Ocean Acidification

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Learn more about Henry’s Law.

Another effect of global climate change is ocean acidification. Ocean acidification is caused when higher concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere dissolve into ocean waters. When carbon dioxide dissolves, it combines with water to form carbonic acid (H2CO3), which causes an increase in the acidity of the water. This process, explained by Henry’s Law, is referred to as ocean acidification and it threatens the life of many animals and microscopic organisms (Figure 21). Recall again figure 24 in the Biodiversity Chapter which illustrates the tipping points for the nine threats to the planet. Climate change and ocean acidification are listed as two of these threats.