Project overview:

Evidence from the earth-atmospheric system indicates that we are in a period of rapid climatic warming, with manifestations impacting the major biomes of the planet (IPCC 2007). Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, atmospheric levels of CO2 have risen by approximately 40% (Honisch et al. 2009), as a result of the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation, and this rise in atmospheric CO2 has been implicated as the primary factor behind global warming. At the same time, rising atmospheric CO2 has also led to greater CO2 uptake by the oceans, and ocean acidification (OA). It has been estimated that between the mid 1700’s and 2000, surface ocean pH has decreased from approximately 8.25 to 8.14, representing approximately a 30% increase in the concentration of hydrogen ions [H+]. If present trends in anthropogenic CO2 emission continue into the future, the ocean environment will be characterized not only by elevated dissolved CO2 and decreased pH but, critically, a decreased saturation with respect to calcium carbonate (CaCO3), a compound widely used by marine organisms for construction of their shells and skeletons (Raven et al. 2005).

Honisch B. et al. 2009. Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Concentration Across the Mid-Pleistocene Transition. Science 324: 1551–1554.
IPCC 2007 Climate change 2007. The Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change 4 th assessment report.
Raven FRS et al. 2005. Ocean acidification due to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. The Royal Society report 12/05, 60 pp.