What is Ocean Acidification?

Aug 02 2011

Ocean acidification is the process by which the ocean’s chemistry, due to an increase in CO2 absorption from the atmosphere, is becoming more acidic.  The rise in CO2 is a result of industrial and agricultural activities.  In fact, since the beginning of the industrial revolution the pH level of the ocean surface has dropped by 0.1 pH units.  This is a problem because increased acidity in the environment would have “a dramatic effect on some calcifying species, including oysters, clams, sea urchins, shallow water corals, deep sea corals, and calcareous plankton.”  The loss of these species could result in a break down of the entire food web.  For those who think that this will not affect humans, keep in mind that billions of people rely on the ocean’s ecosystems both economically and as a source of food.  Learn more about ocean acidification from the NOAA Carbon Program.

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