Ocean Acidity Sky-Rockets, 96% of Marine Life Went EXTINCT the Last Time This Happened

The Last Time Oceans Got This Acidic This Fast  Marine Life Went Extinct

The Last Time Oceans Got This Acidic This Fast, 96% of Marine Life Went Extinct

The biggest extinction event in planetary history was driven by the rapid acidification of our oceans, a new study concl​udes. So much carbon was released into the atmosphere, and the oceans absorbed so much of it so quickly, that marine life simply died off, from the bottom of the food chain up.

That doesn’t bode well for the present, given the disturbingly similar rate that our seas are acidifying right now. Parts of the Pacific, for instance, are already so acidic that sea snails’ shells begin dissolving as soon as they’re born.

The biggest die-off in history, the Permian Extinction event, aka the Great Dying, extinguished over 90 percent of the planet’s species—and 96 percent of marine species.

A lot of theories have been put forward about why and how, exactly, the vast majority of Earth life went belly up 252 million years ago, but the new study, published in Science, offers some compelling evidence acidification was a key driver.

A team led by University of Edinburgh researchers collected rocks in the United Arab Emirates that were on the seafloor hundreds of millions of years ago, and used the boron isotopes found within to model the changing levels of acidification in our prehistoric oceans. Through this “combined geochemical, geological, and modeling approach,” the scientists say, they were able to accurately model the series of “perturbations” that unfolded in the era.

They now believe that a series of gigantic volcanic eruptions in the Siberian Trap spewed a great fountain of carbon into the atmosphere over a period of tens of thousands of years. This was the first phase of the extinction event, in which terrestrial life began to die out.

The study explains that the second phase of the event happened much more quickly. “During the second extinction pulse, however, a rapid and large injection of carbon caused an abrupt acidification event that drove the preferential loss of heavily calcified marine biota,” the authors write.

So does this study mean we should be especially worried about the phenomenon taking hold today? 

“Yes,” said Dr. Rachel Wood, a professor of carbonate geoscience at the University of Edinburgh and one of the paper’s authors.

See also: Threat of Ocean Acidification to US Coasts

“We are concerned about modern ocean acidification,” she told me in an email. “Although the amount of carbon added to the atmosphere that triggered the mass extinction was probably greater than today’s fossil fuel reserves, the rate at which the carbon was released was at a rate similar to modern emissions.” 

In other words, the Siberian Traps probably spewed out more carbon in total, but we’re spewing out just as fast. And that’s overwhelming the planetary equilibrium.

“This fast rate of release was a critical factor driving ocean acidification,” Wood said.

Why?

“The rate of release is critical because the oceans absorb a lot of the carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, around 30 percent of the carbon dioxide released by humans,” Wood said. “To achieve chemical equilibrium, some of this CO2 reacts with the water to form carbonic acid. Some of these molecules react with a water molecule to give a bicarbonate ion and a hydronium ion, thus increasing ocean ‘acidity’ (H+ ion concentration).”

Marine animals whose skeletons are comprised of calcium carbonate—and that’s a lot of them (think snails, coral), which form a crucial part of the food chain—dissolved or couldn’t form in the first place. And that is what’s happening today.

“Between 1751 and 1994, surface ocean pH is estimated to have decreased from approximately 8.25 to 8.14, representing an increase of almost 30 percent in H+ ion concentration in the world’s oceans,” Wood said.

That’s a major uptick in ocean acidity in a relatively short amount of time, and it’s happening because humans have burned fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas with reckless abandon since the Industrial Revolution. That’s fueling climate change, of course, as well as its less-discussed, but potentially equally cataclysmic sibling, ocean acidification.

“Scientists have long suspected that an ocean acidification event occurred during the greatest mass extinction of all time, but direct evidence has been lacking until now,” study coordinator Dr. Matthew Clarkson said in a statement. “This is a worrying finding, considering that we can already see an increase in ocean acidity today that is the result of human carbon emissions.”

