WASHINGTON (AP) When it gets cold outside, the cold air inside of your house gets even colder.
That’s because of climate change.
Scientists are still struggling to understand exactly how the world’s oceans, land and air will respond to the warmer weather in the coming decades.
A new study from University of Florida researchers suggests that the warmer temperatures and longer growing seasons could make the oceans even more acidic than they already are, making the world more prone to coastal erosion.
The results, published Monday in the journal Science Advances, are significant because they reveal a more immediate threat to the environment than some scientists feared.
It’s a potentially disastrous change that could disrupt a major way humans interact with the planet.
“Climate change has a huge impact on the future of life on Earth, and it will be our greatest challenge to the survival of the species,” said Dr. Jonathan T. Miller, lead author and a scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The research looked at the oceanic acidity of the Great Lakes, a water source for the entire world.
In the decades ahead, warmer temperatures will mean the oceans will be more acidic, meaning they’ll be more likely to release toxic chemicals and microbes.
The ocean will also become more acidic in response to climate change, and more acidic will be associated with the increased acidity.
The researchers say this change will make the Great Lake’s surface more acidic.
“If the ocean gets warmer and the surface becomes more acidic it will lead to increased evaporation and it could increase the likelihood of ocean acidification and possibly the ocean acidifying at a faster rate,” Miller said.
The oceans are also more sensitive to climate changes because they’re constantly moving, meaning the ocean will absorb more heat.
This will also mean more of the water in the oceans is absorbing heat and making the water more acidic and alkaline.
“A warmer ocean means that the water will react to the climate more quickly,” Miller added.
“It also means that if the temperature changes, then the pH changes.”
While the oceans are a good indicator of ocean temperature, the study also found that they’re not always the best predictors of ocean temperatures.
The oceans also don’t get the heat from the sun because they are too close to land.
“The oceans do get a lot of the heat and nutrients from land, but they also get a significant amount of heat from space, so they are less sensitive to the influence of land-surface temperatures,” Miller explained.
The study also looked at how ocean acidity will change as the planet warms.
It found that the oceans’ pH would increase as the oceans become more alkaline, but it also shows that ocean acidities would be decreasing in response.
“We think the oceans have a very important role in keeping the climate habitable and that is changing with increasing acidity,” Miller told ABC News.
Miller said he hopes that understanding the effect of acidification on the oceans and the way that the climate responds to it will help predict how ocean ecosystems will adapt.
“It is an important part of understanding how the oceans work, and if we understand that better we can better manage the oceans in the future,” Miller concluded.
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