Ted Talks: How Pollution Is Changing The Ocean’s Chemistry
There is so much to write about oceans in relation to their importance in the daily life of a human being. Apart from moderating climate, they are the sole provider of close to half of the oxygen we breathe. They also provide about 20% of protein that feeds the entire world population. However, despite all they have to offer, they are suffering from massive pollution.
Apparently, no one will believe that carbon dioxide can cause a destructive change to the ocean’s chemistry but yes it does according to Triona McGrath. She argues that about 25% of all the carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere is absorbed by the oceans. Thus, the more it is pumped into the atmosphere the more it is dissolving into the oceans and ends up changing the ocean’s chemistry through the process of acidification.
Let’s explore the process of acidification
The process otherwise known as the evil twin of climate change is changing the oceans at an alarming rate thanks to thousands of chemical reactions in them. Apparently, oceans cover two-thirds of our planet and they play a primary role in the provision of jobs and medicine.
Ocean acidification is a global threat with the already too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; the threat is likely to take a different route. Nonetheless, we still have the opportunity if preventing the worst case scenario.
But does acidification affect the human beings?
Acidification is more often than not a result of human activities. Since the pre-industrial times, ocean acidity has increased by 26%. This is likely to go higher to an expected rate of 170% by the end of this century not unless we slow down the carbon dioxide emissions. A previous natural acidification event coincided with a mass extinction of many marine species.
Another impact would be as ocean acidity increases, the concentration of carbonate ions in seawater would decrease. The ions are a barrier to many marine species in making their shells. The carbonate ions in seawater are also important to corals in building their structure and later on coral reefs. All that said, the need for working together to slow down ocean acidification and help to maintain a healthy ocean is obvious. The end result is a healthy plant for all of us.