Study on Fast Melting Arctic Ice and ocean acidification

Rapid melting of Arctic Ice is contributing the fast-paced acidification of ocean.

Key facts

  • An international team of researchers have found that acidity levels in the Arctic Ocean’s western region are raising 3 to 4 times faster than any other oceans across the world.
  • The research team has found a concrete link between the high rate of melting ice and the rate of ocean acidification.
  • Ocean absorbs a third of all the atmospheric carbon dioxide.
  • The fast-paced melting of sea ice in the Arctic over the past few decades have exposed the seawater to absorb more carbon dioxide, resulting in the increasing rate of long-term acidification.
  • The research forecasted that by 2050, Arctic Sea Ice may not be able to the survive the increasingly hot summers, resulting in the acidification of ocean.
  • Acidification of ocean can threaten marine population and its dependents like polar bears.
  • Normally, the seawater is alkaline with pH of around 8.1.
  • Now, the pH is rapidly decreasing as melting sea ice changes surface water in three primary ways.
    1. Water under the sea ice, which has little carbon dioxide, is exposed to the atmosphere, leading to fast-paced absorption of the greenhouse gas.
    2. Carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is concentrated at the surface since seawater mixed with meltwater has low density and is incapable of easily mixing with the deeper waters.
    3. Meltwater dilutes the carbonate ion concentration in the seawater, hindering its capacity to neutralize the carbon dioxide into bicarbonate and accelerating the ocean acidification.



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