India: According to a study conducted by Indian scientists, climate change is posing a serious threat to the marine habitats of Arabian Sea. The researchers say, marine habitats including coral reefs, are witnessing acidification of its surface waters, which is a consequence of excessive carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Using remote sensing technology, scientists collected and analysed data spanning ten years with the focus on five parameters that directly correlate with carbon condition of the ocean surface. The idea of the research was to monitor the status of two important regions of the Indian Ocean: the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal.
"One of the parameters is particulate inorganic carbon (PIC). We noted a decreasing trend of PIC over the last decade, which is linked to the decrease in abundance of phytoplanktons, microscopic organisms that form the base of the food chain in aquatic ecosystems," said Sugata Hazra, professor, School of Oceanographic Studies, Jadavpur University.
"This might be due to over-accumulation of carbon dioxide," said Abhra Chanda, of the varsity's School of Oceanographic Studies and one of the authors of the study.
"In this study we have also taken into account the Andaman Sea lying adjacent to Bay of Bengal," said Chanda. Oceans act as a huge carbon sink and absorb at least a quarter of the carbon dioxide emissions from coal, oil and gas. As carbon dioxide dissolves, the sea water becomes acidic.
And even though the water bodies are immense, ocean acidification can have a significant impact on marine life – especially the ones that build their skeletons and shells from calcium – over the years, scientists warn.
"When the water becomes acidic, calcium carbonate coatings secreted by the phytoplanktons breaks down. As the water gets more corrosive, the shells tend to dissolve more readily and the formation of shells is also affected," noted Chanda, describing the two major impacts on these tiny organisms.
Source: New Kerala