Oceans Face Triple Threat

The ocean may be at risk.

The world’s oceans are under greater threat than previously believed from a “deadly trio” of global warming, declining oxygen levels and acidification, an international study said on Thursday.

The oceans have continued to warm, pushing many commercial fish stocks towards the poles and raising the risk of extinction for some marine species, despite a slower pace of temperature rises in the atmosphere this century, it said.

“Risks to the ocean and the ecosystems it supports have been significantly underestimated,” according to the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), a non-governmental group of leading scientists.

“The scale and rate of the present day carbon perturbation, and resulting ocean acidification, is unprecedented in Earth’s known history,” according to the report, made with the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The oceans are warming because of heat from a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Fertilisers and sewage that wash into the oceans can cause blooms of algae that reduce oxygen levels in the waters. And carbon dioxide in the air can form a weak acid when it reacts with sea water.

“The ‘deadly trio’ of … acidification, warming and deoxygenation is seriously affecting how productive and efficient the ocean is,” the study said.

Alex Rogers of Oxford University, scientific director of IPSO, told Reuters scientists were finding that threats to the oceans, from the impacts of carbon to over-fishing, were compounding one another.

“We are seeing impacts throughout the world,” he said.

Read the full story here.

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About jensera

Jennifer Harrington is a Toronto-based illustrator, writer and graphic designer. She illustrated the best-selling children’s book series 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' which includes the titles 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' 'The Night Before a Canadian Christmas' and 'Canadian Jingle Bells.' She is also the owner of JSH Graphics, a boutique graphic design agency that specializes in print and web advertising. With her latest project, Eco Books 4 Kids, Jennifer has partnered with illustrator Michael Arnott to create a series of ecologically-themed ebooks for children. Her next book, 'Spirit Bear,' is due for release in the Summer of 2013. Jennifer offers two different school presentations for her 'Moose in a Maple Tree' collection, an illustration demonstration and a Christmas concert series, which can be booked at www.amooseinamapletree.com. She will be taking bookings for school readings of 'Spirit Bear' beginning in October 2013.

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