News / Science & Technology

Study: Oceans Suffer Silent Storm of Acidification

This undated photo provided by GEOMAR shows a Norwegian coral reef with gorgonian and stony corals in Norway. A new international report released Nov. 13, 2013, reports that greenhouse gases are making the world's oceans hot, sour and breathless.
This undated photo provided by GEOMAR shows a Norwegian coral reef with gorgonian and stony corals in Norway. A new international report released Nov. 13, 2013, reports that greenhouse gases are making the world's oceans hot, sour and breathless.
Reuters
Global warming is causing a silent storm in the oceans by acidifying waters at a record rate, threatening marine life from coral reefs to fish stocks, an international study showed on Thursday.
 
The report, by 540 experts in 37 nations, said the seas could become 170 percent more acidic by 2100 compared to levels before the Industrial Revolution. Carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, can become a mild acid when mixed with water.
 
Acidification is combining with a warming of ocean waters, also caused by a build-up of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, and other man-made factors such as higher pollution and overfishing, the report said.
 
“It is like the silent storm - you can't hear it, you can't feel it,” Carol Turley, a senior scientist at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory in England, told Reuters.
 
The study, released on the sidelines of a meeting of almost 200 nations in Warsaw on ways to slow global warming, estimated that acidity of the oceans had already increased by 26 percent since the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries.
 
A 170 percent increase in acidity is equivalent to cutting the Ph level of the ocean, a scale of acidity and alkalinity, to 7.9 from 8.2 on a logarithmic scale. Battery acid rates about one and soap, an alkaline, is about 10.
 
Corals, Crabs
 

The pace of acidification was the fastest in at least 55 million years, the scientists said. Acidification undermines the ability of everything from corals to crabs to build protective shells and has knock-on effects on the food web.
 
“Marine ecosystems and biodiversity are likely to change as a result of ocean acidification, with far-reaching consequences for society,” according to the summary led by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program.
 
“Economic losses from declines in shellfish aquaculture and the degradation of tropical coral reefs may be substantial owing to the sensitivity of molluscs and corals to ocean acidification,” it said.
 
And some studies have found that young clown fish, made famous by the movie “Finding Nemo”, behaved as if drunk in more acidic waters, their brains apparently disoriented.
 
Another study found that rockfish can become more anxious.
 
“A normal fish will swim equally in light and dark areas in a tank ... an anxious one on high carbon dioxide spends more time in the darker side, the more protected side,” said Lauren Linsmayer of the University of California, San Diego.
 
“If society continues on the current high emissions trajectory, cold water coral reefs, located in the deep sea, may be unsustainable and tropical coral reef erosion is likely to outpace reef building this century,” the report said.
 
Deep cuts in emissions of greenhouse gasses, from power plants, factories and cars, would limit acidification.
 
The Warsaw talks are working on plans for a global deal, due to be agreed in 2015, to limit climate change.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Kitagawa Keikoh from: Daikanyama, TKO
November 16, 2013 6:45 PM
Why do you think that CO2 is a bad guy?
The dominate cause of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere is ocean warming not human activities.
The ocean is changing and that is a main reason of global warming. We just don't recognize the real situation.

The ocean become warming due to something has been happening in the Earth core. That is a real "silent storm".

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs