In a depressing new report, scientists from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme say that even if we stopped polluting the atmosphere right now, that the damage to the Arctic Ocean has already been done. The Arctic seas are rapidly acidifying thanks to years of pollution.
“We have already passed critical thresholds. Even if we stop emissions now, acidification will last tens of thousands of years. It is a very big experiment," the report’s chairman, Richard Bellerby from the Norwegian Institute for Water Research, told BBC News.
There is "huge uncertainty" over how exactly the changes will affect marine life. The news isn't bad for all species, however.
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In fact, "it is likely that some marine organisms will respond positively to new conditions associated with ocean acidification, while others will be disadvantaged, possibly to the point of local extinction," the report says.
Yet, overall, ocean acidification is likely to be another unpleasant complication caused by global warming. When it comes to humans, industrial fishing, tourism and the lifestyles of indigenous peoples could suffer from the acidification, Phys.org reported.
"Uncertainty is not an excuse for inaction," Sam Dupont of Sweden's Gothenburg University told Phys.org.
Meanwhile, Agence France-Presse has demonstrated how ocean acidification happens in an animated infographic. Watch the video below: