A new study, published in the latest edition of “Science”, has concluded that climate change has been driving rapid decadal acidification of the Arctic Ocean from 1994 to 2020.
Rapid loss of sea ice in the Arctic region over the past three decades has accelerated the rate of long-term acidification, a new study has found.
The scientists were shocked to observe that the Arctic Ocean is acidifying up to four times as fast as other oceans. They were equally ‘shocked’ by the rate of change as rapid sea-ice melt drives absorption of CO2 – with ‘huge implications’ for Arctic sea life
The Study, which has been published in the latest edition of “Science” on Thursday, September 28 has concluded that Climate change drives rapid decadal acidification of the Arctic Ocean from 1994 to 2020.
The study was conducted by researchers from the Polar and Marine Research Institute at Jimei University, China, and the School of Marine Science and Policy at the University of Delaware in the US.
They say the ocean, which absorbs a third of all of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, has grown more acidic because of fossil fuel use.
According to the Study, the rapid loss of sea ice in the Arctic region over the past three decades has accelerated the rate of long-term acidification.
Rapid sea-ice loss exposes seawater to the atmosphere, promoting the takeup of carbon dioxide at a faster rate than in the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Antarctic, and sub-Antarctic basins, it says.
“The Arctic is warming at a rate faster than any comparable region on Earth, with a consequently rapid loss of sea ice there. Qi et al. found that this sea ice loss is causing more uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide by surface water and driving rapid acidification of the western Arctic Ocean, at a rate three to four times higher than that of the other ocean basins.”, reads a statement put out by ‘Science’ on its website.
“They (authors of the study) attribute this finding to melt-driven addition of freshwater and the resulting changes in seawater chemistry”, it adds.
As per the study, rapid sea-ice loss exposes seawater to the atmosphere, promoting the takeup of carbon dioxide at a faster rate than in the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Antarctic, and sub-Antarctic basins.
The scientists and researchers were shocked to find out that the acidification in the Arctic was happening three to four times faster than in other oceans. When they compared data collected from the Arctic between 1994 and 2020 with ocean basins elsewhere, they found acidification was happening much faster in the Arctic.
Scientists have predicted that if the loss of sea ice continues in the Western Arctic, the acidification process would continue and may intensify in the future.
“Sea ice melt exposes seawater to the atmosphere and promotes rapid uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide, lowering its alkalinity and buffer capacity and thus leading to sharp declines in pH and saturation state of aragonite (Ωarag).
We predict a further decrease in pH, particularly at higher latitudes where sea ice retreat is active, whereas Arctic warming may counteract decreases in Ωarag in the future”, the statement quotes the authors of the study.