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Carbon dioxide in world’s oceans may threaten many marine species - UN

UN 2004.07.28
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16 July 2004 – The world’s oceans are absorbing an unprecedented amount of carbon dioxide (CO2), increasing their acidity and possibly threatening the long-term survival of many marine species, including corals, shellfish and phytoplankton, according to a report released today on a United Nations-sponsored symposium.

This development in turn could disrupt marine food chains and alter ocean biogeochemistry in ways that are not yet understood or predictable, according to the research presented at the symposium organized by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Council for Science’s Committee on Oceanic Research.

Symposium participants found that by the middle of this century, the accumulating burden of CO2 entering the ocean will lead to changes in acidity of the upper layers that are three times greater in magnitude and 100 times faster than those experienced between ice ages. Such dramatic changes have not been observed for more than 20 million years of earth’s history, the meeting concluded.

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