Acid Oceans to ‘Dissolve’ Coral Reefs in 30 years

By Stephen Leahy

BROOKLIN, Canada, Nov 12, 2007 (IPS)

Coral reefs face certain extinction in a few decades unless there are unprecedented reductions in carbon emissions, leading Australian scientists warn.

Corals around the world may be nothing but rubble before a child born today turns 30 years old, and almost certainly before they’re 50.

The reason? Rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere are turning the oceans acidic far faster than previously observed.

“It isn’t just the coral reefs which are affected. A large part of the plankton in the Southern Ocean, the coccolithophorids, are also affected,” said Malcolm McCulloch, an environmental research scientist at the Australian National University in Canberra.

[Update Sept 2010 – wide spread coral bleaching reportedWhat if our air was 30% more acidic like the Oceans? May be 120% more acidic by 2060]

“These (coccolithophorids) drive ocean productivity and are the base of the food web which supports krill, whales, tuna and our fisheries,” McCulloch said in a statement. Continue reading