Ocean acidification and blue economies

The pH of the surface ocean is decreasing worldwide as a result of anthropogenic carbon dioxide entering the surface ocean from the atmosphere; nearly 40% of the CO2 emitted to the atmosphere between 1800 and 2007 has been absorbed by the ocean. This consequent decrease in surface water pH is called “ocean acidification” and is a major threat to the blue economies of developing coastal nations and small islands. At particular risk are coral reefs, which serve as the basis for ecotourism and fisheries, and which provide protection from waves and resulting damage to property and loss of life. In addition, ocean acidification has been shown to negatively affect plankton, shellfish and other organisms that deposit carbonate structures. Ocean acidification is recognized by the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and specifically by Sustainable Development Goal 14 on “Life Under Water”, as a major challenge. Ocean science, both observations and research, can play a significant role in understanding the potential impacts of ocean acidification, as well as creating mitigation and adaptation approaches. This chapter will explain the causes and impacts of ocean acidification and will proceed to blue economy implications and the need for new ocean science.

Urban Jr. E. R. & Biswas H., 2022. Ocean acidification and blue economies. In: Urban Jr. E. R. & Ittekkot V. (Eds.), Blue Economy, pp 319-340. Singapore: Springer. Chapter (restricted access).

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