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Sunday, September 7, 2008
~ Sunday, September 07, 2008 ~
Ocean acidification

Main article: Ocean acidification

The decreasing ocean surface pH is of increasing long-term concern for coral reefs.[20] Increased atmospheric CO2 increases the amount of CO2 dissolved in the oceans.[21] Carbon dioxide gas dissolved in the ocean reacts with water to form carbonic acid, resulting in ocean acidification. Ocean surface pH is estimated to have decreased from approximately 8.25 to 8.14 since the beginning of the industrial era,[22] and it is estimated that it will drop by a further 0.3 - 0.4 units by 2100 as the ocean absorbs more anthropogenic CO2.[23] Under normal conditions, the conditions for calcium carbonate production are stable in surface waters since the carbonate ion is at supersaturating concentrations. However, as ocean pH falls, so does the concentration of this ion, and when carbonate becomes under-saturated, structures made of calcium carbonate are vulnerable to dissolution. Research has already found that corals experience reduced calcification or enhanced dissolution when exposed to elevated CO2.[24]

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