Evidence > Ocean Acidity
The high and increasing level of CO2 in our atmosphere. brings two dangers:
- The increasing the acidity of our oceans, as well as
- The increasing global temperatures.
The acidity is increasing because our oceans are absorbing more CO2 and this is increasing the amount of carbonic acid in the oceans.
Here is how Ocean Surface Acidity and CO2 Levels have changed.
- The green up and down line shows the movement of the Ph in seawater in Hawaii. Ph is the opposite of acidity.
- The green straight line is dropping. This shows that acidity is rising. This is because the green straight line is the trend line of the seawater Ph. And when Ph drops, that means acidity is rising.
- The red saw tooth line shows movement of CO2 levels in air from Mauna Loa, Hawaii in parts per million by volume (ppmv). You can see CO2 levels dropping each northern hemisphere summer and climbing each winter.
- The black straight line is the CO2 trend line since 1990. It is increasing over time.
The increased acidification has serious consequences. It makes it harder for creatures like plankton to build their shells. It also makes it harder for corals to build their skeletons. At raised levels these shells and skeletons become weaker. At extreme levels of acidification, the shells and skeletons dissolve. This could lead to radical changes to life in the oceans. For example, if plankton populations drop, this limits the food for krill which limits the food for whales. Such fundamental changes in the ocean could impact millions of people who depend on the ocean for food and resources.
“If we continue to add carbon dioxide at current rates … by the end of this century … [we may have] an ocean more acidic than any seen for the past 20 million years … A more acidic ocean won’t destroy all marine life in the sea, but the rise in seawater acidity of 30 percent that we have already seen is already affecting some ocean organisms like corals and zooplankton. Smithsonian Institute & US National Museum of Natural History
It is not sustainable for ocean acidity to keep on increasing like this.
- Ocean Acidification: The Big Global Warming Story: ABC TV: Catalyst
- Ocean: NASA
- Climate Change Seeps into the Sea: NASA: 2008