Ocean acidification is defined as “…the perturbation to the ocean carbonate system directly caused by ocean uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to the atmosphere.” (Turley) Overtime, our oceans have become more acidic due to rapidly evolving technology and a growing dependence on fossil fuel. In fact, our “oceans have become 26% more acidic since the start of the Industrial Revolution.” (Cullinane) Unfortunately, this acidity continues to rise and “…the pH of surface oceans…is projected to drop another 0.3–0.4 pH units by the end of this century, [which] has not occurred for more than 20 million years of Earth's history.” (Guinotte) Why our oceans today so acidic and what can we to control these pH levels?
The California coast is a thriving ecosystem, both beneath the sea and in the cities that line its shore. For the purposes of our discussion, we will focus on mussels as an example species. Mussels, as we speak are being harmed by ocean acidification, and the damage is becoming more and more costly to our ecosystem.
What is Ocean Acidification?
is the ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth's oceans, caused by the uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere
What could happen if pH lowers in the world’s oceans?
First, the pH of seawater water gets lower as it becomes more acidic.
Acidification and the Ocean’s Changing Climate ( 600-700)
The sole reason for the change in atmospheric temperature can be attributed to Carbon Dioxide emissions. Ocean acidification has occurred due to chemical changes in oceans. Highly concentrated carbonic acid is the product formed due to CO2 entering into the oceans and reacting with water.
Oceans on Acidification
Scott Doney, in 2007 mentioned that ocean life was facing an almost unprecedented environmental challenge.
As the climate continues to experience increased concentrations of greenhouse gases resulting in higher temperatures, many ecosystems are impacted globally. The raising temperature is predicted to increase precipitation along the equator the most, while temperature spikes will be the greatest at the northern and southern tips of the world. Two critical variables linking freshwater fish to climate are annual water temperature and annual rate of discharge.
Ocean acidification degrades coral reefs which are composed of organism that secrete hard calcium carbonate, so marine mollusks would likely also be at risk of shell softening and malformation. Anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide are leading to decreases in pH and changes in the carbon chemistry of seawater (Bressan et.al 2014). OA is altering the chemistry of the world's oceans at rates unparalleled in the past roughly 1 million years (Waldbusser et.al 2015). Ocean acidification represents a major threat to marine organisms, specifically mollusks that produce calcareous structures while also influencing their physiological responses and growth (Bressan et.al 2014) (Milano et.al 2016). Understanding the impacts of this rapid change in
During the 20th century both air and sea temperature has increased and causing several problems. The increase in temperature has caused damages to our eco system. In some countries temperature has increased by a few degrees. In winter, in places where it was cold, now the temperatures has increased and even the sea temperatures have increased, which is melting the Iceberg and destroying the marine life. Scientists projected that if emissions of heat-trapping carbon emission aren’t reduced, average surface temperature could increased 3 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit by the end the century. A good example is that in some Europeans countries the...
Since the 18th century Industrial Revolution, approximately 1.6 trillion tons of carbon dioxide have been added to the atmosphere through the combustion of fossil fuels and deforestation (Harrould-Kolieb and Herr 378). The world’s oceans have absorbed approximately 30% of that carbon dioxide. This absorption has been beneficial in keeping that 30% out of the atmosphere, where it causes Climate Change, but it has a negative impact on water quality. When carbon dioxide reacts with water, it forms carbonic acid. In the oceans, carbonic acid releases hydrogen ions which increase the acidity of the water. Because of human action, the acidity of the ocean has risen 30% since pre-industrial times and by 2050 ocean acidity is projected to be the highest in 20 million years (Harrould-Kolieb and Herr 379).
My topic of choice is ocean acidification this topic became of interest to me when I overheard chemistry professor, Dr. Hampton ask incoming freshman what the pH of the ocean was. I immediately saved “ocean acidification with rising carbon dioxide levels” as a note in my phone as a reminder to research it later. Much to my dismay, a month later I would be enrolled in a capstone class that covers the answer to this question. Ocean Acidification is simple to understand. All the carbon dioxide humans release in the atmosphere gets taken up by the atmosphere and dissolves in the ocean which then causes the pH of the ocean to lower. According to Bennett of NOAA, “Even though the ocean is immense, enough carbon dioxide can have a major impact. In
As a result, the oceans are warmer, which, in turn, results in melted arctic ice and retreating glaciers (“Global Climate Change”). For instance, both Greenland and Antarctica’s “ice sheets have decreased in mass” (“Global Climate Change”). Greenland lost about thirty-six to sixty miles between 2002 and 2006 (Global Climate Change), which is equal to about 480 to 960 football fields, while Antarctica lost about thirty-six miles. This large loss of ice resulted in an increase of sea levels—a level that is about seven inches higher than that of the last century (Global Climate Change). Rising sea levels and a loss of ice affect both people and animals. A higher sea level means that “some low-lying areas will have more frequent flooding, and very low-lying land could be submerged completely” (“Rising Sea Level”). Moreover, the melting of arctic ice has forced “polar bears, whales, [walruses], and seals [to change] their feeding and migration patterns, making it harder for native people to hunt them” (“Global Warming Puts the Arctic on Thin Ice”). Additionally, the ocean has acidified by thirty percent, a result of humans emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (“Global Climate Change”). Ocean acidification has deleterious effects on marine