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Report: Arctic Seas Acidifying at a Fast Pace due to Carbon Dioxide Emissions

 25-MAY-2013

Suggested Readings: May 2013 Current Affairs, 2013 Current Affairs, Environment | Ecology, IAS Prelim 2013

A new report released in May 2013 claimed that the Arctic Seas are being made more acidic rapidly due to carbon dioxide emissions. Widespread changes in the ocean chemistry of the Arctic region were monitored by the scientists from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP).

As per the latest report released by the scientists, if the emissions of carbon dioxide are stopped with immediate effect at this point of time, then also it would take tens of thousands of years for Arctic Ocean chemistry to revert to pre-industrial levels. The scientists have forecasted the effects of the emission will bring in major changes in the marine ecosystem, but there exists an uncertainty over what kind of changes it will be, but will surely Impact the life of many marine creatures, including the commercially valuable fish.

CO2 plays a great role in warming of the planet and it helps in making the alkaline water of the oceans more acidic after being absorbed from air. Cold water absorbs CO2 faster than compared to water at normal temperature. Thus the ice cold water of Arctic seas becomes more vulnerable. The recent decline of summer sea ice has also helped in exposing the sea surface to atmospheric CO2 to a greater extent.

The researchers claim that the water of the Nordic Seas is acidifying to a wide range of depths. Effect of acidifying is faster at surface water than compared in deep waters. Mosaic of different levels of pH has been mapped by the researchers across the region that too based on the scale of change in the local intake of freshwater.

A huge decrease of 0.02 per decade in the pH value has been monitored by the team of researchers on the Iceland and Barents seas since 1960s. The estimates made states that the average acidity of the surface ocean waters across the world is 30 percent higher by now, than that before the industrial revolution.

Overall as per the scientists and researchers working on the conditions of sea water, it will be very early to predict the exact changes that the sea will witness over the times to come.



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