This paper was written as part of the 2009 Alaska Oceans Sciences Bowl high school competition. The conclusions in this report are solely those of the student authors.

The Most Important Hazards Facing the Wasilla Alaska Area as a Result of Ocean Acidification

Authors

Colton Newman
Jesse Victors
Brandi Ringgenberg
Brittany Newman
Jaimie Haynes

Team Omega Alpha Marine Wolverine Delta Squad

Wasilla High School
701 E Bogard Rd
Wasilla, Alaska 99654

Abstract

As the temperature in our world is growing at an increasing rate, there has been a great increase in the acidic precipitation on our Earth. Acidic precipitation is what as known today as acid rain, or an increase in the amount of CO2 which we humans create in the respiration process in our bodies. As the CO2 slowly dissolves in our oceans, it begins to react not only with the H2O, but all life that lives in the oceanic community. It even affects the world geographically as well, due to the increase in acidic pH balance in the water important minerals are slowly beginning to fade away. Some of the ways that many believe have is caused this phenomenon, is global warming, increase in CO2 from the car exhaust making it's way into the atmosphere, and some even hold that it is caused by every living entity breathing out CO2 via the respiration processes present in all living organisms on earth that need oxygen to survive. Some of the most important aspects of the effects of oceanic acidification in our community is the notable decrease in seafood in our ever thriving community. Due to the increase of oceanic acidification we all are in a national survival threat. CO2 is starting to make it way into our oceans day by day, and we are all trying to find solutions to this problem.

Topic 1: The geology aspect of it all

Oceanic acidification is having a rapid effect not only on our world, but also the ever changing geographic outlook on the geological makeup of Alaska, it's happening everywhere else as well. And with oceans becoming more acidic, comes more responsibility to us as humans. In a way the protestors that are against global warming are correct in their cause, and some people do not really know how bad CO2 has already affected our oceans. It is also creating decay in mineral sediments within our oceanic sandy bottoms. With the increase in CO2 pouring over our open waters of Alaska, one would think, what does it matter? Why should we even care for the environment of the ocean, while we all live on land? Well, the answer is simple. As the sand and minerals of our world are slowly being melted into a pulp, our world is also slowly dying as well. With each passing day we try to find the time to think about ways to save our planet as a whole, but there are other occupations within our lives that seem more important than saving the very soils in which we all live on. So geology actually is a big part of our everyday ocean acidification. As the acid comes down upon the ocean depths things begin to change either slightly or almost completely. This is scary due to the fact that there are many tribal villages throughout Alaska that are dependant upon the ocean waters for food and resources. Unfortunately there are so many people polluting our oceans and harming our seas there really isn't much we can do about it unless actions were taken to save the oceans of Alaska.

As for the Wasilla lake area in our home town of Wasilla, Alaska, we are all in a quandary as to what will become of the salmon cycle that repeats every year. As the increase of CO2 is affecting lakes, oceans, and rivers across the globe, we need to stop and think about what is actually occurring in our societies. Geologically, as the CO2 increases in all of our bodies of water, so does the depletion of limestone in our oceans. It also affects our lake in Wasilla along with Cotton Wood Creek due to the fact that the temperature is also rising as well. And as the temperature increases so do the changes in oceans across the world.

Also in the past geology, some time ago, there were many events that took place which helped indicate this ongoing problem. There had been severe glacial depletion, changes in the ocean's pH levels, and from then to until now, our green house effect on the planet has somewhat increased to about three to ten times per a percentage. This means that there are more plants growing out and about, then before, our glaciers are about to melt completely, and the ocean's pH levels are beginning to change dramatically. Unless we all do something about this we are all going to suffer the fate of global warming. That means an increase of floods, more earthquakes, and an increase in natural disasters such as typhoons or hurricanes.

