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Climate change has direct impacts on oceans as the article clearly articulates. The author asserts that climatic conditions influence the ocean directly, although the vice versa is also true. These impacts are major reasons that influence human welfare. This paper is a summary of an article about the impacts of climatic changes in the ocean with regard to ocean acidification.
Brief historical account of the effects of pH levels
Oceanic scientists use The Joides Resolution, which is a specially designed ship for digging up sediments from the floor of the sea (Zimmer par. 2). The scientists once dug up sediments that were 55 million years old from the base of the ocean (Zimmer par. 2). As they studied the deposits, they realized that there was red clay formed in the middle of the sediments and this was a clear indication of how the shelled creatures of the sea had disappeared (Zimmer par. 4). This discovery led to a scientific conclusion that the changes were greatly influenced by the alteration in the level of the ocean’s pH.
Effects of the drop in pH levels
With the drop in the water’s pH level, the shells are corroded and destroyed. The scientists realized that the crisis lasted for several millennia before the oceans could fully recover from the impacts of the drop in the pH level (Zimmer par. 4). Based on their discovery, scientists now are warning against spewing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. By so doing, scientists warn that the ocean will get more acidic and the pH level will consequently decrease. This will ultimately lead to the water getting corrosive, hence having the destructive effects as discussed earlier.
The speed of carbon effects on the pH levels
This article compares what happened 55 million years ago with what is currently happening especially with regard to climatic changes (Zimmer par. 5). The scientists warn against storing carbon dioxide in the oceans, citing that, it has the effect of changing the chemistry of the seawater (Zimmer par. 7). The impact of acidification of the seawater through carbon emissions are more dreadful compared to other forms. The impacts of the drop in seawater pH in the past 55 million years are nothing compared to the rate of acidification taking place today due to the presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The process as the scientists have warned is fast and huge (Zimmer par. 5).
Seawater and the pH level
The typical pH of seawater at the surface of the oceans is about 8-8.5, according to scientists (Zimmer par. 7). This is slightly higher than pure water which is normally at pH 7 (Zimmer par. 7). The use of fossil fuels emits carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, consequently trapping heat. Nonetheless, the emitted carbon dioxide gas does not stay in the atmosphere for long before it gets absorbed into the ocean. Carbon dioxide absorbed into the seawater reacts with it and as such lowers its pH (Zimmer par. 7). The author argues that the amount of carbon dioxide that has been released into the atmosphere since the time the industrial revolution had begun will have a greater and faster effect on the ocean acidification (Zimmer par. 8).
This essay outlines the major effects of the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and the impact of it on the sea water. The paper discusses the standard pH levels of seawater comparing it with normal water hence projecting the impacts of carbon dioxide. The speed at which the lowering of the pH level is anticipated has been also discussed.
Zimmer, Carl. An Ominous Warning on the Effects of Ocean Acidification. 2010. Web.