Increased Burning of Fossil Fuels Is Making Oceans More Acidic
The oceans have always served as a sink for carbon dioxide, but the burning of fossil fuels since the beginning of the industrial revolution, especially over the last 40 years, has given them more than they can safely absorb.
The result is the gradual acidification of the oceans.
Changing something as fundamental as the pH of seawater — a measurement of how acid or alkaline it is — has profound effects. Increased acidity attacks the shells of shellfish and the skeletal foundation of corals, dissolving the calcium carbonate they’re made of. Coral reefs are among the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Ocean acidification threatens the corals and every other species that makes its living on the reefs.