Ocean acidification is the result of uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into the oceans, resulting in a decrease in pH of the Earth’s oceans. Seawater is slightly alkaline in nature, and the acidification is actually a shift towards a pH neutral position, rather than an actually acidic ocean.
The fact that the oceans are becoming acidified can be credited to anthropogenic reasons; an increase in the production of CO2 is certainly a factor in the acidification of the globe’s oceans (Feely).
Pollution of our oceans is becoming a much greater problem than one may initially realise. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the release of CO2 due to anthropogenic activities has increased the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere (Feely). With the current lack of laws and legislation against the release of CO2 into the atmosphere, the problem of ocean acidification is only getting worse with time, and seems to have been kick-started by the change in land use of farmers in the early stages of the industrial revolution (van Asselt et al).
There is copious amounts of scientific literature arguing that the oceans are being damaged by anthropogenic activities; namely releasing plastic into the oceans, and sewerage, and general litter. But the release of CO2, which is held in the oceans’ water sources, is a big problem for the Earth in general. Oceans require a specific pH and biochemistry to sustain the amount of life that it currently hold, and the acidification of these areas is destroying the world’s ecosystems; the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, is being calcified by the acidification of the oceans, and coral is dying at a faster rate than has ever been seen before (Hoegh-Guldberg et al, Wei et al).
In conclusion, the production of CO2 must be slowed down to prevent the acidification of the oceans. If the production is continued at its current rate, then a large-scale death of the ecosystems around the globe can be expected.
- Feely, R. A., & Doney, S. C. (2011). Ocean Acidification: The Other CO2 Problem. ASLO Web Lectures, 3(1), 1-59.
- Hoegh-Guldberg, O., Mumby, P. J., Hooten, A. J., Steneck, R. S., Greenfield, P., Gomez, E., … & Knowlton, N. (2007). Coral reefs under rapid climate change and ocean acidification. science, 318(5857), 1737-1742.
- Wei, G., McCulloch, M. T., Mortimer, G., Deng, W., & Xie, L. (2009). Evidence for ocean acidification in the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 73(8), 2332-2346.
- van Asselt Marjolein, B. A., & Rijkens-Klomp, N. (2002). A look in the mirror: reflection on participation in Integrated Assessment from a methodological perspective. Global environmental change, 12(3), 167-184.