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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Arctic ocean is acidiying rapidly...

The Arctic seas are being made rapidly more acidic by carbon dioxide emissions, according to a new report.
They say even if CO2 emissions stopped now, it would take tens of thousands of years for Arctic Ocean chemistry to revert to pre-industrial levels.
Many creatures, including commercially valuable fish, could be affected.
They forecast major changes in the marine ecosystem, but say there is huge uncertainty over what those changes will be.
It is well known that CO2 warms the planet, but less well-known that it also makes the alkaline seas more acidic when it is absorbed from the air.

The Arctic

arctic volcano
  • The Arctic region contains a vast ice-covered ocean roughly centred on the Earth's geographic North Pole
  • The Sun doesn't rise at all on the shortest day of the year within the Arctic Circle
  • Humans have inhabited the Arctic region for thousands of years, and the current population is four million
  • Geologists estimate the Arctic may hold up to 25% of the world's remaining oil and natural gas
Absorption is particularly fast in cold water so the Arctic is especially susceptible, and the recent decreases in summer sea ice have exposed more sea surface to atmospheric CO2.
The Arctic's vulnerability is exacerbated by increasing flows of freshwater from rivers and melting land ice, as freshwater is less effective at chemically neutralising the acidifying effects of CO2.
The researchers say the Nordic Seas are acidifying over a wide range of depths - most quickly in surface waters and more slowly in deep waters.
The report’s chairman, Richard Bellerby from the Norwegian Institute for Water Research, told BBC News that they had mapped a mosaic of different levels of pH across the region, with the scale of change largely determined by the local intake of freshwater.
“Large rivers flow into the Arctic, which has an enormous catchment for its size,” he said.

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At May 10, 2013 at 6:14 AM , Blogger Snowbird said...

That's the first time I've heard of this Peter. It sounds like the effects could be far reaching.xxxx

At May 10, 2013 at 6:36 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

It is a real worry. The sea could become an enlarged Dead Sea, which is so salty little or no life can exist there.


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