A report from ocean researchers released on Thursday shows that the oceans have gotten twenty-six percent more acidic since the Industrial Revolution began. Scientists are saying that this problem will continue at what they are calling an “unprecedented rate” which could threaten marine life and any culture that happens to rely on them. The problem is, according to scientists, that burning fossil fuels cause carbon dioxide emissions and that is making the oceans more acidic. Scientists say that by the year 2100 the acidity of the ocean will increase nearly 175% which will be a major problem for aquaculture and marine ecosystems.
The report comes from the 2012 Symposium on the ocean, which featured more than 500 experts from 37 different countries to discuss the problem. It is also based on even newer research. Scientists say that now is the time to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The further acidity of the ocean will mean that the atmosphere will have less ability to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and will change the ocean so drastically that some living things in the ocean will be unable to survive. “Within decades, large parts of the polar oceans will become corrosive to the unprotected shells of calcareous marine organisms,” the report states.
The problem with this is that those nations and areas that rely on the ocean for food will have a very hard time if the marine life decreases. The reduction of living organisms in the ocean will mean less food for those people to eat and it may spell starvation for those areas that rely on it. Also, areas that have tourism are sometimes dependent upon ocean live such as tropical coral reefs. Daniela Schmidt, from the University of Bristol says that this adds to the problems that some countries already have with climate change. “We’re talking about countries that strongly depend on this, in warmer countries where there are complex problems with climate change as it is,” Schmidt said.