The Narwhal discusses a study showing that Arctic Ocean acidification could reach levels far greater than predicted if emissions stay high. The cold waters of the planet’s north are highly susceptible to carbon absorption and under a ‘business as usual’ climate change scenario the impacts to marine ecosystems and food chains could be dire.
The Arctic Ocean could absorb 20 per cent more carbon than previously predicted before the end of the century, according to a recent study.
It’s a jump that could result in even more acidification, jeopardizing marine wildlife.
About 7.5 billion tonnes of carbon was projected to be absorbed by the Arctic Ocean in previous estimates, said Jens Terhaar, the lead author of the research paper, released this month in the journal Nature. The new study — a joint undertaking between the University of Bern in Switzerland and École normale supérieure in Paris — found that this number is actually 1.5 billion tonnes higher (under what’s commonly known as the ‘business as usual’ or RCP8.5 high emissions scenario), reaching 9 billion tonnes of carbon absorbed by 2100.
While the Arctic Ocean represents 1 per cent of global seawater, it’s by far the most vulnerable to a changing climate, Terhaar said.