The acid test

Scientists refer to ocean acidification as the other carbon problem.  The first, of course, is global warming.

People have heard about global warming for decades, but it’s only over the past five years that experts really understood that the carbon dioxide is causing a problem for the oceans as well.

When we burn coal, oil, and gas, we introduce carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, but the atmosphere touches the ocean over 70 percent of Earth’s surface, so this carbon dioxide we’re putting into the atmosphere we are also putting into the ocean.

What happens when so much carbon dioxide, 22 millions tons of it each day, mixes with ocean water?  In terms of chemistry, the answer is simple: it becomes an acid.

Since the industrial revolution, the ocean acidity has increased by 30. If we continue to pollute as we are right now, the ocean acidity will double by the end of the century compared to pre-industrial times. That’s a big problem.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Resource.

Resource type: film

Resource format: video

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