the extra CO2 put into the atmosphere in the industrial age

This has lowered its pH by 0.1

pH is the measure of acidity and alkalinity

Liquids lie between pH 0 (very acidic) and pH 14 (very alkaline); 7 is neutral

Seawater is mildly alkaline with a "natural" pH of about 8.2

The IPCC forecasts that ocean pH will fall by "between 0.14 and 0.35 units over the 21st Century, adding to the present decrease of 0.1 units since pre-industrial times"

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