Ocean Acidification: Impact Of Co2 On Ocean Water

1535 words - 6 pages

Introduction:
Human activities have led to an exponential increase in the use of fossil fuel. The benefits of using fossil fuels are short lived in comparison to its long-term negative effects. In the last couple of decades, the major consumption of fossil fuel played a significant role in the rise of concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. Roughly two trillion metric tons of CO2 have been emitted in the atmosphere and over a quarter of these got mixed with the ocean water resulting in ocean acidification (Buffie and Carr, 2010).
Ocean acidification is the decrease of pH in the oceans due to absorption of CO2 in the atmosphere (Fabry, 2008). Over the past three hundred million years ocean pH levels have been 8.3, however in the past 200 years the pH level of oceans’ have reduced to 8.1, an increase of 25% in the acidity level (Bednaršek, 2012). The CO2 in the ocean reacts with water to form carbonic acid and consume carbonate ions. As a result a lot of marine species are suffering high mortality rate, lower reproduction and the disruption of ecosystems and food chains. Moreover, over 22 million tons of carbon dioxide goes to the ocean every day (Buffie and Carr, 2010). If the rate of CO2 emission in the ocean is not reduced, the predicted ocean CO2 concentration will be 200% by the end of this century (Buffie and Carr, 2010). This paper will explain two major lines of evidence for ocean acidification. The first evidence is based on the impacts of acidity of ocean on calcifying organisms and the second one is acidosis and impact of CO2 on the physiological process of marine species (Silver Sunbream Fish). Lastly the paper will also touch on the potential pitfall correlated with the conducted experiments, which might have hindered the accuracy of the results.
Ocean Acidification and Calcifying Organism:
Thousands of calcifying creatures in the ocean form shells using calcium carbonate (CaCO3). (Andersson , 2009). The reaction between CO2 and ocean water causes a reduction in the carbonate ions which makes it challenging for species like mollusks to form their shells. Moreover, the reaction between water and CO2 also produces carbonic acid. This acid has a severe corrosive power and is extremely harmful as it dissolves the shells of the calcifying creatures in the ocean (Andersson, 2009). A lot of research has been conducted on ocean acidification, and finally in 2008 scientists were successful when they found live evidence about ocean acidification and its harmful impacts on sea butterflies. Sea butterfly is a species which lie under Pteropods -which form calcified shells. Upon dissolving of the shells of sea butterflies, there is a huge impact on the marine ecosystem as a lot of other species rely on them. Moreover, sea butterflies are abundant in souther oceans near Antarctica. The surface water in the Southern Ocean is rich in aragonite, which is a form of calcium carbonate and is used by sea butterflies to build shells (Guinotte, 2008). On...

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