Research oceanographer Jessica Cross talks ocean acidification—and what we can do to help

The conversation around carbon emissions often finds us looking up. But what of our oceans?

Greenhouse gases take just as immense a toll on our planet’s waters as on the atmosphere—and Dr. Jessica Cross, a research oceanographer with the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Seattle, WA, has long been studying the effects. The term you need to know? Ocean acidification.

What Is Ocean Acidification?

The ocean absorbs about 30% of the carbon emitted into the atmosphere. Once in the water, said carbon dissolves, undergoes a series of chemical reactions, and lowers the pH of the ocean—a process known as ocean acidification.

According to Cross, that cascade of chemical reactions affects the ocean twofold, creating more hydrogen molecules (the “acidification” part) and a reduction of carbonate ions. The result is a climate-driven threat to marine life and ocean ecosystems as a whole.

Calin Van Paris, Brightly, 23 November 2023. Full article.

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