An overview upon CO₂ – possible source of ocean acidification

The interest upon CO₂ concentrations introduced in the atmosphere by human activities enhances year after year because of the consequences on the atmosphere, land and oceans. Many studies showed that changes in the ocean carbon cycle are due to the absorption of anthropogenic CO₂ from the atmosphere. The increase of CO₂ has been correlated with the pH falling of seawaters, promoting a critical process known as acidification. Ocean acidification could modify many biochemical cycles and functioning of marine organisms. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the chemistry behaviour of CO₂ on seawaters. Once dissolved in seawater, CO₂ reacts with water to form carbonic acid (H₂CO₃). Ocean stores CO₂ as dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) which remains in the form of dissolved CO₂ and H₂CO₃, while the rest is in the form of HCO₃⁻ and CO₃²⁻. Adding CO₂ to seawater, thus increase HCO₃⁻ that bring about a decrease in ocean water pH by increasing H+ concentration.

Apetroaei G. M., Apetroaei M. R. & Chiotoroiu B. C., 2016. An overview upon CO₂ – possible source of ocean acidification. Constanta Maritime University Annals 25:17-22. Article (subscription required).

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OA-ICC HIGHLIGHTS

Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book