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Arctic Ocean Litmus Test

Arctic Ocean acid 'will dissolve shells of sea creatures within 10 years' - Telegraph

Waters around the North Pole are absorbing carbon dioxide at such a rate that they will soon start dissolving the shells of living sea creatures.
The potentially disastrous consequences for the food chain have been highlighted by Professor Jean-Pierre Gattuso of the National Centre for Scientific Research in France.
Their forecasts suggest that by 2018, 10 per cent of the ocean will be corrosively acidic, rising to 50 per cent in 2050. By 2100 the entire Arctic Ocean will be inhospitable to shellfish, they predict.
"Over the whole planet, there will be a threefold increase in the average acidity of the oceans, which is unprecedented during the past 20 million years,"

"corrosively acidic" "dissolving the shells" "threefold increase in the average acidity" - It's going to turn into battery acid!

I can't find his research but an article he is lead author of updated on 3rd October 2009 says the pH of the Oceans was 8.18 in pre industrial times, 8.09 in 1990, projected to be 7.93in 2065 and 7.84 in 2100. So not quite Haighian Acid Bath that the Telegraph science writer suggests.

Comments

"I can't find his research ..."

I don't know his work but try Jean-Pierre Gattuso in Google scholar. On the first page there are at least 3 available as pdf files in English. Seems to be a number of papers and articles.

Seawater is buffered and carbon dioxide in solution is a weak acid so huge changes in pH cannot be expected.

What nobody has explained to me yet is how shells made of calcium carbonate (an insoluble salt of carbonic acid) can be dissolved by carbonic acid. Ever tried dissolving limescale or pearls in soda water? Also, where do the organisms get the raw material for their shells from, if not from dissolved carbon dioxide, aka carbonic acid?
Bring back O-level chemistry, I say...

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