Ocean Death Happening
Quickly – Irreversibly
By James Donahue
Industrial and global
pollution that is filling the air with carbon dioxide is not only causing global warming, it is bringing rapid and severe
changes in the world’s oceans, an international research study shows.
It is a complex
reaction causing the oceans to absorb high levels of carbon dioxide. They are consequently becoming more acid. This is
killing the coral reefs, shellfish and plankton, on which all marine life depends.
The plankton has moved
hundreds of miles north to escape the warming ocean waters. This has had a disastrous effect on the sea life that feeds on
plankton, the study found.
For example many North Sea birds failed to
breed this year, which is thought to have been caused by the absence of the sand eels they feed on. The sand eels, in turn,
feed upon plankton. Thus the problem passes on up the food chain.
The results of the 15-year
study, headed by US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and involved researchers from six other nations around
the world, were reported in the UK’s Independent. It was a major research effort involving an analysis of 72,000 samples
of seawater from 10,000 different places in the world oceans since 1989.
The study warns of an
alarming collapse of the world’s oceans if climate change continues.
It was discovered that
the seas of the world have soaked up nearly half of all human emissions of carbon dioxide since the start of the industrial
revolution. “By doing so they have greatly slowed climate change and almost certainly prevented it from already causing
catastrophe,” the story said.
Dr. Christopher Sabine,
one of the research leaders, said the result of what is happening “is changing the chemistry of the oceans.” The
story warned that this could have “significant impacts on the biological systems of the oceans in ways that we are only
beginning to understand.”
What scientists believe
is happening: As the water absorbs carbon dioxide from the air, it forms carbonic
acid. The acid in turn absorbs calcium carbonate, a substance used by shellfish to make their shells. This then becomes a
chain reaction that threatens life forms from the bottom of the food chain all the way to the top.
The study warns that
if the world continues producing more and more carbon dioxide, the oceans will reach the limit of their ability to absorb
it, all sea life will perish, and the world will heat up anyway.
In other words, our planet
has a built-in safety system for holding back the destructive force of human misbehavior. It has have given us time to discover
our mistakes and turn things around.
Judging by the way leaders
of the major world industrial powers, the United States, China and India
are behaving, however, it seem quite clear that the people in charge are not paying attention.