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Rapidly acidifying waters pose major threat for Southern Ocean ecosystem

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Published on Nov 2, 2015

A study published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change uses a number of Earth System Models to explore how the uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide and the resulting ocean acidification will affect the Southern Ocean over the next century.

As a result of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, the chemistry of the Southern Ocean is expected to change so fast over the next few decades that tiny creatures at the base of the food web may soon struggle to form their shells. The new research by scientists from the University of Hawaiʻi - Mānoa (UHM) and the University of Alaska - Fairbanks (UAF) finds that for some organisms the onset of such critical conditions will be so abrupt, and the duration of events so long, that adaption may become impossible.

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