The rapidly acidifying Arctic Ocean caused by absorbing the world's CO2 emissions have pushed us beyond "critical thresholds," with widespread impacts to be felt for "tens of thousands of years" even if we stopped emissions, say scientists.
The three-year assessment from a team of international scientists is being released at the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme's (AMAP) International Conference on Arctic Ocean Acidification starting Monday in Bergen, Norway, and details how the phenomenon dubbed "climate change's evil twin" is causing a global problem.
- Richard Bellerby, NIWR"Arctic ocean acidification is happening at a faster rate than found in other global regions. This is because climate change such as warming and freshening of the oceans is acting in tandem with the enormous oceanic uptake of C02," said Bellerby.
“Continued rapid change is a certainty,” Bellerby told BBC News.
“We have already passed critical thresholds," warned Bellerby. "Even if we stop emissions now, acidification will last tens of thousands of years. It is a very big experiment.”
Sam Dupont, Researcher at the University of Gothenburg, says that "something really unique is happening. This is the first time that we as humans are changing the whole planet; we are actually acidifying the whole ocean today."
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"The most optimistic prediction," Dupont says, "tells us that within few decades, by the end of this century, the ocean will be two times more acidic. And we also know that it might be even faster in the Arctic."
The impacts of this acidification will be widespread, as Dupont explains.
See more in the Arctic Ocean Acidification video from AMAP: