Basics on Acidification

The purpose of this cruise is to learn about the ocean chemistry of the Arctic Ocean and in particular ocean acidification.

 So the question is, what is ocean acidification (OA) and why do we care?


The short answer is that OA is the decrease in pH of the ocean due to increased free hydrogen ions in the water making it more acidic. We care because with this increasing acidity, the amount of carbonate minerals, in particular calcite and aragonite, available for animals to use for shell production and other metabolic needs, decreases and the ocean becomes under-saturated with respect to these carbonate ions.


Here is a diagram of the chemical reaction that leads to ocean acidification with the introduction of carbon dioxide, CO2, into the ocean. In the past century, since the Industrial Revolution, more and more CO2 is introduced from anthropogenic sources.


The carbon dioxide enters the ocean, a sink for the CO2, where it combines with water and becomes carbonic acid which is very unstable. The carbonic acid breaks apart leaving a free hydrogen atom and bicarbonate. The resulting bicarbonate breaks up farther becoming a carbonate ion and another free hydrogen ion.


Acidity is dependent on the number of hydrogen atoms in the water column so with more hydrogen atoms, you get a lower pH or higher acidity. On this cruise, dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and alkalinity are measured in order to derive pH.

 Alkalinity is the measure of the buffering capacity of water or the capacity of the water to neutralize acids. This buffering capacity is largely in the form of bicarbonate.


This graph shows the increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere since the 1950s and is the longest time series of data for this measurement.


The ocean is a sink for much of this CO2 and has taken up between 1/3 and ½ of all anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Because the amount of CO2 in the ocean’s surface waters has increased considerably, the acidity of the ocean has increased due to the reaction outlined above.


This increased acidity is highlighted in the Arctic regions where the ocean is naturally low in carbonate ion concentration due to ocean mixing patterns and increased solubility of CO2 in cold water. The water samples collected on this cruise will help to build a better, more accurate, picture of how the increasing CO2 in our atmosphere will impact these fragile ecosystems.  


Dr Patrick Moore also provides good insights in the following video.



More from Will Soon: PDF Link

Ocean “acidification” is another serious untruth.


Environmental activists, including the UN’s climate panel, invented this public deception, which is now blindly rubber-stamped by the “divestment” movement.


Scientific analysis shows that the biology and chemistry of the ocean have never been controlled by the concentration of CO2 in the air.  The reverse is true: growth of oceanic life has long been limited by CO2 starvation caused by the control of carbonate and bicarbonate biogeochemical cycling.


Growth of lobsters and crabs and other sea life in laboratory experiments is enhanced, rather than destroyed, if the partial pressure of CO2 in the air and hence in the ocean rises.


For the past 50 million years the ocean has been pronouncedly alkaline and, because it is self-buffering, must remain that way.  The pH of the ocean – a measure of its acid-base balance – is around 8.0.  Neutral is 7.0 on the pH scale.


Rainwater, at 5.4, is pronouncedly acid. But does it “acidify” the ocean on which almost three-quarters of all precipitation falls, and into which much of the remainder is poured via the world’s rivers? 


And what steps would the “divestment” campaigners propose to take to prevent water from the ocean abyss from rising to the surface? It is up to ten times more acidic than the water at the surface.



Section for a video or follow-on comment

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Government is becoming more elitist while trying to sell corrections to problems it created, what makes this possible?


Could include a pic

This could also be inserted into the field above, or erased


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Economic Theories

At the heart of economics there are several possible economic schools of thought, the essence of these schools of thought and how they relate to our lives.


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