We used to think that the ocean was so vast that there was no way that any act of humans would ever affect it. Now we know differently — but is it too late?
Oceans absorb 25% of the carbon dioxide that we put into the atmosphere. This is quite a favor to us. Without the oceans Earth would be a much hotter planet than it currently is. The oceans cover two thirds of the world’s surface and provide twenty percent of the protein that we eat every day, as well as countless jobs that support life on land.
For all this, we are giving the oceans absolutely nothing but abuse.
According to chemical oceanographer Triona McGrath, the ocean has been undergoing a long negative change in pH (the acid/alkaline balance of the water) since the rise of the Industrial Revolution. Low pH means high acidity. Carbon dioxide dissolves in seawater — that’s good news. The bad news: As a result of absorbing of all of this carbon dioxide, the pH of seawater goes down, meaning the acidity increases.
Seawater acidity has been rising steadily since the start of the Industrial Revolution at the exact same rate as carbon dioxide has been rising in our atmosphere. What a coincidence! It seems like man is having a major impact on the oceans after all. We probably should have figured this out after nearly killing all the whales in the…