Ocean Acidification

Topics: Carbon dioxide, PH, Carbonic acid Pages: 2 (429 words) Published: October 4, 2010
Ocean Acidification
The main theme of the 3 articles is that the ocean is becoming more acidic due to fossil-fuel emission of CO2. The ocean has absorbed about 525 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, this reduces the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere (1). ). It is lowering the pH by .1 units changing it from 8.2 to 8.1… it is becoming more acidic. (2). It happens when the CO2 from the air mixes with the sea water, it produces a bicarbonate ion. This bicarbonate ion then produces increased protons in the water and reduces the amount of carbonate. The shellfish and coral that live in the ocean use this carbonate ion to produce their shells and protective outer coating. Since the carbonate is reduced, the shells of these animals becomes weak and leaves them open for prey and they are being attacked if not dying first. This will also have a global impact on commerce in the fishing industry and health of the human population because the fish we are eating is not healthy. The pH of a living organism, about 7.3, can only fluctuate a small fraction before the organism becomes at risk of dying because of denaturing proteins. This buffering system keeps the pH balanced in these organisms. The increased rate of the CO2 levels prevents the natural buffering system used by the sea water to flush excess CO2 and neutralize the acid (3). Because the change in pH levels is lowering at such an increased rate from 280ppm to 385ppm, organisms are not able to naturally balance and keep up with the increasing acidity. Not only is this lowering in pH affecting the shellfish but the animals that eat these animals and coral that depend on them as a food source. It all goes back to oil peaking in 2005 (4), we are on the downhill slope and we will see more and more species demolished each year at an increased rate including human populations that solely depend on fish as a livelihood. As this happens, the CO2 levels will decline and reduce the...
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