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Ocean Acidification Chemistry

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James Hewlett

on 21 October 2013

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Transcript of Ocean Acidification Chemistry

Ocean Acidification Chemistry
Calcium Carbonate
Aragonite and Calcite are two "forms" of calcium carbonate
The Chemistry of Saturation
pH scale
Scale of 0-14
Neutral pH of 7
Acids: pH 0-7
Bases: pH 7-14
Stronger acids have lower pH
Log scale
pH value is actually an exponent of power of 10

Every pH unit change = 10x increase in hydrogen ion concentration

Ocean surface drop in 0.1 pH units = 30% increase in acidity
Predicting future states of the ocean
The impact of atmospheric carbon on ocean carbon chemistry
See-O-Too Problem

Biological Impacts
Carbonate Chemistry
Hydrogen ions "compete" with calcium
Growth below 3 is unlikely
Saturation states < 4 become suboptimal for growth of calcifiers
Calculating saturation
Calcium and Ksp are constants

Saturation state becomes proportional to the availability of carbonate ions
Marine Calcifiers
Many marine organisms (including hard corals) rely on this mineral to construct their shells and skeletons
Scanning electron micrograph of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi.
Calcium and carbonate ions are found dissolved in seawater
Lower pH means higher
Saturation is when the solution can hold no more

Supersaturation is when you push beyond saturation

Dependent on the properties of the solute (Ksp) and properties of the environment (ex. temperature, pressure)
Saturation state of aragonite
in the world's oceans
Studying future conditions
Volcanic carbon dioxide vents show ecosystem effects of ocean acidification
Dissolution below 2
Full transcript