Some Key Points
- The ocean absorbs about a quarter of the CO2 we release into the atmosphere every year.
- the CO2 absorbed by the ocean changes the chemistry of the seawater, the process is called ocean acidification.
- The change in the ocean has a negative impact on sea life especially coral, shellfish and plankton.
- Ocean pH (acidity/alkalinity) is very difficult to measure, it varies across the ocean, measurement since 1990 has greatly improved
The ocean absorbs about a quarter of the CO2 we release into the atmosphere every year, so as atmospheric CO2 levels increase, so do the levels in the ocean. It may seem great that the ocean is taking up the CO2 and reducing global warming but the change in ocean chemistry has a profound effect on sea life.
In order to measure changes due to ocean acidification very small pH changes in the global oceans need to be measured. This has only really been possible with new techniques over the past 30 years. The data we show is the longest running data series we can find which has been consistently measured and according to the scientists involved will continue to be measured for a least the next 5 years. The data is collected near Hawaii and the source of the data is in the reference links.
Reference to Figure 11.1 shows how pH correlates with atmospheric CO2.
Figure 11.1 - pH correlation with atmospheric CO2