Ocean Acidification

Ocean acidification is a direct consequence of increased human-induced carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere. The ocean absorbs over 25% of all anthropogenic emissions from the atmosphere each year. As CO2 dissolves in sea water it forms carbonic acid, thereby decreasing the ocean’s pH, leading to a suite of changes collectively known as ocean acidification. Ocean acidification is happening in parallel with other climate-related stressors, including ocean warming and deoxygenation. This completes the set of climate change pressures on the marine environment – heat, acidity and oxygen loss – often referred to as the ‘deadly trio. Interaction between these stressors is often cumulative or even multiplicative, resulting in combined effects that are more severe than the sum of their individual impacts.