Oceans’ acidity rate is soaring, claims study

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The rate at which the oceans are becoming more acidic is greater today than at any time in tens of millions of years, according to a new study.

Rapidly rising concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere mean that the rate of ocean acidification is the fastest since the age of the dinosaurs, which became extinct 65m years ago, scientists believe.

The oceans are likely to become so acidic in coming centuries that they will become uninhabitable for vast swathes of life, especially the little-studied organisms on the deep-sea floor which are a vital link in the marine food chain.

Scientists have concluded, in a study published today in the journal Nature Geoscience, that the current rate of ocean acidification is up to 10 times faster than 55m years ago