# How does the ocean absorb carbon dioxide?

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1) Differences in pressure between the air and the ocean cause carbon dioxide to be exchanged and 2) algae and phytoplankton absorb carbon dioxide.

#### Explanation:

The ocean can absorb carbon dioxide (${\text{CO}}_{2}$) in 2 ways: diffusion from the atmosphere and through photosynthesis in plankton and algae.

Carbon dioxide moves between the atmosphere and the ocean by molecular diffusion: a difference between ${\text{CO}}_{2}$ pressure in the atmosphere and ocean causes ${\text{CO}}_{2}$ to be exchanged (source). The ${\text{CO}}_{2}$ moves from the air to the water, when the atmospheric pressure of ${\text{CO}}_{2}$ is higher. The ${\text{CO}}_{2}$ is dissolved in the ocean because it is soluble.

The solubility of carbon dioxide varies based on salinity and temperature of the water and there is a finite amount that the water can absorb. The colder the water, the more ${\text{CO}}_{2}$ can be dissolved.

The solubility of ${\text{CO}}_{2}$ in water is demonstrated in the video below.

Another way in which the ocean absorbs ${\text{CO}}_{2}$ is through some of its lifeforms. Phytoplankton and algae both photosynthesize in the ocean. They both consume ${\text{CO}}_{2}$ using sunlight and release ${\text{O}}_{2}$.

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