A study published in the journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles claims that Atlantic Ocean has absorbed 50 percent more CO2 in the last decade than it did the decade before. The researchers from the University of Miami warn that this lowers the ocean’s pH, making it more acidic and harmful to many marine lives.
Researcher Ryan Woosley says this shows mankind’s impact on the environment. Apart from the climate change the man’s practices cause, these also have an effect on the Earth’s oceans.
Climate change have been largely attributed to the emitted carbon dioxide from burning of oil, coal and natural gas for energy use, as well as deforestation. In 2015, CO2 has risen to 400 parts per million, an increase from the recorded 355 parts per million of CO2 in 1989, Daily Mail states.
The ocean’s decreasing pH harms marine creatures such as coccolithophores, phytoplankton, oysters and clams. These animals may seem to cause no major problems but some are a food source for larger animals that include dolphins, whales and other fish, so deteriorating population will affect the entire ecosystem.
Another chemical element has also been observed from Greenland’s ice sheet. The researchers said that the melt water carry about 400,000 metric tonnes of phosphorus into coastal waters.
According to Jon Hawkings, a Cabot Institute researcher at the Bristol Glaciology Centre at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, the phosphorus input are similar to the Mississippi river and the Amazon river. This may even increase over time as the Earth warms, melting more ice.
The researchers added that the phosphorus can stimulate growth of the marine food chain. This nutrient encourages plankton growth at the base of the ocean food web, which will benefit fish, birds and other marine animals higher up the food chain. However, the food chain may soon be disrupted as the oceans acidify at an alarming rate.