Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are rising as a result of human activities, such as fossil fuel burning, and are increasing the acidity of seawater. This process is known as ocean acidification. Historically, the ocean has absorbed approximately 30% of all CO2 released into the atmosphere by humans since the start of the industrial revolution, resulting in a 26% increase in the acidity of the ocean (average global decrease in ocean pH of about 0.1 unit).
Ocean acidification makes it more difficult for the numerous organisms that fix calcium carbonate in their skeletons and shells to do so, and can also impact metabolic and reproductive processes in many marine species. By impacting marine ecosystems at multiple levels, it has significant potential to affect food security and livelihoods that depend upon healthy marine ecosystems. The economic impact of ocean acidification could be substantial.
Reducing CO2 emissions is the only way to minimize long-term, large-scale risks from ocean acidification (IGBP, IOC, SCOR, 2013, p. 1).
19 Nov 2018 - A methodology to measure marine acidity will help keep track of countries' efforts to combat ocean acidification as pace increases to implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
10 Jan 2018 - As temperatures rise, oxygen levels in the ocean are falling, threatening marine life and coastal economies. But the only solution to deoxygenation is to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions – and it may already be too late.
9 January 2018 - The World Ocean Council is kicking off 2018 by partnering with the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute (SWFI) to focus attention on ocean, coasts and islands at the annual SWFI Institutional Investor Forum (Santa Monica, California, 20-22 February).