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Posted Wed Aug 17 2011: from OnEarth:
NRDC: Acidic Oceans
Q&A with NRDC senior scientist Lisa Suatoni: How closely is ocean acidification related to global climate change? Ocean acidification and global climate change are two -- independent -- impacts of rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations. When fossil fuels are burned, carbon dioxide is produced. Approximately two thirds of that CO2 goes into the atmosphere, where it causes global warming; the remaining third is absorbed by the world's oceans, where it causes ocean acidification. Two problems, one culprit.... The Arctic is predicted to be corrosive to some types of shelled organisms in the next 10 to 30 years.... As we speak, roughly one million tons of CO2 are being absorbed by the oceans every hour. And the source of this pollution -- global emissions of greenhouse gases -- is expected to rise, rapidly. By mid-century, the average atmospheric CO2 concentration could easily reach double the pre-industrial concentration, and so could the drop in ocean pH. That means the problems we are seeing in the Pacific Northwest oyster industry are most likely going to get worse and spread elsewhere. Although they've held off disaster for now, the oyster hatcheries will need to continue developing techniques to protect their "crop" from the shifting chemistry of the sea. What can we do about acidification on a larger scale? Is there a way to get the ocean's chemistry back into balance? There is no way to artificially restore the chemistry of the world's oceans to pre-industrial levels. It will happen naturally as the ocean water mixes with the deep sea sediments, which act to neutralize the enhanced acidity, but that takes thousands of years. The only broad-scale solution to ocean acidification is to reduce and stabilize carbon dioxide emissions right now to keep things from getting worse.
[Read more stories about: death spiral, carbon sinks, ocean acidification, holyshit]

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'Doc Michael says:
I bet we'll just innovate ourselves out of needing the ocean!

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