Ocean acidification: Emergence from pre-industrial conditions

The ocean is a giant buffering system: heat and gases are exchanged at the air–ocean interface, helping to regulate Earth’s climate. One-third of all anthropogenic CO2 released to the atmosphere has been soaked up by the oceans, significantly mitigating the climate impacts of increasing anthropogenic emissions. This service, however, comes at a cost: the increased CO2 uptake has resulted in shifts in seawater chemistry. Acidity has increased and the saturation state of carbonate minerals — the building blocks for the shells of marine organisms — has decreased. The impacts of this effect, known as ocean acidification, include shell dissolution in marine organisms and alteration of food webs, as well as other potential ecosystem-level changes that are not yet fully understood. (…)

Tynan E., 2016. Ocean acidification: Emergence from pre-industrial conditions. Nature Geoscience 9:804. Article (subscription required).

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