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Ocean Acidification

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by

Taylor Leonard

on 20 May 2013

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Transcript of Ocean Acidification

Background photo by t.shigesa AFFECT: SOLUTION: OCEAN ACIDIFICATION About 30–40% of the carbon dioxide released by humans into the atmosphere dissolves into the oceans, rivers and lakes. WHAT IS OCEAN ACIDIFICATION?
Ocean Acidification is the continuous decrease in the pH level of Earths ocean, caused by the increase of human impact or impact of carbon dioxide.
To help maintain chemical equilibrium (In a chemical reaction, chemical equilibrium is the state in which both reactants and products are present at concentrations which have no further tendency to change with time), some of the carbon dioxide reacts with the water to form carbon acid.

Some of these extra carbonic acid molecules react with a water molecule to give a barcarbonate (Hydrogen carbonate) ion and a hydronium ( a type of oxonium ion that is formed by the protonation of water) and increases the oceans "acidity". To help maintain chemical equilibrium (In a chemical reaction, chemical equilibrium is the state in which both reactants and products are present at concentrations which have no further tendency to change with time), some of the carbon dioxide reacts with the water to form carbon acid.

Some of these extra carbonic acid molecules react with a water molecule to give a barcarbonate (Hydrogen carbonate) ion and a hydronium ( a type of oxonium ion that is formed by the protonation of water) and increases the oceans "acidity". PROBLEM: Iron Fertilization: It has been proposed that the Iron Fertilization of the Ocean could stimulate Photosynthesis in Phytoplankton which would could convert dissolved Carbon Dioxide in the Ocean into Carbonhydrate and Oxygen Gas. Some of the Carbonhydrate and Oxygen Gas would sink into the deeper ocean before oxidizing (react or make react to Oxygen). More than 12 open-sea experiments confirmed that adding iron into the ocean can increase Photosynthesis in Plankton by up to 30 times! In the Ocean, this makes it more difficult for marine Calcifying organisms (Coral, and some Plankton) to form biogenic calcium carbonate and any existing structures like that of Coral or some types of Plankton become Vulnerable to dissolution.

This makes ongoing acidifcation of the Oceans a threat to the Food Chains connected with the Ocean. "The acidity of the oceans will more than double in the next 40 years. This rate is 100 times faster than any changes in ocean acidity in the last 20 million years, making it unlikely that Marine life can somehow adapt to the changes."

- Thomas Lovejoy (Former chief biodiversity advisor to the World Bank) Did You Know?


Pteropods, tiny sea snails whose existence is threatened by ocean acidification, are an important food source for some whales.
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