(Figure 1)

Section 2: Chemistry of Seawater and the effects of C02 on ocean acidification

Seawater is 96.5% H20 on average, so its physical properties are very similar, yet dissolved substances give it distinct chemical differences. Saltwater contains much more dissolved compounds than pure water, mainly C02 gas. In fact, saltwater can hold a thousand times more C02 gas than it could with other gases such as N2 or O2. Surface plants remove large quantities of the CO2 gas through the Calvin Cycle in photosynthesis, but there is still 60 times more carbon dioxide in the ocean than in the atmosphere. Pure water, when exposed to the atmosphere, will take in CO2 and transform it into carbonic acid. This process will lower the pH level to about 5.7.

In pure water, at 25 degrees Celsius, the concentration of hydrogen ions, H+, equals the concentration of hydroxide ions, OH-. This is defined as "neutral" and has a pH level of 7. Solutions in which the concentration of H+ exceeds that of OH- have a pH value lower than 7.0 and are known as acids. Solutions in which OH- exceeds H+ have a pH value greater than 7.0 and are known as bases (or alkalis). Saltwater, on the surface averages a pH of about 8.1, but at about 1000 feet it drops to about 7.5, and then levels slowly off to about 8.0 with increases in depth. The normal range of saltwater pH is between 7.5 and 8.4, rather basic, and is actually in the high end of the spectrum for stream water pH.

In laboratory conditions, any chemical reaction will either run to completion, or will be stopped by equilibrium, such as the decomposition of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) by hydrochloric acid (HCl). The products yielded are calcium ion2+, chloride1-, water (H2O), and carbon dioxide (CO2). This dissolution process can be carried out in a laboratory such that the CO2 is not allowed to escape, and so the CO2 container reaches the saturation point, and the reaction stops. Then, calcium carbonate and hydrochloric acid can exist together with no reaction taking place. This is similar to salt dissolving in water until the water is completely saturated, and additional salt will not dissolve. However in geochemistry, reactions are rarely stopped by equilibriums, and in the case of the calcium carbonate dissolution, the CO2 can escape into the atmosphere. Products of natural reactions can be carried off by natural forces such as groundwater or because they are gases. Reactions in nature fail to achieve equilibrium also because they are slow. This is especially true of solid to solid reactions, as these require a long chain of chemical events to occur, and the slowest of these reactions determines the overall rate. (Sverdrup et al., 1942)

It is interesting to note that the four ways of determining the pH of a liquid cannot be used for seawater. The hydrogen electrode, which is the standard method for measuring hydrogen ion concentration, cannot be used for seawater, as it involves bubbling gas through the solution, and thus disturbs the carbon dioxide equilibrium. The quinhydrone electrode and the glass electrode do not work either, as the quinhydrone electrode is not accurate enough for seawater, and the glass electrode has not been extensively applied to the ocean water. pH paper, so commonly used in high school and at home as a simple and quick way of measuring pH, are often made inaccurate by salt error, which is that dissolved salts (aka neutral ions) have an effect on the color of the indicator. Salt error usually causes low readings. (Sverdrup et al., 1942)

When carbon dioxide combines with water, it forms carbonic acid through the following process:
H2O + CO2 → H2CO3
This reaction would seem to make the ocean slightly acidic, but that is not the case. Oddly, carbonic acid keeps the ocean alkaline! The ocean has the ability to easily balance out pH levels by a process known as the "carbonate buffering system." It works like this:
Ocean too alkaline (basic): H2CO2 → H+ + HCO3- ocean becomes acidic
Ocean too acidic: H+ + HCO3- → H2CO2 ocean becomes basic
Thus, carbonic acid can disassociate to form hydrogen and bicarbonate ions, and that lowers the pH level, or those ions can come back together to form carbonic acid to raise the pH level. As mentioned before, the pH level of the ocean remains at an average about 8.1, with little variation over time.

Deep-ocean water contains more CO2 than surface water because deep water is cold and has the ability to dissolve more gases. Oddly, in pure water this is the opposite; pure water can dissolve more than cold pure water, but this is not the case with saltwater because Henry's Laws do not apply to saltwater. In the oceans, higher pressure also contributes to the dissolution rate. But then why isn't deep water highly acidic?

