The world’s oceans can absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. The more carbon dioxide that is emitted into the atmosphere, the more the oceans absorb. This causes the pH of seawater to fall in a process known as ocean acidification. The Arctic marine environment is especially vulnerable to ocean acidification as cold water can absorb more CO2. Increased fresh water input from rivers and melting ice is also making the Arctic Ocean more vulnerable as fresh water is less resistant to changes in acidity than salt water. Ocean acidification can affect the marine environment. It makes it harder for sea creatures like corals, molluscs and plankton to build their shells and skeletons because less carbonate is available. This will affect societies that depend on fisheries and other ocean-dependent ecosystem services.
Assessments of Arctic Ocean acidification for 2013 and 2018, Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP); N.S. Steiner, et al., Future ocean acidification in the Canada Basin and surrounding Arctic Ocean from CMIP5 earth system models, Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans, 2014, 119(1): 332–347; M. Yamamoto-Kawai, et al., Aragonite Undersaturation in the Arctic Ocean: Effects of Ocean Acidification and Sea Ice Melt, Science, 2009, 326(5956): 1098–1100; Arctic Report Card 2015, Arctic Programme, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
From collection: Global linkages – a graphic look at the changing Arctic (rev.1)
Philippe Rekacewicz and Nieves Lopez Izquierdo