No more food?

I was just listening to a podcast with an interview from Kim Stanley Robinson, and he mentioned something pretty alarming which I hadn't really realized before... The carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (which is a strong contributor to global warming) is also affecting the balance in the oceans - and when it's mixed with water, it becomes carbon acid. This acid is pretty mild, but still, in sufficient quantities, enough to prevent things like shells forming on tiny little marine organisms.

The problem is, these little tiny things form the bottom of the food pyramid. Fish eat them, bigger fish eat those fish, and after a few layers, we humans are at the top of the chain.

What happens to a pyramid, if the base suddenly crumbles?

From The Guardian:

Dr Orr and an international team from Britain, the US, Japan and Australia combined recent measurements from oceans with computer models to work out how CO2 levels are likely to change the acidity of oceans in coming decades if emissions continue as expected.

They found that by 2100, the amount of carbonate available for marine organisms would drop by 60%. By 2050, there could be too little carbonate in surface waters for organisms to form shells.


(More in the New Scientist.)


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"Main_blogentry_280106_1" last changed on 28-Jan-2006 12:41:21 EET by JanneJalkanen.