“The overall big picture here is that surface water carbon dioxide levels are indeed increasing in the Gulf of Mexico (except in the central Gulf) and human activities are contributing to this acidification,” says Shamberger. “Also, coastal acidification is occurring faster than open ocean acidification, which is especially troubling for coastal coral reef and shellfish ecosystems that support many important fisheries species.”
Research published this week in the peer-reviewed journal Science analyzed more than 100,000 seawater samples worldwide collected from 1994 to 2007 and taken from nearly every corner and depth of ocean.
The analysis found the oceans are absorbing about 31 percent of the carbon humans are spewing into the world. For context, the weight of the carbon seeping into the ocean each year, on average for the period of study, is roughly equivalent to 2.6 billion Volkswagen Beetle cars, Feely said.
“Today, we are facing rising carbon dioxide contents in the atmosphere through human activities, and the amount of oxygen in the ocean may drop correspondingly in the face of rising seawater temperatures,” added Lyons. “Oxygen is less soluble in warmer water, and there are already suggestions of such decreases. In the face of these concerns, our findings from the warm, oxygen-poor ancient ocean may be a warning shot about yet another possible perturbation to marine ecology in the future.”
Rising levels of acids in seas may endanger marine life, says study Oceans are one of the biggest areas of focus for current climate change research. Photograph: Federico Gambarini/dpa/Corbis Rapidly rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are causing a… Read More ›