Ocean acidification has impacts other than simple changes in pH, and these may need boundaries too.
In their definition of planetary boundaries that humans should not transgress for fear of “deleterious or even catastrophic consequences for large parts of the world’s inhabitants”, Rockström et al. (Nature 461, 472–475; 2009) consider ocean acidification as an essential part of the equation. This may be true whether we consider “inhabitants” to be all life or only humans, for the ocean and its resources are deeply embedded in human culture. But the authors’ suggested boundary, based on aragonite saturation — a measure of the extent to which seawater is saturated with the carbonate mineral — needs careful examination.
Continue reading ‘Planetary boundaries: Consider all consequences’