Carbon Dioxide Concentration (Intro to Solid-State Chemistry) | Summary and Q&A

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December 7, 2020
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Carbon Dioxide Concentration (Intro to Solid-State Chemistry)

TL;DR

The increase in carbon dioxide levels in both the atmosphere and the ocean is causing the ocean to become more acidic, leading to the deterioration of marine life.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How do scientists determine carbon dioxide levels from hundreds of thousands of years ago?

Scientists can analyze ice cores and extract ancient atmosphere samples trapped as bubbles in the ice, allowing them to track CO2 levels over time.

Q: How is the increase in CO2 in the ocean affecting its acidity?

The absorption of CO2 by the ocean is making it more acidic, with a 30% increase in acidity over the past 200 years, the fastest-known change in ocean chemistry in millions of years.

Q: Why does ocean acidification pose a threat to marine life?

Marine organisms with calcium carbonate shells, such as pteropods, cannot survive in more acidic conditions, which disrupts the food chain and can lead to the disappearance of species.

Q: How can we observe the effects of ocean acidification in a laboratory setting?

By using citric powder in water to simulate acidity, students can witness the dissolution of calcium carbonate shells, mimicking the effects of ocean acidification.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere have been increasing over the past centuries.

  • The increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is also being absorbed by the ocean, leading to increased acidity.

  • Ocean acidification is having a detrimental impact on marine life, particularly organisms with calcium carbonate shells.

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