In May 2013 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the USA reported that the atmospheric concentration of CO2 at one of their recording stations topped 400 ppm for the first time. The media surrounding this event seems to have been very much based around the event itself with little comment on what it may mean.
We can be moderately confident of one thing however – increased CO2 in the atmosphere means that more will dissolve into the ocean, which means an increase in ocean acidification (this is classical chemistry!). Despite the recent efforts of some of the worlds best scientists, both here in Australia and overseas, we still have an incomplete picture of the likely biological and ecological effects of this ocean acidification. Unfortunately, as we enter a time of uncertainty for science funding in Australia, we may not develop this understanding until it’s too late.