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Arctic Ice

Arctic Ice:

A team of researchers has flagged the changing chemistry of the western region of the Arctic Ocean after discovering acidity levels increasing three to four times faster than ocean waters elsewhere.

  • The team also identified a strong correlation between the accelerated rate of melting ice and the rate of ocean acidification.
  • Seawater is normally alkaline, with a pH value of around 8.1.
  • The water under the sea ice, which had a deficit of carbon dioxide, now is exposed to the atmospheric carbon dioxide and can take it up freely, thus becoming acidic.
  • The seawater mixed with meltwater is lighter and can’t mix easily into deeper waters, which means the carbon dioxide is concentrated at the surface.
  • The meltwater dilutes the carbonate ion concentration in the seawater, weakening its ability to neutralise the carbon dioxide into bicarbonate and rapidly decreasing ocean pH.