“About 1/3 of the CO2 from fossil-fuel burning is absorbed by the world’s oceans.” And when CO2 gas dissolves in the ocean, a build up of carbonic acid forms which then damages coral reefs. It can also end up hurting other calcifying organisms, such as phytoplankton and zooplankton, some of the most critical players at the bottom of the world’s food chain. “In sufficient concentration, the acidity can corrode shellfish shells, disrupt coral formation, and interfere with oxygen supply. “
Global warming occurring as a result of increased carbon emissions is harming the oceans in a number of ways. It is changing temperatures, changing circulation patterns, and perhaps most importantly, leading to ocean acidification. More CO2 in the air increases the amount of carbonic acid in the oceans. This carbonic acid reduces the amount of calcium carbonate in the water. Calcium carbonate is an important building block to the exoskeletons of many ocean invertebrates and is a major part of coral reefs. Coral reefs are also in danger from rising temperatures, which leads to coral reef bleaching.
One way that carbon hurts the oceans is through ocean acidification. About one fourth of the carbon dioxide that gets pumped into our atmosphere is absorbed by the oceans. This CO2 dissolves in seawater and carbonic acid is formed – this is called ocean acidification. It’s decreasing the ability of many marine organisms to build their shells and skeletal structure. This may be seriously hurting certain marine ecosystems. However, much about ocean acidification and its potential impacts is still unknown.
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