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Posted Sun Jun 30 2013: from PhysOrg:
Major changes needed for coral reef survival
To prevent coral reefs around the world from dying off, deep cuts in carbon dioxide emissions are required, says a new study from Carnegie's Katharine Ricke and Ken Caldeira. They find that all existing coral reefs will be engulfed in inhospitable ocean chemistry conditions by the end of the century if civilization continues along its current emissions trajectory. Their work will be published July 3 by Environmental Research Letters.... Coral reefs use a mineral called aragonite to make their skeletons. It is a naturally occurring form of calcium carbonate, CaCO3. When carbon dioxide, CO2, from the atmosphere is absorbed by the ocean, it forms carbonic acid (the same thing that makes soda fizz), making the ocean more acidic and decreasing the ocean's pH. This increase in acidity makes it more difficult for many marine organisms to grow their shells and skeletons, and threatens coral reefs the world over. Using results from simulations conducted using an ensemble of sophisticated models, Ricke, Caldeira, and their co-authors calculated ocean chemical conditions that would occur under different future scenarios and determined whether these chemical conditions could sustain coral reef growth. Ricke said: "Our results show that if we continue on our current emissions path, by the end of the century there will be no water left in the ocean with the chemical properties that have supported coral reef growth in the past. We can't say with 100 percent certainty that all shallow-water coral reefs will die, but it is a pretty good bet."
[Read more stories about: ocean acidification, coral bleaching, dead zones, death spiral]

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'Doc Michael says:
"Acidity" is just another word for "opportunity," right?

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