Ocean acidification is a closely linked consequence of increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, involving multiple changes in seawater chemistry. Observed long-term trends are superimposed on natural variability over a range of space and time scales. The future scale and impacts of ocean acidification depend on how rapidly CO2emissions can be reduced. Although the chemistry of ocean acidification is relatively well understood, effects on marine life, and subsequent socio-economic consequences, remain uncertain. The main biological knowledge gaps relate to genetic adaptation potential, interactions with other stressors (that may also be linked to climate change), and complex ecological interactions associated with competition, species interdependencies, and food webs. Societal impacts are likely to be greatest for human communities that are most reliant directly on marine bioresources, predominantly in coastal areas and small island states.
Williamson P. & Widdicombe S., 2017. The rise of CO2 and ocean acidification. Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences. Article (subscription required).