Ocean acidification, explained
Excess carbon dioxide is having profound effects in the water, including putting shelled animals at risk.
The oceans are growing more acidic, and scientists think the change is happening faster than at any time in geologic history.
That’s bad news for most creatures that live in the ocean, many of which are sensitive to subtle changes in acidity of their watery habitat. It’s especially problematic for corals, oysters, and other creatures with delicate carbonate shells or skeletons, which are weakened by even very slight changes in the ocean’s acid balance—similar to the way acid rain corrodes stone gargoyles and limestone buildings.
The culprit behind the acidification is the extra carbon dioxide humans have caused to collect in the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels, cutting down forests, and other actions.
The oceans have