The answer is that marine organisms transform the acid into calcium carbonate through buffering process. The ocean can store huge amounts of CO2 gas in the form of calcium carbonate, CaCO3. Calcium carbonate is a common substance, and is a main ingredient in marine organism shells, chalk, limestone, and marble. CaCO3 is formed in the following reaction:
HCO3- → CO32- + H+
Ca2+ + CO32- → CaCO3
HCO3- requires more energy to dissociate than H2CO2, but it can be done. CaCO3 then sinks to sediments at the bottom of the ocean, or the equations can be run in reverse to form bicarbonate ions once more. This gives the oceans a large buffering capacity for carbon dioxide, and the oceans appear to have removed large amounts of atmospheric C02 without a significant change in the pH level! This is very important to note, because if the oceans can store C02 from the atmosphere, it has important implications for climate change. (Thurman and Trujillo)

It is believed that about two gigatons of carbon dioxide enter the oceans every year, and over 90% of it is stored as bicarbonate ions, the rest being in the form of calcium carbonate. In a recent study of the carbon cycle, it was predicted that the maximum rate at which oceans can absorb C02 is at five gigatons per year, and this may be reached by 2100. (Cox et al., 2000) This is known as the Revelle Factor.

Section 3: Chemistry of the atmosphere

Until recently, the atmosphere has not received much attention from geochemists. A paper published in 1985 reported a drastic decline in the ozone (O3) concentration, based off of measurements taken in the fall at Halley Bay in Antarctica. The ozone is responsible to protecting humans against ultraviolet radiation, which has been shown, among other things, to cause skin cancer. This finding, coupled with the one of CO2 levels, woke the world up to the effects that humans were having upon their world. (Gunter Faure)

Ice cores collected at Siple Station in Antarctica in the late 1950s demonstrated that since 1740 there has been accelerating growth in CO2 levels in the atmosphere. In 1740, it was about 275 parts per million by volume, to about 350 ppm by 1988. Increases of methane (CH4), carbon monoxide (CO), and nitrous oxide (NOx) have also been detected. These, and water vapor, reflect infrared radiation (wavelength › 750 nm) back down to the surface, and thus has caused the atmosphere to heat up in the so-called greenhouse effect. (Gunter Faure)

Why would the greenhouse effect be important to the oceans? Seawater, after all, has a buffering system that significantly reduces fluctuations in chemical changes. Well, increases in global temperatures will change weather patterns and may increase the frequency and severity of storms, and melting ice raises the sea level. This means that it will be easier for CO2 and other chemicals to enter the water by water-land interactions. Global warming may only last about 1000 years or so because the excess carbon will be buried in marine sediments via CaCO3.

When CO2 gas is brought into contact with water, the CO2 will dissolve until equilibrium is reached. At equilibrium, the concentration of dissolved carbon dioxide will be proportionate to the pressure of the atmospheric CO2. This is known as Henry's Law. At a saltwater pH level of 7.5, no more CO2 can be formed.

The "solubility pump" of the oceans drives CO2 to the deep water because cold water can dissolve more readily, but when deep water upwells in warmer latitudes, such as those near the equator, it can outgas the carbon dioxide to the atmosphere because of the reduced solubility.

Figure 2 is a diagram illustrating the Carbon Cycle. The black numbers indicate how much carbon is stored in various reservoirs, in billions of tons ("GtC" stands for GigaTons of Carbon. The purple numbers indicate how much carbon moves between reservoirs each year.

Currently, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere sits at about 0.04% on a molar basis, and increasing. Forests, especially during the spring when leaves are growing, transform significant qualities of the CO2 into O2 by means of the Calvin Cycle of photosynthesis. They store 86% of the world's above-ground carbon and 73% of the world's soil carbon. (Sedjo, 1993)

The oceans contain the largest active pool of carbon near the surface of the Earth.

