IPCC: High confidence that oceans are souring

The bulk of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s new synopsis of climate science, unveiled Friday, focused on rapid changes in climate, expected rises in global temperatures and the panel’s overwhelming confidence that humans are behind it all.

But the release by the international coalition of thousands of scientists also confirmed the panel was highly confident that ocean chemistry had changed dramatically since the industrial revolution — and that it would continue to do so to varying degrees under future carbon-dioxide emissions scenarios.

The report, a 36-page summary of a more exhaustive review of climate science set to be released next week, is the fifth such assessment since 1990.

It made clear that while global average temperatures may not rise consistently year over year, ocean acidification just keeps getting worse. As more CO2 gets absorbed by the sea, the pH of marine water continues to fall.

And the summary pointed out that many proposed engineering fixes designed to combat climate change — so-called geoengineering ideas designed to affect solar radiation — would do nothing at all to reduce ocean acidification, an issue we plan to explore in more detail in future stories.




The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►