Oceans of Carbon

One may at one time have hoped that the contributions of carbon to climate change could be mitigated by the oceans, that is that the oceans could absorb some of the excess carbon. From JPL we have a dire warning about some of the consequences of climate change that the usual mainstream media is not paying too much attention to yet. Changing the acidity of our oceans. From the JPL site:

All that extra carbon dioxide, however, has been a bitter pill for the ocean to swallow. It’s changing the chemistry of seawater, making it more acidic and otherwise inhospitable, threatening many important marine organisms.

Scientists call ocean acidification “the other carbon dioxide problem.” They warn that because it causes such fundamental changes in the ocean, it could impact millions of people who depend on the ocean for food and resources. “The growing amount of carbon dioxide in the ocean could have a bigger effect on life on Earth than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” says JPL’s Charles Miller, deputy principal investigator for NASA’s new Orbiting Carbon Observatory, scheduled to launch next January.

There are various JPL projects mentioned in the article, like the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, that will help monitor the situation but we are seeing changes now. It is noted in the article that the average pH of the oceans (I’d like to see details of that) have changed from 8.2 to 8.1 since the beginning of the industrial age. This will effect coral, shellfish, and everything dependent on them. It should go without saying that this is pretty threatening to our already threatened food supply from the oceans. Already our oceans are under attack from runoff, plastic, and overfishing. I live in Southern California and a surfer friend who has been here his entire life says that the beaches here are like a desert compared to what it was like earlier. Earlier, according to him, you would always see fish, seaweed (strands of kelp) washed up on the beach, garibaldi in certain coves, but now, nothing. Of course, another problem under investigation is how the changing pH of the oceans will affect underwater sound, of some interest for various marine mammals. It would be nice to see mainstream media calling attention to the threats facing our oceans and fishing stocks a bit more often.


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