Lots of buzz about a hot, new documentary film A Sea Change which is about ocean acidification and its potential to empty the oceans of fish. I haven’t seen the film although I had a chance to at a seafood conference in San Diego last month but couldn’t face a visual version of a topic I’ve written about since 2006. I have enough trouble sleeping as it is…
Turns out the filmmakers got the idea to make the film by ‘googling’ “ocean acidification” in Nov 2006 and found very few entries. I guess my 2006 articles were among the first-ever articles published about ocean acidification and how climate change is a major threat to the global oceans. — Stephen
July 5 2006
Ailing Reefs Face New Threat of Acidity
By Stephen Leahy
Climate change is making the world’s oceans more acidic, seriously endangering marine ecosystems, including coral reefs.
Carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels have already made the oceans 30 percent more acidic than they have been in millions of years, according to a new report by leading scientists. And the rate of acidification is accelerating as the oceans absorb more than two billion tonnes of carbon each year from the atmosphere.
“This is a dramatic change in the world’s oceans, a change that marine organisms have never dealt with before,” said Joan Kleypas, the report’s lead author and a scientist at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado.
“The oceans have changed and they are becoming more acidic. There is no debate about this,” Kleypas told IPS.
Climate Change Shattering Marine Food Chain
By Stephen Leahy
Vast swaths of coral reefs in the Caribbean sea and South Pacific Ocean are dying, while the recently-discovered cold-water corals in northern waters will not survive the century – all due to climate change.
The loss of reefs will have a catastrophic impact on all marine life.
One-third of the coral at official monitoring sites in the area of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have recently perished in what scientists call an “unprecedented” die-off.
Extremely high sea temperatures in the summer and fall of 2005 that spawned a record hurricane season have also caused extensive coral bleaching extending from the Florida Keys to Tobago and Barbados in the south and Panama and Costa Rica, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coral Reef Watch.
High sea temperatures are also killing parts of Australia’s 2,000-kilometre-long Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest living reef formation.
May 5 2006
What Are Zooplankton? (And Why You Should Care)
By Stephen Leahy
Scientists probing the depths of the Sargasso Sea have discovered new species and learned more about the vital role of its smallest animals, zooplankton.
We found a large number of species, including a number that may be new to science, at depths of one to five kilometres,” said Larry Madin, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, located on the U.S. northeast coast.
“Despite inhospitable conditions of permanent darkness, crushing pressure and 4 degree C temperatures, the deep oceans are not devoid of life,” Madin told IPS.
Here is collection of my more recent articles on this (includes coverage of two important 2008 science conferences on corals and ocean acidification):