The current predator/prey balance in Earth's oceans occurs at around a water pH of 8.14. That's normal, and it's in these conditions that fish have developed the ability to detect predators by smell and thereby survive just a little bit better. In the next hundred years or so, however, that pH is forecast to change as the surface waters of our oceans absorb more and more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and acidify.
They forecast major changes in the marine ecosystem, but say there is huge uncertainty over what those changes will be.
It is well known that CO2 warms the planet, but less well-known that it also makes the alkaline seas more acidic when it is absorbed from the air.
The Arctic region contains a vast ice-covered ocean roughly centred on the Earth's geographic North Pole -- Absorption is particularly fast in cold water so the Arctic is especially susceptible, and the recent decreases in summer sea ice have exposed more sea surface to atmospheric CO2. -- The Arctic's vulnerability is exacerbated by increasing flows of freshwater from rivers and melting land ice, as freshwater is less effective at chemically neutralising the acidifying effects of CO2. -- The researchers say the Nordic Seas are acidifying over a wide range of depths - most quickly in surface waters and more slowly in deep waters.
For the first time in roughly 5 million years, the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere is forecast to top 400 parts per million next month throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere. -- Carbon dioxide is the greenhouse gas that is responsible for 63% of the warming attributable to all greenhouse gases, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Earth System Research La