Global research center on ocean acid launched
Ocean acidification may render some regions of oceans inhospitable to multiple types of marine life, including coral reefs and fish.
Mon, Jun 18, 2012 at 09:02 AM
Photo: ZUMA Press
VIENNA — The UN nuclear agency announced on June 18 the creation of a new center in Monaco to help coordinate international efforts to research and combat the serious environmental problem of ocean acidification.
"During the past five years, numerous multinational and national research projects on ocean acidification have emerged and significant research advances have been made," the International Atomic Energy Agency said,
"The time is now ripe to provide international coordination to gain the greatest value from national efforts and research investments," said Daud bin Mohamad, IAEA Deputy Director General for Nuclear Sciences and Applications.
The growing amounts of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere through human activity are being absorbed in the planet's oceans, increasing their acidity.
According to experts, ocean acidification may render most regions of the ocean inhospitable to coral reefs by 2050 if atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continue to increase, the IAEA said.
This could lead to substantial changes in commercial fish stocks, threatening food security for millions of people as well as the multi-billion-dollar fishing industry, it added.
The new center, due to be opened this summer, will be overseen by national and international bodies including the UN Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and leading scientists and economists in the field.
Copyright 2012 AFP Global Edition