Why ocean acidification is destroying the ocean

Wednesday, February 10

By Ava Paez

The oceans as we know it are about to become more acidic and warmer and here's why. 

The more CO2 emissions that go into the atmosphere make the oceans more acidic. How? Well, the carbon dioxide goes into the ocean and gets dissolved. The water sucks it up and helps regulate the global temperature and in response, the seas level on the pH scale rises. Carbon dioxide responds to the seawater and therefore creates carbonic acid which is how it increases. One might think that this is great! Yay! The ocean will be warmer and when I surf, I won't need my full suit. In reality, rising sea temperatures are not good for the pure reason that ocean acidification is killing animals and homes, and if the fishing industry goes down, humans lose hundreds of millions of money. The fishing industry could lose $41 billion dollars due to climate change. So money and jobs are lost because fish are dying off in their own ecosystem.

Today, ocean acidification could cost up to $140 billion lost in recreation associated with coral reefs. That is a ton of money that goes towards funding for dying corals. Corals are one of the main animals that are hit hard. Corals are made of calcium carbonate and in acid, they dissolve. Right now, they only occupy 0.1% of all oceans but support 25% of all life. That means that so many animals have lost their homes because corals are either dying from ocean acidification or coral bleaching. Coral bleaching is the process in which animals that live inside the corals -polyps- die. As the algae dies, the pigment that contains it is drained of the colorful color so it turns to a bland white. Just changing the normal water temperature by 1°C (2°F) can lead to bleaching which is drastic. While right now it's happening to corals, it will soon lead many other beautiful ocean organisms to wither and die off. The oceans as we know it aren't going to be full of life. They will soon be empty and the only proof that we'll see of the animals will be in science and history textbooks.

What can we do to help stop ocean acidification?

There are so many organizations that are dedicated to stopping climate change, ocean acidification, coral bleaching, pollution, and CO2 emissions. Educate yourself to learn what's really happening. Maybe instead of using a disposable mask, use a washable one. Maybe instead of using disposable cups, use washable ones. There are so many tiny things that we take for granted and can change to save our planet from becoming a wasteland.

Subscribe to our Newsletter & Never Miss a Post!