The key difference between ocean acidification and global warming is that ocean acidification is the worldwide reduction in the pH of seawater due to oceans absorbing huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while global warming is the long term gradual increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere.
Ocean acidification and global warming are two emerging global problems. They occur due to the increased level of CO2 in the atmosphere. When CO2 dissolves in oceanic water and reduces the pH of the water, ocean acidification takes place. When CO2 traps heat waves of the sunlight and increases the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere, global warming takes place. Therefore, both processes are negative consequences of huge amounts of CO2 emissions by human activities.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Ocean Acidification
3. What is Global Warming
4. Similarities Between Ocean Acidification and Global Warming
5. Side by Side Comparison – Ocean Acidification vs Global Warming in Tabular Form
What is Ocean Acidification?
Ocean acidification is the reduction of the average pH of seawater due to the absorption of a large amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by ocean water. This happens when the atmospheric CO2 level increases largely. CO2 dissolves in ocean water. As a result, it produces aqueous CO2 and carbonic acid (H2CO3). Carbonic acid can dissociate and make bicarbonate ions, releasing H+ ions. Bicarbonate can dissociate into H+ and CO3-2. H+ ions reduce the pH of ocean water
Ocean acidification poses many adverse effects on ocean chemistry and marine ecosystems. The acidity of water causes serious problems for marine living organisms. The calcification of marine organisms can be fastening due to ocean acidification. Moreover, marine organisms will have to spend more energy to maintain the pH of their bodies in order to carry out metabolism efficiently. However, photosynthetic algae benefit from ocean acidification due to the abundance of CO2 in water for photosynthesis.
What is Global Warming?
Global warming is the long term increase in Earth’s average temperature. The main reason for global warming is the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, methane and chlorofluorocarbons to the atmosphere. These gases are able to absorb sunlight and solar radiation bouncing off from the earth’s surface. As a result, the average temperature of the Earth increases. Many anthropogenic activities liberate greenhouse gases, especially through industrial emissions and burning fossil fuels. Moreover, the destruction of the ozone layer also enhances global warming as more rays of the sun reach the Earth.
Global warming poses many negative impacts on the geography of Earth and organisms. When the average temperature increases, glaciers tend to be melted at a faster rate, leading to an increased level of the ocean. When the sea level increases, it naturally engulfs many small islands. As a result, many species of plants and animals become extinct from these islands. Moreover, longer and hotter heat waves, droughts, heavier rainfall, and more powerful hurricanes can occur as a result of global warming, frequently causing massive destructions to the environment and organisms.
What are the Similarities Between Ocean Acidification and Global Warming?
- Ocean acidification and global warming are two processes related to climate change.
- Both occur due to high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
- Anthropogenic activities are the main reason for the occurrence of both processes.
- As a result of both processes, environment and living organisms face serious consequences
What is the Difference Between Ocean Acidification and Global Warming?
Ocean acidification is the reduction of the pH of oceanic water due to the absorption of atmospheric CO2 by water. Meanwhile, global warming is the long term increase in the average temperature on the Earth atmosphere. So, this is the key difference between ocean acidification and global warming. Ocean acidification takes place primarily due to the increased CO2 level in the atmosphere. Global warming takes place primarily due to greenhouse gasses. Therefore, the cause is another significant difference between ocean acidification and global acidification.
Summary – Ocean Acidification vs Global Warming
Carbon dioxide pollution creates many problems in the world. It makes oceanic water more acidic. Moreover, it makes the atmosphere warmer. Therefore, ocean acidification and global warming are two consequences of carbon pollution. Ocean acidification is the reduction of pH of ocean water due to the dissolution of CO2 in water. On the other hand, global warming is the long term gradual increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere. Both ocean acidification and global warming are two negative effects of human activities. Thus, this is the summary of ocean acidification and global warming.
1. Richards, Cory, and Michael Melford. “What Is Global Warming?” What Is Global Warming, Facts and Information?, 25 Feb. 2019, Available here.
2. “Ocean Acidification.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, Available here.
1. “WOA05 GLODAP del pH AYool” By Plumbago – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Change in Average Temperature” Von NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio, Key and Title by Eric Fisk – (Gemeinfrei) via Commons Wikimedia