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Posted Wed Dec 1 2010: from Sydney Morning Herald:
Australian Great Barrier Reef not looking so great
They began the world-first experiment on a two-square-metre patch of the reef off Heron Island in May and found damage to the reef more serious than expected. They will soon remove the four experimental chambers - two simulating future carbon dioxide levels and two with control conditions. They are using more than 20 precision instruments to monitor the changing water chemistry. The experiment simulates the predicted levels of carbon emissions in 2050. Team member David Kline said the group had noted that in only eight months the part of the reef with the higher CO2 levels already looked quite different. ''What is growing there has changed, the types of algae are different and, based on our research, we would expect that the growth rate of the coral would have slowed,'' he said. ''If people's CO2 emissions continue as they have, the future of the reef is very grim. I would suggest that coral reefs will be highly altered and perturbed ecosystems by 2050 if we do not make a massive effort to curb our emissions. The findings back up much of the previous research that finds ocean acidification will have serious impacts on reefs.''... Professor Hoegh-Guldberg said scientists could use the data to predict at what point the reef would fade away. ''The corals are disappearing at a rate of 1 or 2 per cent a year ... If you multiply that by 20 years, that's 40 per cent.''
[Read more stories about: ocean acidification, coral bleaching, carbon emissions]

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'Doc Michael says:
A percent here, a percent there, pretty soon it adds up to real damage. Oh, hey, that might have implications elsewhere!

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