The Effects of Ocean Acidification

Ocean acidification

What Is Ocean acidification?

Ocean acidification refers to a reduction in the pH of the ocean over an extended period of time, caused primarily by uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere (US Department of Commerce, N.O.and A.A, 2012).

What Chemical Reactions Cause Ocean Acidification?

Anthropogenic factors such as industrial activity can impact the carbon cycle (carbon cycling) and result in greater exports of CO2 being released into the atmosphere (Hoegh-Guldberg, O., et al). Release of CO2 into the atmosphere is absorbed by the ocean. The absorption of CO2 makes the ocean more acidic due to a series of chemical reactions. When CO2 reacts with seawater hydrogen ions are released that reduce the amount of carbonate ions in the ocean (Hoegh-Guldberg, O., et al). The addition of the hydrogen ions into the ocean makes the ocean’s pH levels more acidic (Hoegh-Guldberg, O., et al). This has a variety of negative effects for oceanic organisms (Hoegh-Guldberg, O., et al).