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Scientists warn over Arctic Ocean’s rapid acidification

Last Updated: Monday, May 6, 2013 - 21:48

Zee Media Bureau

Oslo: Scientists from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) on Monday warned over the rapid acidification of the Arctic Ocean caused by carbon dioxide emissions.
Researchers said the acidification could have dire consequences on the fragile ecosystem as well as bringing a major change to the marine life. While some species, such as the brittle star face a direct risk of extinction and fish stocks may also be harmed, other species could prosper.

Hence, industrial fishing, tourism and the lifestyles of indigenous peoples are at risk.

Scientists find that the acidity levels of the surface ocean waters have now risen by about 30% worldwide than they were during the Industrial revolution.

The reason for the Arctic Ocean being more vulnerable to acidification is because its cold waters absorb more carbon dioxide. The flows of fresh water from rivers and melting ice have worsened the situation since freshwater is less effective at chemically neutralising the acidifying effects of CO2.

The pH levels have decreased by around 0.02 per decade in the Iceland and Barents seas since the end of the 1960s.

Even if carbon dioxide emissions were to be brought to a halt today, it would take tens of thousands of years for the oceans to return to the acidity levels they had before the industrial era began two centuries ago, said Norwegian researcher Richard Bellerby, the main author of the scientific study on the subject.

First Published: Monday, May 6, 2013 - 21:38

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