To help us understand this carbon cycle, let's start with one pound of CO2. This is 453.6 grams, or at Standard Temperature and Pressure, is 230.92 Liters. But we only need to know that it is 10.31 moles. Let's add, or just as well expose, this carbon dioxide to water, H2O. Assuming, for the moment, that the ocean's chemical reactions produce the "theoretical yield," meaning it produces the mathematically calculated results, 10.31 moles of carbonic acid will be produced by this balanced chemical reaction:
H2O + CO2 → H2CO3
Note that one pound of water is not the same as one pound of carbon dioxide because each molecule has different weights. H2O weighs 16 grams per mole, and CO2 weighs 44, obviously much heavier.

These two molecules combining in the ocean is a moles-to-mass conversion. Since there is 10.31 moles of carbonic acid produced for 10.31 moles of carbon dioxide put in, it is a one-to-one ratio by moles, but not by weight. H2CO3 weighs 62 grams per mole, and so 10.31 moles times 62 makes 639.22 grams, which is 1.41 pounds. Thus we can therefore say that we get 1.41 pounds of carbonic acid for one pound of carbon dioxide added to water.

However, as mentioned before, about 90% of the ocean's absorbed CO2 is tied up in the disassociated form of this carbonic acid (aka bicarbonate ions, HCO3-), and the rest is in calcium carbonate. We will not worry about the percentages for just a moment, and think about how much calcium carbonate could be made from one pound of carbon dioxide added to water.

Again, this is a mole-to-mass conversion, and the reaction is as follows:
HCO3- → CO32- + H+
Ca2+ + CO32- → CaCO3
But remember that carbonic acid likes to dissociate into bicarbonate and hydrogen ions:
H2CO2 → H+ + HCO3-
Here you must note that for every H2CO2 molecule you can form one HCO3- molecule, and for every HCO3- molecule you can form one CO32- molecule, and for every CO32- molecule you can form one CaCO3 molecule. So everything is in a one to one ratio, which makes conversions much simpler. We can therefore say that if we put in 10.31 moles of CO2, we can get 10.31 moles of CaCO3. But the two molecules weigh differently; CaCO3 weighs in at 100 grams per mole. 10.31 moles times 100 makes 1031 grams, 2.273 pounds. Therefore, one pound of carbon dioxide can make 2.273 pounds of calcium carbonate.

Now we can get back to those temporarily ignored percentages. 90% of the carbon dioxide lives as bicarbonate ions (pieces of carbonic acid), and the remaining 10% are in the form of calcium carbonate. It is likely that this statement is by weight, and so we can therefore simply multiply our results by that number. We found before that there was 1.41 pounds of carbonic acid formed for every one pound of carbon dioxide put into water, and so 0.9 times 1.41 makes 1.269 pounds. For the other finding, that is 2.273 pounds of calcium carbonate is formed from 1 pound of carbon dioxide; 0.1 times 2.273 makes 0.2273 pounds.

Therefore, the theoretical results of adding one pound of carbon dioxide to water will make 1.269 pounds of carbonic acid, and 0.2273 pounds of calcium carbonate. However, since the world does not always follow the exact mathematical predicted results, it might be 1.08 pounds of carbonic acid and 0.19 pounds of calcium carbonate instead.

And that is why our climate is changing chemically. Through the ever mind boggling experiments scientists put themselves through, we all can have a better understanding of what is going on exactly in our planet's scientific makeup. As ocean acidification is occurring so is the temperature, and if the temperature changes so does the pH balances in water and our atmosphere. So, theoretically, through chemical orientation we can come to an understanding as to what is happening exactly in our planet's chemical makeup. Some say that the increase in temperature was due to the invention of the automobile. While others could argue that it could also possibly be the increase of respiratory habits on Earth that potentially increase the world's CO2 levels. But only through our scientific understandings of chemistry can we all hopefully find a cure for our planet's increase in CO2 and hopefully we can all find the answer to the keys to the main causes of why it is happening in our world everyday.

