Carbon dioxide emissions have rendered the oceans acidic, threatening the health of the marine life. This is a similar occurrence, akin to what happened to the dinosaurs, some 65 million years ago, when they just disappeared from the face of the earth. Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology has presented this research at the AGU/ASLO Ocean Sciences meeting in Honolulu.
Caldeira's computer models have shown a bleak future for the oceans which are going to turn acidic, if emissions continue the way it is. These findings have been linked to certain similarities found in the fossil record, and the data available on the ocean's chemistry during that time. This might indicate an increased threat to marine life, incase carbon dioxide emissions do not drastically reduce.
"The geologic record tells us the chemical effects of ocean acidification would last tens of thousands of years," Caldeira said. "But biological recovery could take millions of years. Ocean acidification has the potential to cause extinction of many marine species."
The oceans had been subject to drastic changes in their chemistry about 65 million years ago, which coincided with the time the dinosaurs went extinct. The pattern that caused the extinction in the ocean was found to be around the same time when ocean acidification took place.
According to Caldeira, "Ultimately, if we are not careful, our energy system could make the oceans corrosive to coral reefs and many other marine organisms. These results should help motivate the search for new energy sources, such as wind and solar, that can fuel economic growth without releasing dangerous carbon dioxide into the environment."