COP 20 US Center Panel Speakers on Ocean Acidification & Adaptation

COP 20 Lima,US Center Panel Speaker Dr. Carol Turley, Snr Scientist at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, UK, speaks on CO2 emissions intensifying global ocean acidification at an unprecedented rate and it’s impacts on all marine species.

Dr. Elizabeth Jewett (NOAA) introduced the panel speaker, Dr Carol Turley, amongst others, and proceeded to start the panel discussion with a short video on CO2 and it’s effects on the oceans of the world, causing planet warming.

Dr Turley has been involved with and researching ocean acidification for the last ten (10) years, and her research confirms that oceans are acidifying from atmospheric CO2, and that changes in ocean chemistry are most likely to impact certain marine life forms, i.e. shell fish, coral reefs, etc.  A lot of marine organisms depend on a stable chemistry in the oceans and have evolved over millions of years in such an environment, they being reliant on carbonate ions present in our oceans, utilized as building blocks for shell formation, etc, however, when CO2 reacts with seawater hydrogen ions are formed, which are also carbonate ion hungry, thereby reducing carbonate ion quantities available to or totally depriving organisms of this resource – the whole cycle of carbon in the ocean is affected by this.
Emitted CO2 (45%) stays in the atmosphere causing climate change and the other part is taken up by land and the oceans.  CO2 is an acid gas, added to oceans it produces a weak acid (carbonic acid) and a series of other chemical changes and reactions occur simultaneously.  As CO2 in the oceans increases, the pH (measure of acidity) decreases.

Looking back in geological time, ocean acidification is intensifying rapidly and at an unprecedented rate for millions of years.  The speed of change is 10 x faster now than at any other time during at least the last 65 million years – if it continues at ‘Business as Usual’ pace, it will take 10,000 years or more for the chemistry to buffer out and even longer for the biology to recover!  These changes are happening to global oceans, with some areas identified as early vulnerabilities, i.e. polar or sub-polar regions, as well in temperate regions which have an even stronger vulnerabililty, coasts and estuaries included.

Warming and Acidification act together – increasing Risk.  Ocean acidification has one set of risks, but add other global climate ocean stresses, like warming, and you end up with less CO2 in the oceans that the organisms can put up with, therefore your allowable emissions reduce by about  100ppb,  more CO2 in the atmosphere means more acidification.

UNFCCC – their contribution :  Ocean Acidification and other ocean stresses can be recognised in the building of the negotiations, i.e. to include the ocean impacts from CO2 emissions, e.g. warming, acidification, deoxygenation, etc.

“It’s happening NOW and it’s SERIOUS ~ Ocean acidification is caused by CO2 and reducing emissions urgently – Will Make A Difference” !


Follow these links :

Causes, Effects and Solutions of Ocean Acidification




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