Ocean acidity rising 10x faster than previously thought

Picture: Dead - well, mostly dead - mussels that have noticeably weakened shells. An oceanic shift in pH levels due to, you guessed it, the rise in atmospheric carbon has led many scientists to describe shelled marine life the 'canary in the coal mine' of the oceans.

Uh oh. If it seemed that this climate change thing couldn't get any worse, University of Chicago researchers have some bad news for you, and me, and our days at the beach: the pH of our saltwater is becoming way too acidic way too fast.

What's causing the rise?

"Of the variables the study examined that are linked to changes in ocean acidity, only atmospheric carbon dioxide exhibited a corresponding steady change," said J. Timothy Wootton, the lead author of the study and Professor of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago.

In regular English: more CO2 equals higher acidity in our oceans.

What are the concerns with a pH change?

Foodchain health. A lot of fish depend on shelled animals, coral, and algae for sustenance, and a lot of people depend on fish for proper nutrition.

Ecosystem health, (e.g. coral reef bleaching [follow this link to a ton of interesting empirical research]).

What's the solution?

Not pumping CO2 into the air in such immense quantities.

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