By TLB Contributor: Susanne Posel
A team of marine biologists and climate scientists from the “University of Exeter (UE), Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), Institut français de recherche pour l’exploitation de la mer (Ifremer), the European Space Agency (ESA) and a team of international collaborators” have used “pioneering techniques” through satellite imagery to monitor ocean acidification.
Funding for this project was provided by the ESA.
Their findings show that large areas of the earth’s oceans are becoming more acidic, threatening marine life and human food resources.
Jamie Shutler, oceanographer with the UE, said: “Satellites are likely to become increasingly important for the monitoring of ocean acidification, especially in remote and often dangerous waters like the Arctic. It can be both difficult and expensive to take year-round direct measurements in such inaccessible locations. We are pioneering these techniques so that we can monitor large areas of the Earth’s oceans allowing us to quickly and easily identify those areas most at risk from the increasing acidification.”
Five years ago, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), which is part of UNESCO, published a study that approved of ocean fertilization as a “preventative” measure of sequestering CO2 in the deep oceans.
This practice uses algae blooms to sink CO2 into the world’s oceans as a “geoengineering technique”.
The result of that endeavor has been the astronomically high levels of acidification caused by CO2 sequestering found in the planet’s oceans.
Ocean acidification has more implications than its threat to marine life as discovered by landmark studies that suggest the Atlantic Ocean’s conveyor belt is slowing and the culprit is acid oceans.
In 2012, one study showed that ocean fertilization is causing the AMOC to slow down and could possibly cause it to stop completely.
Jack Cullen, oceanographer with Dalhousie University (DU) and lead author of the study said that ocean fertilization experiments “are dangerous” and if continued would cause another mini Ice Age because the geo-engineering technique would directly affect the AMOC.
The AMOC is the natural “conveyor belt” in the ocean that drives water flow utilizing temperature and saline density to disperse throughout the world’s oceans.
The natural flow of heated water is facilitated by the AMOC from the tropics to the Southern Hemisphere to the North Atlantic and is a vital component to the climate and weather patterns of the planet.
Chris Boulton, lead author of the study told the press : “We found that natural fluctuations in the circulation were getting longer-lived as the collapse was approached, a phenomenon known as critical slowing down.”
The study points out that “the continued influx of freshwater, driven by global warming and the melting polar ice caps, could be enough to slow AMOC to a halt. A collapse of the ocean conveyor belt would mean drastic cooling in northern climes, rising sea levels, and prolonged drought conditions in some areas.”
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