Friday, March 16, 2012

Ocean Chemistry

The recent climate changes in the world have have lead to a change in the ocean chemistry. The marine animals are able to adapt to the salt water because of a process called "osmoregulation." This idea is not new the aquatic marine animals have always been able to live in salt water because of the diffusion of water from high to low salt concentrations. Salt is not the only aspect pertaining to the marine life, oxygen plays a major role as well. Deeper in the ocean an animal lives the less oxygen is available. The biochemistry within a marine animal is unique because studies show each animal has a different chemistry depending on how deep in the ocean they live. The oxygen minim zone occurs, but also CO2 starts to become important. The oceans release CO2 back into the atmosphere making the ocean a major driving force for the life on earth. CO2 is released impacting not only the animals but the pH of the surface.
Humans have a major impact of the acidity of the surface water.The ocean takes up about one third of all human carbon emissions. This number is decreasing due to not only the changing temperatures but the ocean chemistry shifting. Ocean chemistry is an area that has not been studied much. In the last three decades the most research has been done. The results show that the "rising temperatures are slowing the carbon absorption across a large portion of the subtropical North Atlantic. Warmer water cannot hold as much carbon dioxide, so the ocean's carbon capacity is decreasing as it warms." Because the warm water cannot hold as much CO2 the department of Global Ecology had predict that the amount of Ca and other elements would change within the ocean. The researchers proved this to be correct.
Because water is such a unique molecule the studies become more difficult. Water is able to dissolve substances, so salt and minerals become important. Water is an element that can be present in all forms, a liquid, solid, and gas. The ocean will contain water in all three forms making the chemistry of the water a challenge to study. Density differences between different masses of seawater are one of the major driving forces of deep-sea circulation. Ocean chemistry is an area that can be studied much more, because there is so much yet to learn about the ocean and how the chemistry will play a role for the future of the ocean and the world.


  1. This is an interesting topic, and one that I was not aware of previously. I did not realize that humans had such an impact on the carbon content of the ocean, with the ocean taking 1/3 of all human carbon emissions. When i think of the carbon emissions I usually just think of the atmosphere. I am interesting in learning more about the impact of this.

  2. Too bad I do not like chemistry more or I could find a good career in this field since it has not been studied very much. But, this is an interesting post. How much warmer does the earth and temperatures need to become until the ocean cannot absorb any or little of the carbon dioxide given off? Another question is, if the ocean cannot absorb as much carbon dioxide does it then go to the atmosphere, and does that also increase temperatures?