Scientists with the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) warned Monday morning that the Arctic Ocean is acidifying much more rapidly than previously thought, adding that it will be “tens of thousands of years” before the worst effects of climate change on the Arctic Ocean can be mitigated.
The Arctic Ocean is particular vulnerable to acidification due to the rivers that flow into it, each carrying growing amounts of carbon runoffs every year.
Scientists warned that the acidification of the Arctic Ocean has the potential to affect marine life in profound and as-yet-unknown ways, endangering the ecosystem by threatening its smallest components.
The situation is growing worse each year as sea ice melts away, removing the ocean’s “cap” and allowing the cold, fresh meltwaters more surface area to absorb carbon that ever before, which accelerates the acidification process.
“Continued rapid change is a certainty,” AMAP study author Richard Bellerby told the BBC. “We have already passed critical thresholds. Even if we stop emissions now, acidification will last tens of thousands of years. It is a very big experiment.”
Globally, oceans are about 30 percent more acidic than they were during the industrial revolution, the BBC noted.