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Page added on July 30, 2006

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Acid waters, dissolving shellfish

Until now, concern about rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been focused on global warming. But scientists have discovered a second reason to worry: About half of the greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels — an amount weighing about the same as 140 billion Volkswagen Beetles — has ultimately ended up in the world’s oceans.

While this has the beneficial effect of slowing down the rate at which the planet’s atmosphere is heating up, ocean researchers have found that the huge influx of carbon dioxide since 1800 is making oceans more acidic than they have been for millions of years. If not reversed, this trend could destabilize — or even threaten –much of the world’s marine life, particularly animals that can’t adapt to living in a more corrosive environment.
The Globe and Mail

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