Acidification of the Oceans

Topics: Carbon dioxide, Ocean, Global warming Pages: 2 (524 words) Published: April 9, 2013
Ocean Acidification and its Effects on
Marine Butterflies and Coral Reefs

For millions of years, Earth's oceans have maintained a relatively stable acidity level. Research shows that a recent and rapid drop in surface pH that could have devastating global consequences through the unbalance the ocean’s acidity. 

Since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the early 1800s, fossil fuel-powered machines have created a burst of industry and machines. The consequence of this industrial revolution has been the emission of tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases into Earth's atmosphere. The rapid growth in the use of fossil fuels as a source of energy has increased the amount of global carbon dioxide emissions. Oceans absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere cause Ocean acidification. Scientists now know that the oceans have absorbed CO2 over time. This has benefited us by slowing the climate change. Nevertheless, new researches have found that the introduction of massive amounts of CO2 into the seas is altering water chemistry and affecting many marine organisms. 

For corals to grow in a healthy manner they require appropriate amounts of aragonite saturation, which will decrease globally due to ocean acidification. With today’s carbon dioxide concentrations, waters with less than adequate aragonite saturation surrounds about 60 percent of coral reefs, and if carbon dioxide concentrations increase more than 90 percent of coral reefs will be surrounded by such waters. Tropical coral reefs are constantly engaging in a battle to grow. This process is known as Bioerosion. Even the healthiest reefs are constantly trying to grow faster than they are being eroded. Coral reefs not only grow slower but are also less robust as produced skeletons are weaker. Consequently, coral reefs in higher acidic conditions may not be able to overcome the typical amount of destruction and may start to shrink. Millions of marine species depend on coral reefs...
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