How CO2 makes Oceans more acidic

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Acidity is a measure of the concentration of hydrogen atom in a solution¬†(H+). When CO2 gets into water, it reacts with it forming carbonic acid (H2CO3). This then can dissociate to form bicarbonate, losing hydrogen atoms, which increases water’s acidity (or reduce its pH level). Because the change in acidity is very abrupt, evolution can’t keep up with it by adopting marine life to new conditions, which are 30% more acidic waters than they lived in for millions of years.

What’s more, carbonate ions present in oceans, which are used together with calcium carbonate (CaCO3) by some marine life and corals to form their shells and skeletons, react with some of the hydrogens, forming more bicarbonate.

Carbonate ions are a part of calcium carbonate, hence when they react with hydrogen to form more bicarbonate, calcium carbonate concentration in the ocean becomes less saturated, endangering calcifying species.