Photograph via snooOG

/r/OceanAcidification is for discussing the causes, consequences, science of, and potential responses to [increased absorption of CO2 by Earth's oceans]

The Ocean Acidification Reddit

Ocean acidification - the ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth's oceans, caused by the uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. Seawater is slightly basic (meaning pH > 7), and ocean acidification involves a shift towards pH-neutral conditions rather than a transition to acidic conditions (pH < 7). Ocean alkalinity is not changed by the process, or may increase over long time periods due to carbonate dissolution. An estimated 30–40% of the carbon dioxide from human activity released into the atmosphere dissolves into oceans, rivers and lakes.

To achieve chemical equilibrium, some of it reacts with the water to form carbonic acid. Some of the resulting carbonic acid molecules dissociate into a bicarbonate ion and a hydrogen ion, thus increasing ocean acidity (H+ ion concentration). Between 1751 and 1996, surface ocean pH is estimated to have decreased from approximately 8.25 to 8.14, representing an increase of almost 35% in H+ ion concentration in the world's oceans. Earth System Models project that, within the last decade, ocean acidity exceeded historical analogues and, in combination with other ocean biogeochemical changes, could undermine the functioning of marine ecosystems and disrupt the provision of many goods and services associated with the ocean beginning as early as 2100.

Increasing acidity is thought to have a range of potentially harmful consequences for marine organisms, such as depressing metabolic rates and immune responses in some organisms, and causing coral bleaching. By increasing the presence of free hydrogen ions, the additional carbonic acid that forms in the oceans ultimately results in the conversion of carbonate ions into bicarbonate ions. This net decrease in the amount of carbonate ions available may make it more difficult for marine calcifying organisms, such as coral and some plankton, to form biogenic calcium carbonate, and such structures become vulnerable to dissolution. Ongoing acidification of the oceans may threaten future food chains connected with the oceans. As members of the InterAcademy Panel, 105 science academies have issued a statement on ocean acidification recommending that by 2050, global CO2 emissions be reduced by at least 50% compared to the 1990 level.

While ongoing ocean acidification is at least partially anthropogenic in origin, it has occurred previously in Earth's history. The most notable example is the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), which occurred approximately 56 million years ago when massive amounts of carbon entered the ocean and atmosphere, and led to the dissolution of carbonate sediments in all ocean basins.

Ocean acidification has been compared to Anthropogenic Climate Change and called the "evil twin of global warming" and "the other CO2 problem".

Wikipedia: ocean acidification

Related Reddits


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Is water acidification occurring at the same rate/amounts as in the oceans, lakes, and municipal drinking water?

What about well water? Or bottled water advertised as alkaline?

15:01 UTC


What is the impact of ocean acidification on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia?

What is the impact of ocean acidification on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia?

Hello! I am working on a research essay for an IB Math IA (The question is the topic). Basically, in a math IA, you apply two mathematical connections of your choice to real-world contexts. You write a ~12 page paper, including data sets and graphs, using the data you found on the topic and conduct your own study using your two math topic connections. If that makes sense. My aim is to investigate the rate at which ocean acidification affects the growth and health of The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) over the last two decades. Mathematical connection: Use statistical applications to employ a two-sample t-test taking coral pH levels and calcification rates from the year 2000 and 2024 to calculate the p-value. My second connection is using regression analysis by applying linear regression analysis to model the relationship between pH levels and the calcification rates of coral in the GBR. If anyone is willing to help me find accurate data and create the math problems/ equations and the graphs and data sets, that would be super helpful. Let me know if you are confused or if you have any questions :)

1 Comment
18:04 UTC


Can Climate Change Make Lightning… Supercharged?

02:40 UTC


Hey guys, had to make this for a school assignment as a public communications piece, thanks for letting me dump it here!

03:34 UTC


I calibrate Seawater pCO2 Sensors and would like to know if anyone has a paper, or insight for me.

I recall from a few years ago my professor discussing CO2 flux and the reactions, but I cannot remember which is the limiting reaction (i.e. the slowest).

H2CO3* <--> HCO3-
HCO3- <--> CO3--

If I recall the bicarbonate / CO2 reaction is the slower reaction, but I cant find a citation to back me up.

Can someone lend a hand to find the proper documentation?

1 Comment
19:45 UTC


Oyster farmers and ocean acidification

03:21 UTC



22:02 UTC


We face important challenges when it comes to the 8.9 billion people projected to exist in 2050 - Degradation, overfishing, loss of viral ecological services, lack of water for irrigation, are all concerns leading into 2020 @bains.meagan1_

00:15 UTC


Does CO2 kill algae?

I was hoping for a point of clarity about what Joe says in this video (seven minutes in) where he says ..

the oceans actually absorb a lot of carbon dioxide from the air, but it makes the oceans acidic which kills algae -- algae that turns carbon dioxide into oxygen -- which takes that carbon dioxide out of the carbon process leaving it up in the air and making it even more concentrated.

I don't understand how carbon dioxide is suppose to get to the algae in the first place, based on what he's saying. How is the carbon dioxide suppose to get to the algae if its killing it before it gets there?

17:12 UTC


Need Some help regarding preparing an assignment

I am writing a piece on Ocean Acidification. Can anyone suggest me some reading materials or scientific journals from where I should start?

I know how to google but thought would ask some experienced people for some heads up for a noobie

19:13 UTC


We must cling onto Hope , cuz otherwise what else is there right *Paul Beckwith*

12:06 UTC


Paul Beckwith on ocean acidification

09:00 UTC


Interesting fact: How ocean acidification impacts marine calcifiers

Ocean acidification is caused by rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The oceans are Earth's biggest carbon sink, and CO2 reacts with H2O to produce carbonic acid, which decreases the ocean's pH and increases acidity.

The carbonic acid in the ocean, in turn, releases hydrogen ions that bind to carbonate ions. Carbonate ions are a component of calcium carbonate, which is what marine shells are made of. Organisms that create these shells are called marine calcifiers, and include mollusks and crustaceans. Since free carbonate ions become more scarce, marine calcifiers have to use more energy to create their shells and have less energy left for other functions like survival and reproduction.

04:32 UTC


Does ocean acidification threaten the ecosystem?

00:56 UTC


Whales importance

I’m curious about the true quantitative importance of whales and there indirect impact on decreased co2 levels. I know they help phytoplankton through their waste but how much of an impact does this actually have?

19:37 UTC


High School Chemistry Lab

I am doing a lab dealing with CaCo3 and HCL. I was planning on trying to add HCl to salt water to change the pH of the water in order to try and see if the CaCO3 would dissolve. I was wondering if this would be possible to do in salt water or if it will only dissolve in acid. I need to know if testing this would work if I tested different pH’s using hydrochloric acid and water to manipulate the pH. Also how long might this reaction take considering I am only in the class for a certain time and need to time how long it takes to dissolve.

02:54 UTC

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