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Ocean acidification question

  1. Jun 16, 2009 #1
    Hi. I've been doing some reading about ocean acidification lately, and there is one concept that I don't understand, and that I can't find a good explanation for. This is a good forum, and I hoped that you could help me.

    When I read about ocean acidification on Real Climate's post on this topic they say:
    "The natural pH of the ocean is determined by a need to balance the deposition and burial of CaCO3 on the sea floor against the influx of Ca2+ and CO32- into the ocean from dissolving rocks on land, called weathering. These processes stabilize the pH of the ocean, by a mechanism called CaCO3 compensation. CaCO3 compensation works on time scales of thousands of years or so."

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.ph...em-with-cosub2sub-emission/langswitch_lang/wp

    I understand that this is a critical point about the whole process, which you need to consider to understand how fast and massive release of CO2 will make the oceans more acid, while slow and massive release (like what have in the past) don't need to create the same effect.

    But I do not understand WHY the CaCO3 compensation works so slowly. Can anyone help me by explaining this, or direct me to a good informative site?

    Oh, and: The RealClimate post is based on this research: Caldeira, K., and Wickett, M.E. Anthropogenic carbon and ocean pH. Nature: 425, 365, 2003.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 16, 2009 #2
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