The shift we see today in our ocean’s pH level began during the Industrial Revolution. Now TCI seeks an alternative revolution that promotes green practices for the health of our oceans.
0.1 pH units is the amount of change measured in the ocean’s pH over ~200 years. That’s A LOT when you look at it on a logarithmic scale!
7.8pH unites is the predicted pH level of the ocean by the end of this century if we don’t start working to reduce our carbon footprint. That’ll be the highest in more than 14 million years!
22 million tons is the the amount of CO2 a day that the oceans absorb from humans.
350 ppm is the sustainable level of CO2 in the atmosphere to stabilize ocean acidity that we need to work towards. In 2018, CO2 levels measured 407.4ppm.
What is happening?
We know that Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is released into the air, but did you know that it affects our oceans? Not all the CO2 stays in the air, the majority of it actually gets absorbed into our oceans. When CO2 is absorbed, the pH level of the ocean decreases, making it less habitable for living organisms which puts stress on entire animal systems.
Since the Industrial Revolution, scientists have observed a 30% increase in ocean acidity by measuring pH levels! The ocean doesn’t just absorb carbon dioxide though, it also absorbs a large quantity of heat trapped in the atmosphere by greenhouse gases. Our oceans play a vital role in trapping heat and carbon dioxide to make our environment more stable. Unfortunately, too many greenhouse gases are currently being pumped into the atmosphere for the oceans to keep up, and it’s having disastrous results.
What are the effects?
In moderation, carbon dioxide is beneficial to ocean health, but too much of a good thing creates imbalance in the system. Too many greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane, are pumped into our atmosphere and as they trap heat on earth, these are the effects on the oceans:
1. This heat is absorbed by the ocean and is becoming too hot for sea life.
2. Oceans absorb and transform carbon dioxide into useful materials, such as calcium carbonate, for sea life productivity, like building shells. However, when too much carbon dioxide is absorbed by the ocean it is unable to break down the CO2 into a useful form and ocean acidity rises.
3. Rising temperatures and acidity decreases the ocean’s ability to support life and habitats both above and below the surface.
Luckily, by working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through small and large scale changes, we can shift the balance and help maintain healthy oceans!