Much of marine life is already in grave danger from acidification. It’s contributing to the bleaching of coral reefs around the world, and, as mentioned before, it’s killing sea snails in the Pacific. If it worsens, acidification could threaten the whole of the marine biosphere, and, obviously, the land-dwelling creatures that depend on it too.

In 2013, marine scientists released a “State of the Oceans” report that found that the rate of current acidification was “unprecedented.” They noted that the seas were acidifying faster than any point in the last 300 million years. That study didn’t take into account the new data, of course, but that’s the timeline we’re dealing with: The last time the oceans were so acidic was in the midst of the greatest extinction in the history of the world.

Find us here

Get news from the CSGLOBE in your inbox each weekday morning

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors/source and do not necessarily reflect the position of CSGLOBE or its staff.

Paid content

France Declares All New Rooftops Must Be Topped With Plants Or Solar Panels

A new law recently passed in France mandates that all new buildings that are built in commercial zones in France must be partially covered in...

Bill Gates Admits to Chemtrails

Bill Gates backs climate scientists lobbying for large-scale geoengineering ( Chemtrails ) Geo-engineers are finally coming out of the “chemtrail” closet, as reports are now...

What If Animals treated us how we treat them?

These powerful cartoons of animal/human role reversal may make you cringe a little when you consider yourself in the same position. Hopefully next time you...

What's New Today

FBI ‘Mistakenly’ Releases 9/11 Bombshell In Court: Key Saudi Diplomat Who “Tasked” Hijackers Named

It’s being called “a complete government cover-up of the Saudi involvement” according to 9/11 victims’ families who...

Racial wounds rip open under a president with a history of exploiting them

President Donald Trump has spent much of his adult life building his brand around racial divisions.

Bill Gates is the top target for coronavirus conspiracy theories

Bill Gates has been one of the most outspoken public figures about the coronavirus pandemic. But the...

China Is Turning The Rainforest Into Cheap Furniture For The U.S.

Driven by American demand for cheap furniture, China has become the greatest importer of illegal timber. The...

MOST READ

Putin has Banned Rothschild and His New World Order Banking Cartel Family from Entering Russian Territory

As of recently, Russian president Vladimir Putin took yet another decision for his country. "Under any circumstances", the Rothschild family is banned from entering Russian territory. Along...

Rothschild Bank Now Under Criminal Investigation After Baron David De Rothschild Indictment

Last year, Baron David de Rothschild was indicted by the French government after he was accused of fraud in a scheme that allegedly embezzled...

What Is Agenda 21? Depopulation of 95% of the World By 2030

Most people are unaware that one of the greatest threats to their freedom may be a United Nations program which plans to depopulate 95%...

France Declares All New Rooftops Must Be Topped With Plants Or Solar Panels

A new law recently passed in France mandates that all new buildings that are built in commercial zones in France must be partially covered in...

This Indian Man Planted an Entire Forest by Hand

The man who made a forest If all people decided to take action every time an injustice was witnessed, there would never be any need...

The Planet’s Most Dangerous Predator Is Us

Humans are the world's top predator. The way we fulfill this role is often mired in controversy, from factory farming to trophy hunting to...

Top 18 houseplants for purifying the air you breathe, according to NASA

Houseplants do wonders for a house: they breathe new life to a room, add a bright pop of color, and purify the air. Not all...

Do We Come From Mars? – A Kid’s Reincarnation Might Give Us Proof

Dreaming about past life is not, in fact, something we only hear about now. Talks about reincarnation have been going for as long as we...

Homeless People Plant a Rooftop Organic Garden, Help Feed an Entire Shelter

Atlanta, GA — Public attention recently turned to an organic garden in Atlanta that is designed to feed displaced people healthy food and establish...

How Is Capitalism Like A Religion?

How capitalism functions like a religion Capitalism is not a religion, but there are two broad ways in which it is like a religion. 1. In the ways...

The Nazi Bell – Was it a wormhole machine?

The Nazi Bell, Wunderwaffe or Wormhole Machine? Nazi Germany was working on several top-secret projects during World War II, one in particular has been dubbed...