The Cleaning of the Atmosphere Destroys the Oceans

by EDion on October 16, 2015 - 9:47pm

In this article, Alfonso Mucci explains how oceans remove CO2 from the atmosphere, which affects aquatic ecosystems. This effect cleans the air, but pollutes bodies of water even more. Oceans come to be too acidic. Micro-organisms are at risk of becoming extinct, which in turn can deeply affect other species. The long-term repercussions are very hard to predict since gasified water descends to the bottom of the ocean very slowly. No one can know exactly what lies in the future for these ecosystems. An European scientist predicted over a century ago that this would happen. Since then, acidification of oceans has escalated by almost a third. Nobody has any proof that the acidic levels have ever been so high. This soaring level of acidification is, among others, the cause of the decreasing rate of coral growth. Corals are the home of several different species and ecosystems. Their growth rate is very important and climate change is very harmful to them as well as to other species. Other species’ health and survival are also deeply affected. Certain food chains are even at risk of collapsing completely. This, in turn, will have an impact on bigger fish and mammals which will have an impact on the human population after a while. Multiple species may become extinct because of climate change. Oceans have already absorbed a fourth of the atmospheric carbon and it is only a matter of time before it absorbs almost the entirety of it. The major problem of this is that it will take millions of years before oceans reach equilibrium again. All of this seems very tragic, but there exists solutions. As well as cutting back on carbon dioxide emissions, there are carbon capture technologies. A decrease in gas emissions would definitely benefit the oceans’ situation. 


The state of the environment is getting to a critical point. Things need to change fast. I find the whole situation very selfish from our part since it is primarily our fault as humans. A lot of species and ecosystems are affected because of our actions. We need to start thinking about other living things instead of only our own wellbeing. Most people tell themselves that they will not make a difference if they change their way of acting, but if everyone keeps thinking this way the state of our planet will never change. Every action counts, no matter how small. Everyone needs to be a part of the change.


Hi EDion,

Thank you for sharing this article. I find it amazing that the oceans can absorb such a large percentage of the pollution that we have released. I agree with your point about solving the problem of CO2 emissions. If every single person were to limit their emissions and employ these carbon capture technologies, this would no longer be an issue. Unfortunately, we are creatures of habit and have a difficulty accepting change. We also have trouble understanding the results of our actions because we don’t see the results play out directly in front of us. If we are going to fix this problem and prevent mass extinction on earth, we need to bring attention to this issue through social media and television so that everyone is made aware. There needs to be changes to the products we use and the cars we drive so that individually we can reduce our negative impact on our oceans. There needs to be actions taken to punish companies for polluting excessively. There needs to be more money spent on environmental study and pollution control. There are so many things that need to be done that the problem can seem overwhelming. I agree with you that if we want change, we need to stop believing that our actions don’t matter and take a stand on CO2 emissions. We need to believe that we can make a difference one person at a time.

I chose to comment on your article because I too strongly think that the absorption of CO2 by the oceans is an issue that has to be addressed as soon as possible. I have seen coral reefs with my own eyes and the fact that these ecosystems are being slowly destroyed by the rising levels of acid shows how careless humans have been. It is important for us to realise what is happening since time is running out. If we are not able to stop the increasing levels of CO2 in time, a point of no return will be reached and there will be no hope of coming back. I agree that laws should be made to regulate levels of CO2 and punish people who don't follow them. Moreover, I think that every human on Earth has to be informed about the issue of the rising of CO2 emissions. Hopefully, we can stop the increase before it destroys us.

I really enjoyed your writing as it brought to light another issue regarding CO2 emissions that is often left out of the conversation. I have hear very little regarding this issue although it is clearly a big problem for the sustainability of marine ecosystems. Many of the articles that I have read speak of the ability of the ocean to capture CO2 from the atmosphere as a positive although that is clearly not the case in this article. I think that it is very important that the public is more informed on what exactly the consequences of their actions on all levels. I know that not long ago I thought that it was a good thing that the ocean was helping to deal with the atmospheric CO2 issue, not even thinking of the consequences for the ocean. I agree that we all need to be a part of the change for there to be success, but with many people who do not even understand the impacts of what they are doing, how do you see this happening in the future?
Thank you for your contribution.

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