With airborne carbon dioxide being continuously absorbed by our oceans, their acidity levels are on the rise. The unique ecosystem in the Artic is now threatened. This isn’t just about polar bears and seals, unless this trend is stopped and reversed, this is going to bite us back.
Climate change isn’t just affecting polar bears and it certainly is more than just big chunks of ice falling into the ocean.
Researchers have now discovered that the acidity in the waters of Arctic Ocean have risen dramatically from 1994 to 2010. The most likely cause of this rise can be pinned on airborne carbon dioxide (aka a greenhouse gas) dissolving itself into the waters.
Although this process happens in many places on earth, the risk in the Arctic regions are such that species that depend on land and the ocean, such as seals, polar bears and other animals have a greater risk of extinction.
Researchers got their first clue when studying concentrations levels of aragonite, a mineral that cannot be formed in highly acidic waters. During this study they discovered that parts of the western Arctic Ocean have lower than expected levels of aragonite.
Things are not looking good for the species involved. While climate change isn’t the sole factor responsible for the change, it certainly is a huge factor. It would be irrational to expect one variable have such a massive impact on a global scale.
Researchers have also noted that changes in ocean currents have seen a greater flux, with an increase in carbon-rich waters from the Pacific Ocean. These changes could potentially leave the carbon-rich water ‘stuck’ in the Arctic.
Computer models are suggesting that the Arctic Ocean could be ice free by 2030 and before that the entire surface of the Arctic Ocean could be rid of aragonite.
This puts the entire Arctic ecosystem at significant risk.