Climate change: stressor on marine buffer system

Oceans are natural carbonate buffer systems and work as a carbon sink in the environment which is much larger than the atmospheric and terrestrial carbon content. The global carbon cycle is maintained by the continuous gaseous exchange during photosynthesis and respiration. The atmospheric CO2 also gets dissolved into the ocean water and forms weak carbonic acid. Thus, ocean water is a mixture of various numerous weak acids and bases and stays in contact with the atmosphere and other minerals as sediments. All of them together make the ocean an excellent buffer for neutralizing small changes in its composition. But the recent increase in industrialization and anthropogenic activities are causing the increase in atmospheric CO2 and climate change. More atmospheric CO2 is being dissolved in ocean water and carbon is being released from oceanic carbon sink making the ocean more acidic. Since industrialization, ocean water pH has dropped by 0.1 unit which indicated approximately a 30% increase in hydrogen ion concentration and 16% decrease in carbonate ion concentration relative to the preindustrial value. As a result of ocean acidification, there are devastating effects on ocean biota. An increase in sea surface temperature and deoxygenation are other climate change-related stressors on the ocean system.

Jana S. & Mondal S., 2022. Climate change: stressor on marine buffer system. In: Sinha A., Kumar S. & Kumari K. (Eds), Outlook of climate change and fish nutrition. Singapore: Singer. Chapter (restricted access).

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