Ocean Acidification

This passage explains the effects of ocean acidification.

Lexile Level: 1220L

Categories: Science & Technology Animals & Nature

In recent years the phenomenon of global warming has garnered much attention. Most scientists agree that global warming is caused by the high amounts of carbon dioxide that have been released into the atmosphere by humans as the result of burning coal, oil, and natural gas. Scientists believe this increase in carbon dioxide is slowly causing the earth's temperature to rise. They fear this will eventually trigger a string of disasters such as stronger hurricanes, more severe droughts, and a decrease of polar ice caps. In addition, scientists have identified another effect of increased carbon dioxide emissions: a change in the chemistry of the oceans. As carbon dioxide builds up in the atmosphere, the oceans absorb it in the form of carbonic acid. Studies have shown that this increased "ocean acidification" hinders the formation of coral reefs. If oceans' reefs are damaged or destroyed, it could pose a threat to at least one million species of marine life that depend on the reefs for survival.


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