The Effects Of Global Warming On Coral Reefs

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Aquatic environments and how they differ in chemical nature due to the effects if global warming

The term ‘Global Warming’ refers to the process in which the Earth’s average, global temperature increases due to numerous trace gases in the atmosphere, which have the power to absorb part of Earth’s outgoing infrared radiation. The concentrations of these gases have been increasing due to human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels, since the Industrial Revolution. The ability that these gases have to absorb radiation has lead to increased, warmer temperatures around the globe. These warmer conditions have resulted in ocean acidification and alkalinization of estuarine environments.

How Global Warming works:
The naturally
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Also during the process, chemical energy is produced in the form of heat and light. As the practice of combustion grows, so does the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The effects of Global warming on Coral Reefs

Ocean Acidification
Ocean acidification is thought to be a major threat to our coral reefs because of Global Warming. Since the Industrial Revolution, the oceans have been absorbing around 30% of the additional CO2 in the atmosphere produced by our burning of fossil fuels. In 2007 alone, the oceans were estimated to have absorbed around 2.3 tonnes of CO2. The cumulative effect of the added carbon dioxide is causing changes in the seawaters chemistry. When carbon dioxide is absorbed from the atmosphere into the oceans it forms a carbonic acid. This is shown in the equation below:

CO2 (g) + H2O ⇒ H2CO3

The carbonic acid then breaks down into hydrogen carbonate (HCO3-) and a single hydrogen ion.

H2CO3 ⇒ [H+] +
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Dissolved oxygen is the amount of soluble oxygen that is dissolved in the water. Temperature has a major impact on the amount of dissolved oxygen in the environment. This is because, as the temperature increases, the amount of dissolved oxygen decreases. If there is not a sufficient amount of dissolved oxygen in the ecosystem, the organisms in the area will not be able to breathe properly, this causes significant stress and will eventually lead to death. This phenomenon is known as oxygen depletion. As global warming worsens, so does the threat of oxygen depletion to the estuarine

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