What is ocean acidification?

Environment
Ocean acidification: coral reefs are particularly sensible | Photo: NOAA/Creative Commons

Do you know what ocean acidification is? Learn why a surf session might become a dangerous or impossible activity in the future.

Oceans cover 70 percent of the earth's surface. When CO2 from the air is absorbed into seawater, it dissolves and becomes carbonic acid.

Over the last couple of centuries, the oceans have absorbed a quarter of the CO2 we've emitted and their average PH has dropped from 8.2 to 8.1, which means a 30 percent increase in acidity.

As a result, ocean acidification changes the chemistry of seawater and spells trouble for marine ecosystems and the coastal communities that depend on them. Coral reefs are especially sensible to these changes.

Cutting down on the CO2 in the atmosphere is the only way to solve the environmental problem. Because sooner or later we're the ones who pay the bill.

Take a look at a few things you didn't know about the oceans.

  • A sun dog, or sundog, is a natural optical phenomenon consisting of one or two colored luminous spots appearing on either side of the Sun.
  • Every year, nonprofit environmental organization Heal the Bay assigns A-to-F letter grades to beaches along the California coast.
  • A heat wave, or heatwave, is a period of two or more consecutive days with apparent temperatures exceeding 105°F to 110°F (40°C to 43°C) on National Weather Service's Heat Index.
  • Have you ever wondered how a beach is formed? The formation of sand strips is a long process that involves minerals, water, wind, waves, and tides.

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