Is The Greenhouse Effect Responsible For An Increase On Ocean Acidification?

Is The Greenhouse Effect Responsible For An Increase On Ocean Acidification?

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The Greenhouse Effect, an important natural occurrence maintains a suitable atmospheric temperature to sustain life. The sun emits radiation onto the Earth’s surface. The Earth releases this energy in the form of infra-red radiation, which Greenhouse Gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO₂) temporarily trap in their chemical bonds. The radiation trapped in these gases warm the Earth’s surface and keeps the atmosphere warmer than it would otherwise be. However; it’s believed that human activity has led to the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect. This investigation aims to answer the question: is the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect responsible for an increase in ocean acidification?

Increased human activity such as burning fossil fuels, deforestation and burning of coal has led to a higher than desired concentration of CO₂ in the atmosphere. The safe level of carbon dioxide is considered to be 350ppm and it is currently 401ppm and is increasing steadily . Ever since the Industrial Revolution, CO₂ emissions have been increasing at a rate never before seen and this has led to many undesirable and unprecedented effects on ecosystems. There is a scientific consensus that climate change is occurring, and that human activities are the primary driver. Recent research suggests increased CO₂ in the atmosphere has led to increased ocean acidification.

When more CO₂ is available in the atmosphere more can be taken up by the oceans. Over the past 300 million years ocean pH has remained relatively stable at 8.2, slightly alkaline, which is ideal for the organisms present in the ocean . However; since the Industrial Revolution, ocean pH has fallen to 8.1, which may not sound like a significant change, but represents a 25% increase in ocean acidity over a relativ...


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Increased ocean acidity is something that cannot be ignored. The increasing level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes more CO₂ to dissolve in the oceans, producing carbonic acid and leading to increased ocean acidity. This is predicted to have a range of negative consequences for marine ecosystems such as damaged coral reefs, decreased biodiversity and can have further knock on effects on other marine life as well as reducing the capacity of the ocean as a carbon storehouse. While there are still some sceptics who don’t believe in the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect and its consequences, most don’t have any scientifically backed evidence to support their arguments. It’s a pretty safe bet to say ocean acidification is a result of the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect and unless something is done to reduce carbon emissions ocean acidity will continue to increase.

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