Too Much CO2 In The Oceans

By: Jill Cordes
By: Jill Cordes

Carbon dioxide emissions caused by humans are harming marine life with a one-two punch: rising temperatures and stronger ocean acidity.

CO2 is a greenhouse gas linked to global warming. As the atmosphere warms, so does the ocean.

Oceans also absorb CO2. That's a good thing -- they help keep massive amounts of the greenhouse gas from building up in the atmosphere. But scientists are concerned that oceans today are absorbing too much.

Laurie Wayburn, president of the Pacific Trust Fund: "A big problem we have with our oceans is now they have too much CO2 in them. That's actually causing a major problem in dissolving the shells of small organisms as those creatures die, they release that carbon back into the atmosphere."

The extra heat and acidity bleaches coral reefs, stunting their growth and killing them. Coral provides critical habitat. The loss of these reefs could be catastrophic for the marine life that depends on them. But it's possible to reduce the carbon emissions that affect our oceans through policy changes and conservation.


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