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CLIMATE CHANGE DISSOLVING THE OCEAN FLOOR

Posted on: February 1, 2022

Climate Change May Be Dissolving the Ocean Floor - video Dailymotion

LINK TO SOURCE: https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/climate-change-may-be-dissolving-ocean-floor-here-s-why-ncna935261

PPART-1: WHAT THE SOURCE ARTICLE SAYS

Climate change may be dissolving the ocean floor. Here’s why we should be worried. Even at places on our planet where we have never set foot there is a trace of human activity. Climate change doesn’t just dissolve the seafloor. By acidifying the ocean, climate change can also spell trouble for coral, shellfish, and other marine life. From heat waves to severe storms and wildfires, the effects of climate change are visible all around us and new research suggests that the impact of a warming world extends all the way to the bottom of the ocean. A study published Oct. 29 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that high levels of carbon dioxide that humans have created by burning fossil fuels that is the key contributor to Earth’s warming climate, have also made parts of the North Atlantic Ocean and the Southern Ocean so acidic that the chalky white mineral that makes up the seafloor is dissolving. No one ventured to the seafloor to conduct the study. Instead, researchers simulated seafloor conditions in a laboratory. The simulations showed that the mineral, a form of calcium carbonate known as calcite, is being replaced by murky brown sediments. Calcite is made of the skeletons and shells of marine organisms laid down over millions of years, and its loss would represent more than an aesthetic matter. The mineral acts as a chemical buffer, neutralizing the carbonic acid that forms when carbon dioxide seeps from the atmosphere into the ocean. The reaction helps prevent runaway acidification of seawater. But with cars and factories spewing so much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the scientists say, the calcite can’t keep up. As a result, the oceans are becoming more acidic. Ocean acidification is bad news for sea creatures. Roughly 250 million years ago, during the Permian-Triassic Extinction Event, unusually acidic oceans drove more than 90 percent of marine species to extinction. It seems that we are at the dawn of one of these catastrophic events, and we don’t need to look far to find the cause of it. All we need is a mirror. The slow depletion of calcite matters, in part because it’s unlikely to end anytime soon. Even if emissions of carbon dioxide ended today, he said, it would take centuries for the excess CO2 to stop dissolving the seafloor. Then there’s the stark realization that humanity’s effect on our environment is disturbingly pervasive. Even at places on our planet where we have never set foot, or that have never been seen by human eyes, such as the deep sea, there is a mark of human activity. FOOTNOTE: Wallace Broecker, a Columbia University climate scientist who was not involved in the new study, said in an email that it “greatly overplays” the calcite problem. The dissolving of calcite “occurs naturally on a large scale in the deep sea,” he said. “A tiny bit more will have no consequence.”

PART-2: CRITICAL COMMENTARY

OUR FOSSIL FUEL EMISSIONS ARE CURRENTLY 36.7E9 TONNES PER YEAR. THAT MAY SEEM LIKE A LOT BUT THE OCEAN IS A VERY BIG PLACE WITH MORE THAN 1.315E18 TONNES OF WATER. WHAT THIS MEANS IS IT WILL TAKE US ABOUT 360 THOUSAND YEARS TO ACIDIFY THE OCEAN TO 1% FOSSIL FUELS IF ALL THE FOSSIL FUEL EMISSIONS GO INTO THE OCEAN AND ABOUT 720,000 YEARS IF ONLY HALF OF THE FOSSIL FUEL EMISSIONS GO INTO THE OCEAN WITH THE OTHER HALF BEING USED BY THE ATMOSPHERE TO CAUSE GLOBAL WARMING.

CONCLUSION: MAYBE WE SHOULD WAIT A FEW THOUSAND YEARS BEFORE WE BEGIN WORRYING ABOUT ACIDIFYING THE WHOLE OCEAN ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE OCEAN FLOOR.

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