Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Calcium Carbonate Acidification

Since the industrial revolution the Earth has faced an increase in CO2.  Approximately 1/3 of this CO2 is absorbed by the ocean.  However, this does not come without some consequences.  The ocean has experienced a .1 pH drop globally while at the moment might not seem like much but if continued could have some dire consequences on marine life.
When CO2 dissolves into the ocean carbonic acid is produced.  The carbonic acid then dissociates in the water releasing hydrogen and bicarbonate.  The increase in hydrogen results in the increase in acidity.  This removes calcium carbonate from the ocean which makes it more difficult for shelled organisms to form their shell.  The ocean exports about 45 to 65% of the calcium carbonate globally.   Even small changes in the ocean pH can lead to large changes in the ocean chemistry.
I plan on looking at how the distribution of calcium carbonate in the ocean has changed throughout the Earths history and what impact these changes could have on the oceans currently and in the future if this increase in acidity continues.  For simplicity sake I plan on only looking at the Atlantic Ocean but this might change as I read more articles and continue searching on this topic.  I also plan on looking how this change in acidity directly effects shelled creatures and the coral reef.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/JC081i015p02595/abstract;jsessionid=EACD7E11438ADB85721FA924D03C8FEA.f04t01?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/305/5682/362.short
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0025322783900853
http://www.ocean-acidification.net/FAQacidity.html#HowOA

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