Recently, a group of more than 150 marine researchers top in their field drafted a declaration entitled the “Monaco Declaration”. The declaration focuses on the fact that ocean acidity is drastically increasing due to carbon dioxide emissions. The scientists agree that the acidity is changing at a far greater rate than would occur with natural variability.
The scientists declared: “We scientists who met in Monaco to review what is known about ocean acidification declare that we are deeply concerned by recent, rapid changes in ocean chemistry and their potential, within decades, to severely affect marine organisms, food webs, biodiversity and fisheries.”
Ocean pH levels are changing a 100 times more quickly than would expected in an environment not being exposed to excessive amounts of carbon dioxide. Since the industrial age has begun, it is estimated that the oceans have absorbed about half of the excess carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere.
Due to the absorption of carbon dioxide, the oceans’ pH have dropped 0.1. In addition to the 0.1 drop in pH, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that ocean pH will drop an additional 0.14 to 0.35 during the 21st century. The base pH of ocean water is 8.2, a change this drastic will drop the pH potentially into the 7 range. Keep in mind that oceanic ecosystems have been built under the 8.2 pH and any change could be detrimental. Neutral pH is 7.
The scientists believe that if current carbon dioxide emissions continue, ocean acidification would cause large and/or complete die offs of coral reefs by 2050 due to pH being too low for coral to survive. The scientists do not seem very optimistic, as one stated: “The questions are now how bad will it be and how soon will it happen.” Acidification could easily destroy countless ecosystems, and therefore our own.