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Despite all our advanced medical technology, humans have never been sicker.

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Oct 27, 13
Ocean Acidification, Warmth, and Death
For eons, the world ocean has been a carbon sink, helping to mediate changes of CO2 in the atmosphere. Since the rise of humans, it also has served as the primary source of food for countless numbers. Currently, the ocean is growing more acidic as it absorbs the enormous amounts of carbon we are pumping into the atmosphere. This is causing numerous changes including death of coral reefs and dissolving shells on some crustaceans. It has been discovered recently that the ocean depths are warming. This, also, is causing disruption to ocean life cycles. Pollution ranging from plastic trash, to human sewage, to chemicals, to oil spills, to radioactive waters from Fukushima, is taking its toll on the ocean.

Eventually, the ocean reaches a point at which it can't absorb any more and it begins to change. The billions of species which rely on the ocean likely will be unable to adapt to the changes we've caused.

Once the ocean goes, human extinction is almost a certainty.

So, how can we measure the health of the ocean? Here's my partial list of measurable changes:
- Average temperature
- Fish populations
- Sea mammal populations

Of course, the rate of change of those is very important. The faster the change, the harder it is for species to adapt.

The effect of events are harder to measure but still must be taken into consideration:
- Number and size of oil spills
- Mitigation efforts of oil spills
- The amount of sewage being pumped into the ocean - accidental or on a regular course
- Radioactivity levels from Fukushima and similar accidents

Surprisingly, CBS News has done a story on the death of the oceans. Even more surprisingly, their only reference is a 2006 study on the topic. The study is quite indepth but is now almost 8 years old. Here's the study referenced: Worm, B. Science, Nov. 3, 2006; vol 314: pp 787-790. News release, SeaWeb. News release, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Despite it's now ancient date with respect to our knowledge of climate change, the article predicts a very ominous date for extinction of the oceans: 2048. That's 34 years from now. Another number to add to our growing list.

posted by | 10:56:40 AM |
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