The Arabian Sea, cradling a diversity of marine habitats including coral reefs, is witnessing acidification of its surface waters, a consequence of excessive carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, say Indian scientists.
Using remote sensing, researchers 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 was to monitor the status of two important regions of the Indian Ocean: the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal.
Arabian Sea, encompassing the northwestern sector of the Indian Ocean, covers a total area of around 3,862,000 sq. km. It is enclosed in the north by Iran and Pakistan, to the west by the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula and to the east by the Indian Peninsula.
The world’s oceans are alkaline, with a pH factor a little over 7. Anything below that number makes the water less alkaline and more acidic. Pure water is neither alkaline nor acidic.
“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.