Section 4: The affects of ocean acidification on the animal life

Phytoplankton (Coccolithophores) is a single celled type of algae that builds its shell out of calcium carbonate. They are just one out of the many plants that help make oxygen on earth from photosynthesis. Phytoplankton plays a critical role in the marine food chain. But with the ocean becoming more acidic they can't play their key part in an ecosystem. With carbon dioxide in the air, it is absorbed by water, and when this happens it makes it difficult for phytoplankton, or any other creature, to make their calcium carbonate shell. It also affects the process of photosynthesis for plants. These single celled algae are dependent on macronutrients in the water such as silisic acid, phosphate, and nitrate. However phytoplankton also feed on another mineral, the macronutrient iron, which scientists concluded is not as abundant as it once was. The lack of macronutrients, the unaffected photosynthesis, and the inability to make their calcium carbonate shells properly will eventually lead to a decline in phytoplankton. And without them every organism loses its primary food source such as the snail which feeds on the phytoplankton and, with the loss of snails, other organisms which feed on the snails will decline. Another important consumer, the krill, without the krill we lose the largest beings on the planet to extinction, the whales. (2008 Oceana)

The deep sea coral reefs in Alaska, such as the ones off the Aleutian Islands, are also important structures that survive in much colder and deeper water then tropical reefs. These coral and calcareous algae dominated structures are the main attraction for tourists, but also the attraction and home for a diverse variety of fish and other organisms. One hundred million people are dependant on reefs for their everyday lives. For example, on the islands that are much poorer then others, the reefs bring in the much needed proteins the people need. It is estimated that reefs make $30 billion for the world's economy. Reefs are the sedimentary build ups that protect the communities of fish that flourish with in it. Cyanobacteria also thrive on reefs. These non skeletal microscopic individuals encourage the making of calcium carbonate that many organisms, such as crustaceans, need to make their shells, and protect themselves. Sadly, with ocean acidification it may slowly dissolve this habitat. Reefs also helps us understand locations in Earth's history that dates back as early as the Permian-Triassic extinction. They also serve as a trap for fossil fuels or other mineralizing fluids which would form petroleum or ore deposits within the sedimentary rock. The loss of reefs in the world would have a direct effect on human communities also. The existence of no reefs would expose settlements and other regions to wave and storm damage. This would make economic hardships even harder then they already are. (2006, Anderson)

Molluscan, or more commonly known as the snail, the slug, and the limpet, range from being terrestrial to marine and have been essential to the diets of creatures from beetles and leaches, all the way up to birds. In Kodiak, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are concerned with the pH of the water rising 0.1 on the pH scale. They explained that if this pH becomes any higher or cases become more extreme, then this could disintegrate the shells right of their backs. In an experiment conducted in the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, scientists exposed pteropods to the predicted pH levels that would occur in the North Pacific Ocean in one hundred years. In just forty-eight hours the shells of these tiny swimming snails had dissolved. In another experiment, not conducted in Kodiak, snails were exposed to a lower pH in seawater. This resulted in a lack of defense, but an increase in their avoidance behavior. (Morello, Lauren) This, in turn, would cause multiple changes in their interactions with other organisms. In the same experiment the (Littorina littorea), or periwinkle snail, produced a thicker shell as it would when a predator was around. In return this caused a decrease in metabolic rate (hypometabolism) because of the low pH and the stress of high predication. If this happens, the decreasing number of snails would cause problems for the pink salmon, as forty-five percent of their diet consists of snails. (Bibby, Ruth)

Experimentation that was done in Kodiak on snails was also conducted on crabs as well, such as the Alaskan King crab. The scientists dropped the pH of 0.5 and collected data on how the crabs would react to it. The conclusion was that their growth was reduced by 15% and rate of young surviving was dropped by two-thirds. Certain types of krill, which young fish to whales survive on, and plankton rely on crabs for survival. So if the survival rate of crabs drops two-thirds then the circle of life would continue onto plankton and krill and the organisms that consume those and so on and so forth.

