Ocean Acidification

Ocean acidification is the name given to the ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth's oceans, caused by the uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. About 30–40% of the carbon dioxide released by humans into the atmosphere dissolves into the oceans, rivers and lakes. To maintain chemical equilibrium, some of it reacts with the water to form carbonic acid. Some of these extra carbonic acid molecules react with a water molecule to give a bicarbonate ion and a hydronium ion, thus increasing the ocean's "acidity" (H+ ion concentration). Between 1751 and 1994 surface ocean pH is estimated to have decreased from approximately 8.25 to 8.14, representing an increase of almost 30% in H+ ion concentration in the world's oceans,

This increasing acidity is thought to have a range of direct undesirable consequences such as depressing metabolic rates in jumbo squid and depressing the immune responses of blue mussels. (These chemical reactions also happen in the atmosphere, and as about 20% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions are absorbed by the terrestrial biosphere, also in the ground soils between absorbed CO2 and soil moisture. Thus anthropogenic CO2 emissions to the atmosphere can increase the acidity of land, sea and air.)

Other chemical reactions are also triggered which result in an actual net decrease in the amount of carbonate ions available. In the oceans, this makes it more difficult for marine calcifying organisms, such as coral and some plankton, to form biogenic calcium carbonate, and existing such structures become vulnerable to dissolution. Thus, ongoing acidification of the oceans also poses a threat to the food chains connected with the oceans.

Ocean acidification, which like global climate change is driven by increased levels of carbon dioxide, has been regarded by climate scientists as the "equally evil twin" of global climate change.

Read more about Ocean AcidificationCarbon Cycle, Acidification, Calcification, Gallery

Other articles related to "ocean acidification, ocean, oceans":

Ove Hoegh-Guldberg (biologist) - Selected Publications
... Hoegh-Guldberg, O (2010) Paleo-perspectives on ocean acidification ... O (2010) Dangerous shifts in ocean ecosystem function? ISME Journal 4, 1090-1092, ISME Nature group, doi10.1038/ismej.2010.107 ... DI, Diaz-Pulido G, Dove S, Hoegh-Guldberg O (2008) Ocean acidification causes bleaching and productivity loss in coral reef builders ...
Marine Pollution - Types of Pollution - Acidification
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Southeast Asian Coral Reefs - Ocean Acidification
... One of the largest potential threats of ocean acidification to marine invertebrates is the corrosive properties of undersaturated waters with respect to calcium carbonate skeletons/shells, and ... Ocean acidification is a lowered pH of ocean waters caused by increased carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, which results in more CO2 dissolving into the ocean ... red algae and calcifying green algae are extremely sensitive to ocean acidification because they build their hard structures out of calcium carbonate ...
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... To help combat ocean acidification, some laws are in place to reduce greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide ... on state government agencies to monitor and limit runoff of pollutants that can cause ocean acidification ... of carbon stored in the soil, which then flows into the ocean, contributing to ocean acidification ...

Famous quotes containing the word ocean:

    To the Ocean now I fly,
    And those happy climes that ly
    Where day never shuts his eye,
    Up in the broad fields of the sky:
    John Milton (1608–1674)