Oct. 16, 2012

Comprehending Carbon's Creation of Coral Catastrophe

by Neil Wagner

Click to enlarge images
I knew coral reefs were in trouble, but I didn't know it was THIS bad! The co-author of a recent study in the journal Nature Climate Change says that "the window of opportunity to preserve the majority of coral reefs, part of the world's natural heritage, is small."
 
Home to almost a quarter of Earth's ocean species, coral reefs offer important coastal protection and play an important role in the tourism and fishing industries for millions around the globe. Thanks to human-produced emissions of carbon dioxide, though, the world's oceans are getting warmer and (because oceans love to suck up CO2) more acidic.
 
But wait — there's more! A Stanford University biologist says hard-shelled sea-dwelling creatures that are threatened by the ocean's ongoing acidification might also now face additional pressure from other species. 
 
As is so often the case, climate change isn't content to cause one problem; climate change is an overachiever and strives to trigger a whole suite of problems. Personally, I think climate change should take a long, well-earned rest.

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About Neil Wagner

Neil Wagner's What on Earth? comic strip uses humor to discuss global warming.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

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