Water that is corrosive to animals shell is found just three hundred feet below the ocean surface. And the corrosive water is crawling up to the surface at one meter per year. Scientists predict that in just fifty to one hundred years this water will reach the surface, which means that any organism with a shell will have to continuously keep building up their shell. This means that they will have to consume more time and energy to produce a shell and have less energy to maintain themselves or to raise their young or continue growing themselves. And since carbon dioxide is absorbed better in colder water then warm, Alaska is the perfect candidate in the greater upcoming concern about ocean acidification effects on any crustacean or shell animal. (Morello, Lauren)

Section 5: Social economics of acidification of the ocean

Ocean acidification is the ongoing decrease in pH of the Earth's oceans. This is caused by their uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Between 1751 and 1994 surface ocean pH is estimated to have decreased from approximately 8.179 to 8.104. The oceans absorb 30–50% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. In the future increased CO2 uptake by the oceans is supposed to reduce surface ocean pH by 0.3–0.5 units over the next century. When carbon dioxide reacts with seawater, chemical changes occur that cause a reduction in the seawater acidification. This reduces the availability of chemical compounds which have an important role in the shell creation for a variety of marine organisms. Ocean acidification has an impact on making shells and skeletons from calcium carbonate. This happens because of a reduction in the availability of chemical constituents. That is needed for calcified shells and plates. The result is ocean acidification could affect some of the most fundamental biological and geochemical processes of the sea in coming decades and will be disruptive to marine food web. Some data collected from the ocean sampling in the ocean from the southern to northern hemispheres. In the natural carbon cycle the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide represents a balance of fluxes between the oceans. Human activities like land use, the combustion of fossil fuels, and the production of cement led to a new flux of CO2 into the atmosphere. Some remains where it is responsible for the rise in atmospheric concentration. Dissolving CO2 in seawater increases the hydrogen ion concentration in the ocean which decreases ocean pH.

The term ocean acidification was introduced by Caldeira and Wickett. When the industrial revolution began it is estimated that surface pH has dropped by a little less than 0.1 units. It is also estimated that it will drop by a further 0.3–0.5 units by 2100 as the ocean absorbs more anthropogenic CO2. Although the ocean is acidifying its pH is still greater than seven. So the ocean could also be described as becoming less alkaline, even though changes are expected in the future. A report from NOAA scientists found large quantities of water under saturated on aragonite. It is already upwelling close to the Pacific continental shelf areas of North America. Continental shelves play an important role in marine ecosystems because most marine organisms live or are spawned there. Though the study only was for the area from Vancouver to northern California, there is some evidence that some shelf areas may be experiencing similar effects. One of the first datasets examining temporal variations in pH at temperate coastal location found acidification was occurring at a rate much higher than what was previously predicted. Even the natural absorption of CO2 by the world's ocean helps mitigate the climatic effects of anthropogenic emissions of CO2. The resulting decrease in pH will have negative consequences for oceanic calcifying organisms. This is used for the calcite of calcium carbonate to construct cell covering. Calcifers span the food chain form autotrophs to heterotrophs and include organisms such as corals, foraminifera, echinoderms, crustaceans, and mollusks. Under normal conditions, calcite and aragonite are stable in surface water. However, as ocean pH falls so does the concentration of carbonate ions. When carbonate becomes under saturated, structures made of calcium carbonate are vulnerable to dissolution. Research has already found that corals, algae, coralline algae, foraminifera, shellfish, and pteropode experience reduced calcification or enhanced dissolution when exposed to elevated CO2. Some studies have found that different response to ocean acidification with coccolithophore calcification and photosynthesis both increasing under elevated atmosphere. An equal decline in primary production and calcification in response to elevated CO2 or direction of the response varies between species.

