Ocean acidification takes place when carbon dioxide is absorbed by seawater. During this process, chemical reactions occur that reduce seawater pH, carbonate ion concentration, and saturation states of biologically important calcium carbonate minerals. Calcium carbonate minerals are the basis for the skeletons and shells of many marine organisms. In areas where most sea life lives, the seawater is saturated with calcium carbonate minerals; however, this is changing on a daily basis. Today, continued ocean acidification is causing many parts of the ocean to become under saturated with calcium carbonate minerals, affecting the ability of some organisms to produce and maintain their shells and having an overall effect on the ocean’s life circle.
The industrial revolution brought on the beginning of ocean acidification. The pH of surface ocean waters has fallen by 0.1 pH units since then, which has led many scientists to conclude that human activities have greatly contributed to current ocean acidification levels
The pH scale is logarithmic and this change represents approximately a 30 percent increase in acidity. Researchers and scientists are now predicting that the oceans will continue to absorb carbon dioxide and become even more acidic in the near future. Estimates of future carbon dioxide levels, based on the scenario that nothing changes, show that by the end of this century the surface waters of the ocean could be approximately 150 percent more acidic than they have ever been in human existence.