ost of us understand that what emissions we give off are responsible for changes in the climate.
What is less familiar is the fact that the oceans are absorbing as much as a third of the carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere.
That added carbon dioxide is slowly making the oceans less alkaline and more acidic.
The acid ocean is interfering with calcium carbonate, the structural element in corals and the shells of many marine animals.
As the oceans acidify, shells will simply dissolve. The growth of coral reefs will slow, and their structural integrity would be weakened. That would be a catastrophic loss.
New studies show that if carbon dioxide emissions continue at current rates, shells and corals could begin to dissolve — especially in the southern oceans — within 30 years.
Observations from many places, including the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, suggest that ocean acidification is proceeding much faster than anyone had thought.