Oceans could be 170 percent more acidic by end of century

15 November 2013 11:24

Global warming is causing a silent storm in the oceans by acidifying waters at a record rate, threatening marine life from coral reefs to fish stocks, an international study showed on Thursday, reports Reuters.

The report, by 540 experts in 37 nations, said the seas could become 170 percent more acidic by 2100 compared to levels before the Industrial Revolution. Carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, can become a mild acid when mixed with water.

Acidification is combining with a warming of ocean waters, also caused by a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and other man-made factors such as higher pollution and overfishing, the report said.

"It is like the silent storm - you can't hear it, you can't feel it," Carol Turley, a senior scientist at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory in England, told Reuters.

The study, released on the sidelines of a meeting of almost 200 nations in Warsaw on ways to slow global warming, estimated that acidity of the oceans had already increased by 26 percent since the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries.

As reported, the Warsaw talks are working on plans for a global deal, due to be agreed in 2015, to limit climate change.