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What Is Ocean Acidification?

NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory Carbon Group

This static image from NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory Carbon Program offers a visually compelling and scientifically sound image of the sea water carbonate chemistry process that leads to ocean acidification and impedes calcification.

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Climate Literacy
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Biogeochemical cycles of greenhouse gases / Carbon cycle
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Climate impacts ecosystems and past species extinctions
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Increased acidity of oceans and negative impacts on food chain due to increasing carbon dioxide levels
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Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Most relevant in a life science or chemistry class focusing on an often overlooked and enormously important impact of burning fossil fuels.
  • Might best be used as context for a series of basic chemistry experiments understanding buffering, acidity, dissolution, and carbonate reactions.

About the Science

  • In the text surrounding the image there is a good overview of the chemistry and consequences of ocean acidification.
  • Image shows a simplified version of a portion of the sea water chemistry that leads to ocean acidification.
  • Passed initial science review.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Accurate, condensed information about ocean acidification and its impacts - both present (observed) and future (predicted).

About the Pedagogy

  • This site has potentially helpful background on the complex chemical interactions and impacts of CO2 from the atmosphere on the marine ecosystem.
  • Additionally, this site provides links to papers, data, and graphs, which will aid further investigation.
  • Other steps of the chemical process are shown in other graphics that are available on this website.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Good illustration with background information on ocean acidification.
  • Background information the the science and how related research is conducted is included.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

This is the NOAA overview page on ocean acidification: http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/Ocean+Acidification

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