Ocean Acidity Perplexing for Researchers

oceanOcean acidity has caused perplexing challenges as it has brought some changes to the attention of researchers. Scientists, actually, perceived that it was not a problem because it was believed that it was not affecting global warming. It has become visible from space indicating that there are areas that are at great risk. It is not simple to measure nor is there an even distribution across the globe.

It was noted that approximately 22 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions find their way into the ocean. Consequently, it is projected that the ocean pH will be lowered by .5 units by 2099.

Ocean acidification has been referred to as the evil twin of climate change. Measurements could be taken by going out into the ocean, but that process would give less accuracy and it would be a very costly venture. Therefore, by using  a satellite, researchers are able to provide a global map of the current levels of acidity.

For millions of years, the ocean’s acidity level has remained relatively stable alerting researchers to no particular concern. Currently, there has been a change in the pH balance and scientists must pay attention and respond to any possible global consequences.

The ocean acidity perplexing concerns is that the shells of mussels, oysters, and crabs are disappearing. More studies are needed to determine what the results will be for non-shelled sea life.

In 2013, the fish that were studied demonstrated  behavior that was easily excitable than other sea water animals. New information from other studies has determined that large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) is changing the water’s chemistry. CO2 comes from burning coal, oil, and gas that ends up dissolving in the water.

The effects of this massive amount of carbon dioxide being released is that it occurs underwater and, therefore, the ocean’s level of acidity is not seen or felt. This is a valuable piece of information to observe in order to see what the impact is on the life cycles of marine animals that are apart of the other end of the food chain.

Another concern of scientists is that oceans may lose the capability to store carbon dioxide, which means carbon dioxide will remain in the atmosphere and impact climate change. Further, it is believed that the rate of acidification that is currently occurring is moving faster than ever.

There are many supportive actions that can be taken to save the oceans. Consider the following suggestions.  Walk when possible instead of using a car that gives off emissions. Use fluorescent lighting. Select healthy seafood choices at restaurants or for home meals. Reduce plastic products and increase the use of those products that are reusable such as disposable  containers or reusable bags. Volunteer and support beach cleanup. Increase personal knowledge about the oceans and the marine life. Use ocean recreational areas in a responsible way. Provide financial and human support for organizations that advocate for the protection of oceans. Refrain from buying items that were made from coral, turquoise shell, or any other marine life animal. Help place ocean acidification in check.

By Marie A. Wakefield

Sources:

News Discovery

National Geographic (1)

National Geographic (2)

Smithsonian Ocean Portal

Tech Times

One Response to "Ocean Acidity Perplexing for Researchers"

  1. philohaddad   February 20, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    It is clear that burning of fossil fuels releases heat and and CO2. What may not be appreciated is the fact that 2000 million tonnes of coal are burned annually. Coal has a nominal sulfur content of 1%. So the acid equivalent ( as acid rain) is 60million tonnes of sulfuric acid. With the calcium in the seawater a higher concentration of CO2 should form a higher concentration of bicarbonate ion and hence a stabilizing of calcium carbonate (shells ,reefs, etc.), but the addition of mineral acids will destroy that equilibrium and will consume existing calcium carbonate. I hope this will be considered when condemning CO2 for the problems of global warming. The heat emissions from our energy use are more than four times the amount that can be attributed to the rise in air temperature. I believe that heat emissions are the major cause of global warming and that acid-rain is a more likely contributor to ocean acidification

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