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.