Ocean acidification

The oceans play a central role in the maintenance of life on Earth. Oceans provide extensive ecosystems for marine animals and plants covering two-thirds of the Earth’s surface, are essential sources of food, economic activity, and biodiversity, and are central to the global biogeochemical cycles. The oceans are the largest reservoir of carbon in the Planet, and absorb approximately one-third of the carbon emissions that are released to the Earth’s atmosphere as a result of human activities. Since the beginning of industrialization, humans have been responsible for the increase in one greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide (CO2), from approximately 280 parts per million (ppm) at the end of the nineteenth century to the current levels of 390ppm. As well as affecting the surface ocean pH, and the organisms living at the ocean surface, these increases in CO2 are causing global mean surface temperatures to rise.

Iglesias-Rodriguez M. D., 2013. Ocean acidification. In: Orcutt J. (ed.), Earth System Monitoring, pp 269-289. New York: Springer. Book chapter (subscription required).


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