Carbon dioxide and the ocean

VIRGINIA KEY, FLA. (February 28, 2007) -- The buildup of greenhouse gases in Earths atmosphere and oceans continues to provoke changes in the natural environment that scientists have been working to measure for decades. Global increases in temperature are just one facet of a much larger issue that scientists at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science are dedicated to uncovering. "The Marine Inorganic Carbon Cycle," a paper recently published in the journal Chemical Reviews, attempts to quantify over 60 years of research, reviewing a vast array of science that brings into question the Earths natural ability to rebound from the increase in inorganic carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and oceans.

Dr. Frank Millero, professor of marine and atmospheric chemistry at the Rosenstiel School and author of the study, has compiled a complete review of the carbon dioxide system ranging from the potential outcomes of the increase in dissolved inorganic carbon dioxide in the oceans, to the increase in hurricane intensity scientists feel may occur over the next hundred years. The paper aims to consolidate research that has addressed how carbon dioxide emissions since the industrial revolution have dramatically changed natural patterns in atmospheric and oceanic ecosystems.

"This paper is really a broad look at where scientific research is going in the future and where we need to invest more time and energy," Millero said. "With oceanic and atmospheric carbon dioxide being the highest it has ever been in over 600,000 years, scientists are going to be looking at a lot of damage to natural food webs, coral dissolution, and widespread species extinction in the future."

Carbon dioxide, the gas most responsible for the Earths increase in average global temperature, and most associated with anthropogenic disturbances, will affect natures ability to sustain life both above and below the waves. Millero points out that the gradual acidification

Contact: Ivy Kupec
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

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