4.5 What about ocean acidification?  Isn't Carbon Dioxide Acidifying the Oceans? 

Carbon dioxide interacts with water to form a weak acid called carbonic acid.  This has created fears that increasing carbon dioxide will acidify the ocean.  The ocean however has mechanisms to neutralize carbon dioxide.  The Basalt rock at the bottom of the ocean neutralizes acid formed from carbon dioxide.  Tony Heller speaks about that in the video below.

 

Microorganisms that live in the ocean and that are capable of photosynthesis capture carbon dioxide as discussed in the video  below.  They also produce a large part of the oxygen that we breath.

 

There is a lot of concern that high carbon dioxide levels will kill the coral and the shell fish by acidifying the ocean.  Corals and shellfish evolved during the Cambrian Era, with CO2 levels 20X current levels and temperatures 10C warmer than now.  Corals create calcium carbonate skeletons from carbon dioxide which becomes limestone.

The oceans are buffered with alkali rock like basalt and limestone, which prevent the ocean from becoming acidic.  The graph below shows the high levels of carbon dioxide in the Cambrian era.

 

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