Ocean Acidification

Dissolution in the Southern Ocean

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Science  19 Feb 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6275, pp. 828
DOI: 10.1126/science.351.6275.828-a

The Sea butterfly Limacina helicina, a common species of shelled pteropod in the Antarctic

PHOTO: ALEXANDER SEMENOV

The rise of atmospheric CO2 concentrations may make the surface water in large expanses of the Southern Ocean so acidic by the year 2030 that aragonite there will start to dissolve. This will make it more difficult for key species at the base of the food web, such as pteropods, to thrive there as they do now. Hauri et al. use an ensemble of Earth system models to project how Southern Ocean acidification will progress over the next century, concluding that it could affect more than 70% of the region by 2100 if CO2 emissions are not drastically reduced.

Nat. Clim. Change 10.1038/nclimate2844 (2016).

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