The ocean is a vital part of a healthy global carbon cycle, acting as a sink for atmospheric carbon and helping to regulate the temperature of the planet. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is absorbed by the ocean, forming carbonic acid. This increase of acid, and thus hydrogen ions, effectively decreases the pH of the ocean. With rising levels of anthropogenic carbon in our atmosphere, more carbon is absorbed by the ocean and the ocean becomes more acidic. Carbonates exist in the oceans as a buffer for this reaction, and so, as the carbon dioxide is absorbed and the pH decreases, carbonates are consumed.
The second international symposium on the Ocean in a High-CO2 World, organized by UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, the Scientific Committie on Ocean Research (SCOR), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the International Biosphere Programme (IGBP) was held in October of 2008. The confrence results are reposted on the website of the Ocean Acidification Network. A summary is also available, titled Science Summary of the Symposium for Policy Makers, by Carol Turley, Plymouth Maine Labratory.
"Ocean Acidification: A National Strategy to Meet the Challenges of a Changing Ocean”
A 2010 report from the US National Research Council entitled “