Though heat itself may damage the Great Barrier Reef, higher levels of acidity due to raised temperatures will not increase coral bleaching. Too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere ends up absorbed in the surface of sea water. This raises acidity.
There is not a direct relationship between acidification and coral bleaching . However, the kinds of animal life present in an area will be changed by more acid conditions. The whole ecosystem of the reef will be altered forever. Both heat and more acidity will cause this.
Tests have been done with the national sea simulator which gives quite specific results. The Sea Sim is new technology. It is being given test runs at present. Acidification and heat together do not raise coral bleaching. This is a major finding. Scientists are now going down a new path.
The new premise came from a combined research program using the Sea Sim and hands on tests off the coast of Papua New Guinea; so coral itself is relatively safe, but the animal community that lives arounds them is under threat. Our grandchildren will not see the wonder of the world as we know it
◆ Chemistry by Ty Buchanan ◆