Ocean acidification

The oceans take up CO2 from the atmosphere and are responsible for absorbing around a third of the CO2 emitted by fossil fuel burning, deforestation, and cement production since the industrial revolution (Sabine et al. 2004). While this is beneficial in terms of limiting the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentrations and hence greenhouse warming due to this CO2, there are direct consequences for ocean chemistry. Ocean acidification describes the lowering of seawater pH and carbonate saturation that result from increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations. There are also indirect and potentially adverse biological and ecological consequences of the chemical changes taking place in the ocean now and as projected into the future.

Barker S. & Ridgwell A., 2012. Ocean acidification. Nature Education Knowledge 3(3):3. Full article.


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