Summarize ocean acidification in one sentence.


Summarize ocean acidification in one sentence.

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Khánh Gia 2 months 2021-07-15T08:53:45+00:00 1 Answers 1 views 0

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    The ocean absorbs a significant portion of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from human activities, equivalent to about one-third of the total emissions for the past 200 years from fossil fuel combustion, cement production and land-use change (Sabine et al., 2004). Uptake of CO2 by the ocean benefits society by moderating the rate of climate change but also causes unprecedented changes to ocean chemistry, decreasing the pH of the water and leading to a suite of chemical changes collectively known as ocean acidification. Like climate change, ocean acidification is a growing global problem that will intensify with continued CO2 emissions and has the potential to change marine ecosystems and affect benefits to society.

    The average pH of ocean surface waters has decreased by about 0.1 unit—from about 8.2 to 8.1—since the beginning of the industrial revolution, with model projections showing an additional 0.2-0.3 drop by the end of the century, even under optimistic scenarios (Caldeira and Wickett, 2005).1 Perhaps more important is that the rate of this change exceeds any known change in ocean chemistry for at least 800,000 years (Ridgewell and Zeebe, 2005). The major changes in ocean chemistry caused by increasing atmospheric CO2 are well understood and can be precisely calculated, despite some uncertainty resulting from biological feedback processes. However, the direct biological effects of ocean acidification are less certain


    1 “Acidification” does not mean that the ocean has a pH below neutrality. The average pH of the ocean is still basic (8.1), but because the pH is decreasing, it is described as undergoing acidification.

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    Suggested Citation:”Summary.” National Research Council. 2010. Ocean Acidification: A National Strategy to Meet the Challenges of a Changing Ocean. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12904. ×



    and will vary among organisms, with some coping well and others not at all. The long-term consequences of ocean acidification for marine biota are unknown, but changes in many ecosystems and the services they provide to society appear likely based on current understanding (Raven et al., 2005).

    In response to these concerns, Congress requested that the National Research Council conduct a study on ocean acidification in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006. The Committee on the Development of an Integrated Science Strategy for Ocean Acidification Monitoring, Research, and Impacts Assessment is charged with reviewing the current state of knowledge and identifying key gaps in information to help federal agencies develop a program to improve understanding and address the consequences of ocean acidification (see Box S.1 for full statement of task). Shortly after the study was underway, Congress passed another law—the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring (FOARAM) Act of 2009—which calls for, among other things, the establishment of a federal ocean acidification program; this report is directed to the ongoing strategic planning process for such a program.

    Although ocean acidification research is in its infancy, there is already growing evidence of changes in ocean chemistry and ensuing biological impacts. Time-series measurements and other field data have documented the decrease in ocean pH and other related changes in seawater chemistry (Dore et al., 2009). The absorption of anthropogenic CO2 by the oceans increases the concentration of hydrogen ions in seawater (quanti-


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