From heat waves to severe storms and wildfires, the effects of climate change are visible all around us — and new research suggests that the impact of a warming world extends all the way to the bottom of the ocean.
A study published Oct. 29 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that high levels of carbon dioxide — the heat-trapping greenhouse gas that is a key contributor to Earth’s warming climate — have made parts of the North Atlantic Ocean and the Southern Ocean so acidic that the chalky white mineral that makes up the seafloor is dissolving.
No one ventured to the seafloor to conduct the study. Instead, researchers led by Olivier Sulpis, a graduate student at McGill University in Montreal, simulated seafloor conditions in a laboratory. The simulations showed that the mineral, a form of calcium carbonate known as calcite, is being replaced by murky brown sediments.