Other brief

An introduction to ocean acidification

The oceans have absorbed between 24% and 33% of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions during the past five decades. While this uptake provides a valuable service to human societies by moderating the rate and severity of climate change, it comes at a cost for the oceans. The massive input of CO2 generates sweeping changes in the chemistry of seawater, especially on the carbonate system. These changes are collectively referred to as “ocean acidification” because increased CO2 lowers seawater pH (i.e. increases its acidity).

A worldwide look at present and future actions

Scientific research demonstrates that impacts from OA range from changes in the physiology, behaviour and growth rate of marine organisms to alterations on their population dynamics, with wide-ranging adverse consequences on marine biodiversity. 

More on ocean acidification