[MCN] Another CO2 problem: Ocean floor "is dissolving rapidly"

Lance Olsen lance at wildrockies.org
Mon Oct 29 19:56:13 EDT 2018

Public Release: 29-Oct-2018
Alterations to seabed raise fears for future
The ocean floor as we know it is dissolving rapidly as a result of human activity. The seabed plays a crucial role in controlling the degree of ocean acidification by neutralizing the acidity of the water. But due to human activities, the level of CO2 in the water is so high, and the water so acidic, that the calcite on the ocean floor is simply being dissolved.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
 <https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-10/mu-ats102918.php>Full release https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-10/mu-ats102918.php <https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-10/mu-ats102918.php>


The McGill-led research team who published their results this week in a study in PNAS <<http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/10/23/1804250115 <http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/10/23/1804250115>>> believe that what they are seeing today is only a foretaste of the way that the ocean floor will most likely be affected in future.

Long-lasting repercussions

"Because it takes decades or even centuries for CO2 to drop down to the bottom of the ocean, almost all the CO2 created through human activity is still at the surface. But in the future, it will invade the deep-ocean, spread above the ocean floor and cause even more calcite particles at the seafloor to dissolve," says lead author Olivier Sulpis who is working on his PhD in McGill's Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences. "The rate at which CO2 is currently being emitted into the atmosphere is exceptionally high in Earth's history, faster than at any period since at least the extinction of the dinosaurs. And at a much faster rate than the natural mechanisms in the ocean can deal with, so it raises worries about the levels of ocean acidification in future."

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