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Posted Mon Feb 23 2009: from American Chemical Society:
Off-Balance Ocean
Marine scientists who have measured the pH of the ocean's surface waters for decades see that it has been dropping. They say that the pH is currently about 8.1, down from about 8.2 in the 18th century. If CO2 emissions continue at current rates, they expect the pH to fall by approximately 0.3 more units in the next 50-100 years. And as the ocean becomes more acidic, scientists anticipate myriad changes to the ocean's chemistry.... For example, almost all reaction rates are pH dependent, so acidification may change processes in the ocean ranging from enzyme activity to the adsorption of metals onto particle surfaces in seawater... Many sea organisms without shells, such as anemones and jellyfish, may be especially susceptible to even the smallest changes in ocean pH because their internal pH tends to vary with that of the surrounding seawater. These organisms cannot actively regulate their internal pH as mammals do.
[Read more stories about: koyaanisqatsi, ocean acidification, carbon emissions]
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'Doc Michael says:
we apologize
that our carbon bootprint now
tramples the ocean
Go take a look at the comparison pictures on this article -- it's terribly disturbing. The article itself is, fundamentally, even more disturbing, because the pH of the ambient ocean affects the fundamental mechanisms of life in that ocean, and we are clueless about how bad it might get. When the basic carbonaceous underpinning of life is affected, entire ocean ecosystems can go awry.

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