Study: Human Impact on Oceans 'profound'

WOODS HOLE, Mass., June 18 (UPI) — A U.S. study says human activities around the world are having a “profound impact” that is “fundamentally” altering the world’s oceans.

A marine geochemist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in a report in the journal Science, considered the total impact people have on the ocean and what the future might hold, an institution release said Thursday.

“What we do on land — agriculture, fossil fuel combustion and pollution — can have a profound impact on the chemistry of the sea,” Scott C. Doney said in the study.

Doney says climate change, increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide, excess nutrient inputs and the many forms of pollution are “altering fundamentally the … ocean, often on a global scale and, in some cases, at rates greatly exceeding those in the historical and recent geological record.”

He cited shifts in the chemistry of seawater, reduced oxygen levels, increasing coastal nitrogen levels and a widespread increase in mercury and other pollutants.

“Human impacts are not isolated to coastal waters,” Doney said. They “are seen around the globe.”

In his Science article, Doney urges “a deeper understanding of human impacts on ocean biogeochemistry.”

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