How would you describe ocean acidification?

1 Answer
Jul 18, 2017

Very simply, it is the decrease in pH levels of the ocean caused by greater amounts of carbon dioxide being dissolved in it.


The acidification of the oceans is a direct consequence of greater amounts of carbon dioxide dissolving in it.

Natural seawater is basic, i.e. it has a pH slightly over #7#, which is neutral. The acidification that is occurring is more a reduction of this alkalinity and a movement towards neutral pH, rather than an actual formation of acidic seawater.

The greater quantities of #CO_2# in the atmosphere results in more being dissolved in the oceans. This causes the formation of bicarbonate ions with the resultant release of #H^+# ions that reduce the pH of the seawater.