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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Coral Reefs at the brink of extinction due to climate change

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Coral Reef- a portion
The survival of major coral reefs in some oceans of the world is at risk due to climate change –say the scientists across the globe. Acidification is the sister problem emerged out of the climate change which is caused due to dissolution of excess carbon dioxide in the ocean water.

Since the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is going on increasing manifold due to excessive burning of fossil fuels like coal, petroleum and natural gas, and due to some other serious activities of human beings, excessive dissolution of acid forming gas at the ocean surface is causing acidification of the marine waters. This incident is creating fresh threats against the survival of many species of sea animals especially the mollusks due to dissolution of their shells in the acidic water. The acidic marine water is equally harmful for the coral reefs as they too contain huge amounts of calcium carbonate.

Carbon dioxide, on the other hand is a major heat trapping gas, it is causing considerable rise in the global temperature which is changing the weather pattern of the globe – a phenomenon called as Global Warming or in other words, the Climate Change.Scientists across the globe expect that the atmospheric carbon dioxide level may reach 450 ppm up to 2050. At this level the waters of oceans may become acidic up to serious levels to push the coral reefs and the Great Barrier Reef towards extinction – report scientists.

So far the leaders of the world community have not taken this case seriously. On the other hand it has reported that emission of excessive amounts of methane gas is further aggravating the problem by contributing to the rise in the global temperature. Great amounts of methane are being released out from the paddy fields in the rain-fed or water logged areas. The rising temperature of the marine water due to global warming and the resultant climate change will reduce the oxygen levels in it which will finally result into the suffocation of marine fauna.

If appropriate steps are not taken up immediately, the climate change is sure to destroy most of the marine flora and fauna during the coming decades. The rising sea level and the submergence of coastal areas in many parts of the world including the Satbhaya Village cluster in the Orissa state of India in an ongoing tragedy associated with the climate change.

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