What is ocean acidification? Every day, the ocean absorbs approximately one-third of the carbon dioxide we put into the atmosphere when we burn fossil fuels and clear land. When carbon dioxide dissolves in seawater, it becomes an acid. This acid is lowering the pH of ocean water. pH is an important vital sign of ocean health, and its rapid change raises a red fl ag. Scientists refer to this shift in ocean chemistry as ocean acidifi cation.
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