Gallery: The World’s Oceans Are Acidifying Faster Than in the Past 300 ...


Researchers at Columbia University released a report yesterday detailing their discovery that human-generated emissions are causing the world’s oceans to acidify faster than they have in the past 300 million years (a period that includes four extinction cycles). The oceans naturally act as a carbon sponge – the water soaks up CO2, turns it into carbonic acid, and then fossils carbonate shells on the ocean floor to neutralize it. However, the researchers found that recently, because of rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the oceans have been absorbing carbon too quickly and the fossils on the ocean floor have not been able to neutralize it. The over abundance of carbon in the oceans has led to a drastic acidification process that is depriving ocean organisms of carbonate ions that they need to survive.

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