If you have been paying attention to environmental news lately you may have read or heard a little bit about this thing called ocean acidification. But what is ocean acidification and why is it such a big deal?
What is ocean acidification?
Ocean acidification, as the name suggests, is an increase in acidity of the world’s oceans which can be shown by a decrease in pH. This increase in acidity parallels an increase in CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere. This parallel increase occurs because CO2 stays balanced between the ocean and the atmosphere, so if the CO2 increases in the atmosphere, the ocean absorbs more CO2 to stay in equilibrium.
In the ocean, CO2 is also getting used up through a reaction with water and carbonate (a molecule that occurs naturally in the ocean) that creates bicarbonate and carbonic acid, both of which are acidic and decrease the pH of the ocean. Overall, this reaction causes an increase in acidity, a decrease in carbonate, and a decrease in CO2 in the ocean, which pulls more CO2 out of the atmosphere to maintain the CO2 balance. Find out more here.
What can you do to help? Get informed! Learn more about ocean acidification. Tell your friends! Tell your U.S. Senators or Representative that you are worried about the impacts of ocean acidification and that they should be too!
Read full article on marineconservationblog.blogspot.fr
- Scientists predict impact of ocean acidification on shellfish (sciencedaily.com)
- Most coral reefs are at risk unless climate change is drastically limited, study shows (sciencedaily.com)
- Ocean Acidification Thins Marine Creatures’ Shells and Could Disrupt Food Chains (scientificamerican.com)