Recent work examining a sediment core from the North Atlantic found that while the species composition of coccolithophorids has remained unchanged for the industrial period 1780–2004 the calcification of cocoliths has increased by up to 40% during the same time. While the full ecological consequences of these changes in calcification are still uncertain it appears that many calcifying species will be adversely affected. There is also a suggestion that a decline in the coccolithophores may have secondary effects on climate change by decreasing the earth's albedo via their affects on oceanic cloud cover. Aside from calcification, organisms may suffer other adverse effects either directly as reproductive or physiological effects. With calcification there is not a full understanding of these processes in marine organisms or ecosystems. Leaving aside direct biological effects it is expected that ocean acidification in the future will lead to a significant decrease in the burial of carbonate sediments for several centuries and even the dissolution of existing carbonate sediments. This will cause and elevation of ocean alkalinity which will lead to the enhancement of the ocean as reservoirs for CO2 with moderate implications for the climate change as more CO2 leaves the atmosphere fro the ocean. Oceans are acidifying 10 times faster than predicted. It is threatening heightened damage to coral reefs and shellfish.

Some researchers took more than 24,000 pH measurements over eight years and found a rate at which the ocean is becoming more acidic correlates with the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide. When CO2 helps cause global warming dissolves in water it forms carbonic acid. The acidity increased more than 10 times faster than had been predicted by climate change models and other studies. The University of Chicago ecology and evolution professor Timothy Wootton said that the increase will have a severe impact on marine food webs and suggests that ocean acidification may be a more urgent issue than previously thought. A study led by researchers from the University of California, adds to a body of evidence pointing to the degradation of the world's oceans. More than two-fifths of the world's maritime environments have had at least medium high damage as a result of fishing, pollution, and climate change. More acidic oceans are already affecting marine life. The study documented that the number of mussels and stalked barnacles fell as acidity increased. In the cold deep seas off Alaska may now be among the first victims of global warming in marine environment that home is to half of the U.S. commercial fishing. The resulting acidification prevents marine life such as coral, crabs, lobsters, and oysters from building calcium carbonate skeletons and shells, impairing their ability to survive and reproduce. The loss of Alaska's cold water reefs may be a precursor to the extinction of reefs worldwide because of acidification occuring when oceans absorb carbon dioxide. Cold water absorbs more carbon dioxide that's blamed for warming weather globally.

Section 6: Concluding opinion statement as a whole

All in all, our world is slowly becoming a giant piece of CO2. As the temperature increases so does the dangers of adaptation need to occur. Through our modern sciences, we as humans will continue to research and develop new methods of science so that maybe we will be able to configure our world the way that we want to, as a way to create our own utopia of sort. But if we continue to ignore the issues that are in front of us all, we will have to either adapt to a new environment, or our fate will be to slowly decay in a world that is constantly changing. Of course there are studies now that are slowly helping us to at least comprehend what is in fact happening to our Earth. Field monitoring experiments, laboratory experiments, Mesocosm experiments, and numerical modeling are all ways that we are trying to help save our environment from the effects of acidification. And through our studies we as body of scientists hope to somehow find a way to stop ocean acidification or to at least repress it. Through our methods of science today at least we have found out the causes for ocean acidification and we all still trying to find new ways to access new methods of understanding in what ways our planet Earth is really changing. In some ways one could argue that if we do not find a way to stop acidification we might just be standing on the next giant salad bowl. Because due to the fact of vegetation increasing due to the increase of CO2 we are all at a standstill as to what will become of our blue planet. Whether Earth will be more green than blue is not the case, but ocean acidification is in fact a major problem that is affecting everyone and everything in our lively planet. So we all have to pitch in and show our planet that we care, and try to help not only it, but all life on earth as well. Otherwise we might not see the planet the same way ever again. So all in all, we have to find a way to end this problem of the increase of CO2 in the planet's atmosphere and start caring more for our planet.

Figures

Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

Figure 1.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Mauna_Loa_Carbon_Dioxide.png


carbon cycle

Figure 2.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Carbon_cycle-cute_diagram.svg
Released to public domain


Bibliography

Chemistry aspect resources

Geology aspect section resources

Biology aspect resources

Social Economics Aspect Resources