Washington, DC – Carbon dioxide is raising the ocean’s acidity levels at a much higher rate than previously thought, according to a recently published study.
This acidity is having a negative effect on the health of shellfish.
Researchers sampled waters off the northwest Pacific United States coast every half-hour for eight years.
The results, researchers wrote in the journal PNAS, suggests earlier climate change models have significantly underestimated the rate of ocean acidification, the BBC reported.
One of the researchers, Timothy Wooten of the University of Chicago’s department of ecology and evolution, said scientists had previously overestimated the ocean’s ability to absorb large quantities of CO2.
“The acidity increased more than 10 times faster than had been predicted by climate change models and other studies,” Wooten wrote.
These levels could be adversely impacting sea life, particularly coral and shellfish.
“Therefore, the increased acidity of the ocean could interfere with many critical ocean processes such as coral reef building or shellfish harvesting,” wrote Carol Pfister, an associate professor at the University of Chicago, and one of the study’s co-authors.