ScienceDaily: In a major new international report, experts conclude that the acidity of the world’s ocean may increase by around 170% by the end of the century bringing significant economic losses. People who rely on the ocean’s ecosystem services — often in developing countries — are especially vulnerable.
The summary for policymakers makes 21 statements about ocean acidification with a range of confidence levels from “very high” to “low.”
Very high confidence
*Ocean acidification is caused by carbon dioxide emissions from human activity to the atmosphere that end up in the ocean.
*The capacity of the ocean to act as a carbon sink decreases as it acidifies
*Reducing carbon dioxide emissions will slow the progress of ocean acidification.
*Anthropogenic ocean acidification is currently in progress and is measurable
*The legacy of historical fossil fuel emissions on ocean acidification will be felt for centuries.
*If carbon dioxide emissions continue on the current trajectory, coral reef erosion is likely to outpace reef building some time this century.
*Cold-water coral communities are at risk and may be unsustainable.
*Molluscs (such as mussels, oysters and pteropods) are one of the groups most sensitive to ocean acidification.
*The varied responses of species to ocean acidification and other stressors are likely to lead to changes in marine ecosystems, but the extent of the impact is difficult to predict.
*Multiple stressors compound the effects of ocean acidification.
*Negative socio-economic impacts on coral reefs are expected, but the scale of the costs is uncertain.
*Declines in shellfisheries will lead to economic losses, but the extent of the losses is uncertain.
*Ocean acidification may have some direct effects on fish behaviour and physiology.
*The shells of marine snails known as pteropods, an important link in the marine food web, are already dissolving.
IGBP: Ocean Acidification Summary for Policymakers 2013
This summary for policymakers reports on the state of scientific knowledge on ocean acidification, based on the latest research presented at The Third Symposium on the Ocean in a High-CO2 World, held in Monterey, California, in September 2012. Experts present the projected changes from ocean acidification for ecosystems and the people who rely on them, according to levels of confidence for these outcomes.