Saturday, December 15, 2007

Acidic seas may kill 98% of the world's reefs by 2050

Last chance to see... the coral reefs? Aside from global warming, the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere increases the amount absorbed by the oceans, which act as one of the major buffers for atmospheric carbon. However, dissolved carbon dioxide dissociates into acidic carbonic acid, which erodes the carbonate skeletons and shells of corals and other animals. Loss of reefs will not only mean the loss of biodiversity but also a change in coastal dynamics, e.g. the buffering effect reefs have on storm surges.

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