The Effects Of CO2 On The Oceans

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Register to read the introduction… As the amount of anthropogenic CO2 has been rising in the atmosphere, this has meant a natural rise in the levels of CO2 in the oceans. This rise can have a large effect on the natural biogeochemical cycles of the oceans. The largest effect will be seen through the acidification of the oceans. When CO2 is dissolved in seawater it increases the concentration of hydrogen ions in the ocean, which then decreases the overall pH, causing acidification. This acidification can have a detrimental effect on marine biota through two main mechanisms: hypercapnia and the dissolution of calcium carbonates. Hypercapnia is the acidification of an organism’s body fluids and tissues due to increased CO2 partial pressures. This process has been shown to have long term effects on the physiology of water breathing animals including metabolic functions, growth and reproduction. These long- term effects may prove harmful on population and species …show more content…
It has been noted that the increase in CO2 levels in the surface oceans can be fertilizer to some phytoplankton depending on the nutrient availability in the area. In most open areas, the oceans are already seen as mostly iron and phosphorus limited. In a study by John Martin (Martin, Gordon and Fitzwater, 1990) he determined that small amounts of iron added to iron-limited parts of the Pacific and Southern Oceans could stimulate primary production. With this information, it is being researched as an option to continue this nutrient fertilization on a larger scale to increase primary production as to remove dissolved CO2 from the surface waters and therefore remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Although small amounts of fertilization have proven beneficial, doing so on a large scale can cause other problems. Large scale fertilization could ultimately lead to a large increase in the export of organic carbon. This could then lead to anoxia in the deeper oceans that support the conditions needed for the processes of methanogenesis and denitrification to take place. The end product of methanogenesis is methane (CH4). During the process of denitrification, the intermediate product of nitrous oxide (N2O) is produced. Both of these products are very potent greenhouse gasses on a much higher magnitude than CO2. The

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