October 29, 2016
According to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the acidification
of the ocean due to CO2 emissions threaten to decrease the number of species which
contribute towards ecosystems all over the world. The emissions largely come from
humans using fossil fuel and certain processes for industries. It is said that not many
species will be able to overcome the obstacle of CO2 emissions which continue to rise. The
only species which is thought will keep growing in number despite the emissions are
microorganisms. With big desires for food in the ocean, but less regular fishes for the
carnivorous fish, the ocean’s food chain will have collapsing.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, oceans have
been, for the past two centuries, absorbing over 100 billion metric tons of carbon which
have come about from actions by humans. Basically, for every person on Earth, there are
15 pounds of carbon. Despite the ocean’s environment having been rather stable for
dozens of millions of years, it has only been in the last billion years or so that
concentrations of CO2 have been getting higher than they ever were before.
It is hoped that the ocean emissions will decrease someday. Although there is not
much known as to as to how exactly ocean acidification works, it is known that the health
of humans are at risk as well, not just marine life. This is because the toxins from the
acidification can affect marine life that humans eat. A 2015 nationwide study revealed that
areas which had be particularly affected by ocean acidification included the Pacific
Northwest, areas near the northeastern United States, and the Gulf of Mexico. Of
particular note are the areas near Alaska, the state responsible for more than half of the
fish sold in the United States, along with the thousands of jobs entailed with that.
Regarding coral, the structures in the Caribbean and North Sea have been weakened
by the acidification. In particular, the Great Barrier Reef seems to have sustained the most
damage, as more than 50% of the corals which are alive have decreased over the past 30
years. This means that there is less shelter for fish in the Great Barrier Reef region, as well
as the toughness of the reef itself. Having CO2 emissions be this far down south means
that not only is marine life being affected near South America, but also near the Antarctic.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (2016, April 1). Ocean acidification: A wake-up call in our waters. Retrieved from http://www.noaa.gov/ocean-acidification-high-co2-world- dangerous-waters-ahead
Phys.org. (2015, October 12). Global marine analysis suggests food chain collapse. Retrieved from http://phys.org/news/2015-10-global-marine-analysis-food-chain.html
US Environmental Protection Agency. (2016, August 9). Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/global-greenhouse-gas-emissions-data