United Kingdom Launches Projects to Study Ocean Acidification

Scleractinian coral Lophelia pertusa from the Mississippi Canyon 751 site at approximately 450 m depth. Image courtesy of Lophelia II 2009: Deepwater Coral Expedition, Sept 2008 photo

Image: NOAA Ocean Explorer, Flickr
The Evil Twin of Global Warming
Ocean acidification naturally results from elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere. The oceans absorb CO2, which becomes carbonic acid as it dissolves into the sea water. Ocean acidification picked up the moniker "Evil Twin of Global Warming" at the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15).

Recent research has suggested just how significantly the ocean chemistry affects life on earth. Now scientists are setting up to learn more about how our oceans are reacting to the 30% increase in pH (the measure of acidity) that has already occurred, and what might happen if the trends continue. If you were hoping the oceans could balance our act, you may be in for a grim acid oceans reality check.Scientists have begun cataloging early effects of ocean acification, including evolution of marine species and effects on coral beds or algae populations. Now the UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme is funding a six-pronged effort to better define what is happening and what may happen next. Under the 5-year program:

The program is the "UK's response to growing concerns over ocean acidification" according to the UK Ocean Acidification Research website. The project is funded by UK agencies: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

More on Ocean Acidification:
What You Need to Know About Ocean Acidification
Oceans Acidifying 10x Faster Than During Last Massive Marine Extinction
Global Warming's Evil Twin: Ocean Acidification - A Present And Measurable Danger
Ocean Acidification Causing Some Shells to Grow Thicker
Caribbean Coral Reef Conservation Ignores Evolution

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