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Equally Evil Twin of Climate Change: Ocean Acidification

When we think about climate change, we automatically think of global warming as the main culprit. We think about the melting ice and rising sea levels as the consequences of global warming as these issues severely inconvenience us who live on land. More than 70% of our world comprises the oceans. We often forget that the increased carbon in our atmosphere is also behind the rapid acidification of our world’s oceans, as we don’t experience its effects directly. Ocean acidification is often known as “climate change’s equally evil twin” as it is also a very significant and harmful consequence of the excess carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.

Corals before and after ocean acidification.

Our oceans are a huge carbon sink, they absorb about 25 percent of the carbon dioxide we produce every year. This process occurs naturally as carbon is usually transferred back and forth between the atmosphere and oceans. This exchange of carbon usually occurs very slowly, generally over thousands of years. Humans have disturbed this exchange. Since the beginning of the industrial era, we have added 400 billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere due to the amount of fossil fuels we’ve burnt for energy, deforestation, and more. As a result, the ocean has absorbed around 525 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, including around 30 percent of all the extra carbon dioxide emitted due to human activity. It is a good thing for the atmosphere as it slows down global warming. But it is bad news for the oceans.