Ocean acidification facts for kids
Ocean acidification is the decrease in the pH (scale of acidity and alkalinity) and increase in acidity of the Earth's oceans. It is caused by the increase of carbon dioxide (CO2) that humans have put into the atmosphere. More than 30% of the carbon dioxide in the air goes into the oceans. Therefore, when carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases, the carbon dioxide in the ocean increases, too.
When carbon dioxide enters the oceans, it makes it more acidic.
The skeletons and shells of many sea animals need what is known as calcium carbonate minerals. Due to ocean acidification, there are fewer of these minerals and there are species that could no longer produce or keep their shells. With more carbon dioxide in the ocean, this problem becomes worse and many species will be at risk. As a result, if humans continue to emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, ocean life will be in severe danger. Also, coral is at risk, as it is being eroded by the acid in the ocean.
Between 1751 CE and 1994 CE the ocean's pH on the surface went from 8.25 to 8.1.
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The map was created by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution using Community Earth System Model data. This map was created by comparing average conditions during the 1880s with average conditions during the most recent 10 years (2003–2012). Aragonite saturation has only been measured at selected locations during the last few decades, but it can be calculated reliably for different times and locations based on the relationships scientists have observed among aragonite saturation, pH, dissolved carbon, water temperature, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and other factors that can be measured. This map shows changes in the amount of aragonite dissolved in ocean surface waters between the 1880s and the most recent decade (2003–2012). Aragonite saturation is a ratio that compares the amount of aragonite that is actually present with the total amount of aragonite that the water could hold if it were completely saturated. The more negative the change in aragonite saturation, the larger the decrease in aragonite available in the water, and the harder it is for marine creatures to produce their skeletons and shells. The global map shows changes over time in the amount of aragonite dissolved in ocean water, which is called aragonite saturation.
Ocean acidification Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.