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Ocean Health – Is there an “Acidification” problem?

June 11, 2020
By Jim Steele

Ocean “acidification” from carbon dioxide emissions would require a virtually impossible ten-fold decrease in the alkalinity of surface waters, so using that term is misleading.

From the study:

Ocean “acidification” from carbon dioxide emissions would require a virtually impossible ten-fold decrease in the alkalinity of surface waters, so using that term is misleading. Even if atmospheric CO2 concentrations triple from today’s four percent of one percent, which would take about 600 years, today’s surface pH of 8.2 would plateau at 7.8, still well above neutral 7.

In fact, ocean health is improved rather than damaged by additional CO2, because it is a phytoplankton food that stimulates food webs. Converted CO2 allows phytoplankton such as algae, bacteria, and seaweed to feed the rest of the open ocean food web. As carbon moves through this food web, much of it sinks or is transported away from the surface. This “biological pump” maintains a high surface pH and allows the ocean to store 50 times more CO2 than the atmosphere. Digestion of carbon at lower depths maintains the lower pH in the deeper ocean. Carbon is then stored for up to millennia.