Corals in trouble

Global warming increases the acidity levels of oceans

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

By increasing the acidity levels of oceans, global warming could spell doom for corals by 2065. Katherine Richardson, a researcher from Denmark's department of marine ecology, gave this warning during the EuroScience Open Forum 2004.

According to her, levels of carbon dioxide (co2) -- the main culprit behind global warming -- are very high. "Most of this co2 will eventually be absorbed by seawater, where it will react to form carbonic acid. The normal acidity of the ocean is around pH 8, but because of the above process, it will become 7.4. This increasing acidification could have a particularly detrimental effect on corals and other marine organisms, because it reduces the availability of carbonate ions in the water, which are used by corals to make their hard parts," Richardson told the gathering.

Climate change research has primarily concentrated on the impacts on land and atmosphere. However, as there are 78,000,000 gigatonnes of carbon locked up in the ocean sediments compared with 750 gigatonnes of carbon in the atmosphere, global warming could have very serious implications for the waterbodies.

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.