"A most fundamental property of ocean chemistry, pH, is changing and will continue to change as long as CO2 emissions are increasing. That is not debatable. ... In the oceans pH is a relatively constant property, and it has not changed over time scales of hundreds of thousands and probably even millions of years. ... The pH changes that are occurring in the ocean today are truly extraordinary."Those remarks are from Joan Kleypas, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and lead author of a report jointly prepared by NOAA, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Geological Survey, entitled "Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Coral Reefs and Other Marine Calcifiers."
The authors of the report estimate that some 118 million tons of CO2 -- only about a third of our fossil fuel emissions -- have been absorbed by the ocean so far. In the process of absorbing the CO2, carbonic acid forms in seawater, which, in turn, reduces calcium carbonate levels. That's crucial, because calcium carbonate is vital to many organisms, like plankton, which form the base of the marine food chain.
Kleypas again: "This needs immediate action."