Photo: Dinuka Liyanawatte / Reuters
Cardiff University scientists found that if emissions of carbon dioxide will remain the same, that by 2100, acidification (acidification) of the oceans will reach unprecedented in human history level. Researchers estimate that the pH of sea water falls below a 7.8, which was not observed within the last 14 million years. About it reported in a press release on Phys.org.
If ocean acidification is the decrease in pH caused by the dissolution in seawater carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. According to the world meteorological organization, the rate of acidification today is the highest in the last 300 million years. This threatens the existence of coral reefs and the animals that have shells and can also lead to the disappearance of modern marine ecosystems.
The researchers analyzed changes in the acidity of the oceans, occurring within 22 million years. To do this, they studied the fossil shells of marine animals, which lived in the surface waters. The chemical composition of the shells helped to determine the pH in various time periods. These data were combined with performance levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which allowed to predict the level of acidification in the future.
It turned out that by the year 2100 if the rate of greenhouse gas emissions continues, the concentration of carbon dioxide will reach 930 parts per million compared to the current 400 parts per million. This corresponds to a decrease in pH from 8.1 to 7.8. According to the researchers, this occurred in recent times only in the Miocene epoch, when the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere have been three degrees Celsius higher than now. Now, however, acidification is not due to the natural cycle, and as a result of human activity that has been proven climate research.
According to climatologists and geologists, the situation of rapid climate change are seeing now is fundamentally different from natural cycles in Earth’s history. Sudden catastrophic increase in carbon dioxide levels arising from increased volcanic activity leads to the disappearance of ecosystems and mass extinctions. So, the associated early Cambrian extinction 510 million years ago with volcanic eruptions in Australia. Slow climate change contribute to the emergence of new adaptations and not so damaging to living organisms.
Video, photo All from Russia.