Home / Feature / Ocean albedo – climate

Ocean albedo – climate

Fatema Miah:

I explained albedo process  before.  Here let’s talk about oceans.  Oceans are vast actor in the earth and in albedo effect it plays  biggest part again.  I will write few more  articles on oceans per it’s the biggest subject matter of climate.

Our oceans play a vital part to our earthy living. As  we are aware of that oceans cover 70% of the planet’s surface, in which actually contains 99% of the living space for living species on our planet because of its depth. So they contain a large portion of the global biodiversity. It’s about 250,000 species living in the ocean that we know about, there are plenty more that we haven’t discovered yet, because the oceans are so deep and difficult to explore.

The oceans work and tackles  our atmospheric  carbon emmission.  Oceans absorbs a third of the atmospheric carbon dioxide, and this has always been the case and natural phenomena regardless of carbon dioxide levels increasing. So as carbon dioxide dissolves into seawater, it reacts with water to form carbonic acid, and this carbonic acid is really unstable and quickly dissociates into two ions, bicarbonate and hydrogen ions, and it’s the concentration of hydrogen ions in seawater that determine its pH.

The pH of seawater at the moment is about 8.1. Now as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere increase, the amount of bicarbonates and also hydrogen ions in sea water is also increasing. However, the ocean has a natural buffering system. It’s called the carbonate buffer. carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and therefore, the oceans at a rate, which is exceeding the rate at which carbonate ions are being put into the ocean and so there’s less carbonate available now to soak up those hydrogen ions and this is causing the pH of the ocean to fall. Since the Industrial Revolution, the pH of the ocean has fallen by 0.1 of a pH unit.

pH is measured on a logarithimic scale, so that’s equivalent to a 30% increase in hydrogen ion concentration in the sea water, and because the ocean has been so stable for so long, that 30% increase in hydrogen ions is a bit of a shock to the marine animals living there. Now, if we continue to release carbon dioxide into our atmospheres at the rates that we’re predicting at the moment, we’re looking at a pH change of about 0.3 to 0.4 of pH units by the end of this century and it is equivalent to about 120% increase in hydrogen ions.

I wrote few years ago about oceans vast capacity of heat absorption. Lets explain it. The ocean has helped slow the rate of global warming and other effects of climate change by absorbing both carbon dioxide and heat energy. Whilst the ocean has a vast capacity to absorb our pollution and waste, this is leading to a range of detrimental impacts. Since l have explained the greenhouse gases and albedo effect on the lithosphere and hydrosphere, here is the play of ocean.

Approximately one quarter of man-made carbon dioxide emissions are taken up by the oceans, with another quarter taken up by the land biosphere and the remaining half accumulating in the atmosphere. The ocean surface acts like a sponge by dissolving carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. At higher latitudes, where oceans cool and water sinks, this carbon dioxide sinks into the deep ocean. The calcifying organisms in shallow waters and the  Coral reefs are particularly works to feedback loop of decarbonising and photosynthesising.

As I included in another article previously about work and importance of sea coral; they as well as photosynthesise they fight against the rising sea storms and  tornadoes to minimises it’s strength before reaches up to shore level. And many other species produce the nutrients to the oceans and sea to maintain a healthy environment. Also they part of food chain.

There are many types of corals and species in the water ways across the globe.  There are el Nina and la Nina water thermohaline natural system under our oceans which I have explained previously.  There are different climatic parts on the different sites of hemispheres the oceans falls on  such as water under current and glaciers parts making them the extreme hot and cold parts  on the earth and the water is divided by their own currents and so the species are living as ethnically within their own climatic environment.

The full depth of the  oceans not yet accurately discovered and many more species and coral mature to be discovered yet said our marine expertise scientists. Thus what already been  discover are many and already  seems to be suffering.  Our oceans indeed matter of earth and they are our ecological vital part for our human health  living on earth. Our oceans are suffering and need attention.

Fatema Miah, Solihull, uk. fatemamiah@mail.com