ocean acidification

Coral reefs being pushed to extinction by global warming

Increasing sea surface temperatures are imperilling coral reef ecosystems say Australian marine and climate scientists. A new scientific paper reveals that atmospheric warming of 2 degrees celsius is too much for nearly all the world's coral reef ecosystems, including the Great Barrier Reef. The scientists argue that to preserve greater than 10 per cent of coral reefs worldwide would require limiting global warming to below 1.5 °C. This equates to the goal of reducing carbon in the atmosphere to 350ppm, rather than a 2 degree rise or 450ppm that the UN Framwework Convention on Climate Change has adopted as the safe limit at several meetings.

Atmospheric concentration of CO2 currently stands at 392.41ppm. With current pledged reduction in emissions we are heading for 4.4 °C of warming by the end of the century according to the Climate Scoreboard.

Related: The True Cost of Australia's Coal Boom | Greenpeace report: Boom Goes the Reef: Australia's coal export boom and the industrialisation of the Great Barrier Reef (PDF) | The Conversation: - Climate change guardrail too hot for coral reefs?

Ocean acidification increasing at unprecedented rate not seen in last 300 million years

In a new study marine scientists warn that the rate of ocean acidification presently occurring is unprecedented in the last 300 million years. This is due to dissolving carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, much of which human activity has contributed over the last 200 years through the use of fossil fuels. The extent of the acidification and rate of acidification enhances the prospect for a mass marine extinction event this century.

Related: Dec 2011 - Ocean acidification warning to Durban climate negotiators to act on reducing CO2 emissions | June 2011 - Oceans at high risk of unprecedented Marine extinction scientists warn | April 2010 - Paleo-perspectives on ocean acidification - marine ecosystems under threat | Feb 2010 - Marine Extinction looms with Ocean Acidification increasing

Correlation of atmospheric CO2, ocean CO2, and change in seawater pH

Correlation of atmospheric CO2, ocean CO2, and change in seawater pH

Caption: This graph shows the correlation between rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere at Mauna Loa with rising CO2 levels in the nearby ocean at Station Aloha. As more CO2 accumulates in the ocean, the pH of the ocean decreases. (Modified after R.A.

Oceans at high risk of unprecedented Marine extinction scientists warn

A report issued last week from the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) has strongly warned of the damage to the health of the world's oceans and marine life from several factors including the impacts of climate change. The report warned that if the current business as usual trajectory of damage continues "that the world's ocean is at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history."

Related: International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) | The Ocean in a high CO2 world | Frontline - World's oceans in crisis: What can be done? | Takver: articles on climate change and oceans | NOAA: Major flooding on the Mississippi river predicted to cause largest Gulf of Mexico dead zone ever recorded

On the brink: Penguins face an uncertain climate future

Early this year the African Penguin was redlisted by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as in danger of extinction. In response to a 2006 petition by the Centre for Biological Diversity the US Interior Department has listed the African penguin, the only species of penguin breeding on the African continent, for protection under the US Endangered Species Act.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) upgraded the status of the Afican Penguin in 2010 to endangered citing "recent data has revealed that it is undergoing a very rapid population decline, probably as a result of commercial fisheries and shifts in prey populations. This trend currently shows no sign of reversing, and immediate conservation action is required to prevent further declines."

Marine Scientists call for climate action over Ocean Warming and Acidification

A Marine Climate Change report card released by Australian Scientists has warned that: ocean temperatures have warmed; the flow of the East Australian Current has strengthened, and will likely increase a further 20% by 2100; Marine biodiversity is changing in south-east Australia in response; and declines of over 10% in growth rates of massive corals on the Great Barrier Reef are likely due to ocean acidification and thermal stress.

Syndicate content