The Impact that Climate Change will have on our Oceans and Potable Water

Climate change not only affects our atmosphere but our oceans and lakes as well. Due to increase of CO2 in our atmosphere, our oceans absorbs most the excess excess CO2, causing the oceans to become acidic. Marine life and their ecosystems are at risk due to the impact acidification has, an example is coral reef bleaching. “Ocean acidification is known to have an adverse impact on sea life, particularly shellfish, whose shells erode in acidic waters. Ocean acidification is also harming another groups of animals, stunting the growth of coral reefs, which are already under threat from warming oceans.” (Griggs, 2016) Due to the decreasing PH level of ocean waters, the calcification rate of coral reefs drop accordingly, retarding the growth of corals. “In a study published today in Nature, researchers led by Rebecca Albright and Ken Calderia showed that by changing the chemistry of the seawater flowing over a shallow reef back to pre-industrial conditions, they could encourage the corals to grow more. For 22 days the group pumped water with pink dye over a section of the Great Barrier reef that was separated from the rest of the ocean at low tide, creating a natural laboratory. For 15 days, they also added an alkaline solution in order to made the ocean waters less acidic like they were a few hundred years ago. When the water was less acidic, the corals grew more, showing that ocean acidification has been contributing to the slowed coral growth researchers had been observing for decades.” (Griggs, 2016)

Acidification not only effects Ocean marine life but also affects potable ground water. Once spring water reaches a low PH level, it is no longer suitable for human consumption. Ground water in “the city of Douala show signs of acidification with average pH range of 3.8–6.8… Principal component analysis in combination with hydro geochemical studies revealed that four main factors are responsible for the groundwater chemistry and acidity: (1) acid atmospheric deposition, (2) anthropogenic activities (industrial effluent discharges and acid spill, (3) chemical weathering, and (4) coastal atmospheric deposition/cation exchange. In general, the shallow groundwater is not suitable for drinking and domestic purposes with respect to the low pH and elevated nitrate concentration. In view of the implications such as increase in corrosion and increased mobilization of toxic elements (e.g. Al, Pb, Cu, Zn, Mn) as well as their possible harmful effect on health, it is recommended that the causes, rate of acidification and the mobility of trace elements be investigated with more details.” (Takem et al.,2015) Due to the effects that acidification can have on both marine life, resources and potable water, dropping PH levels due to CO2 emissions remain hazardous to human, animal and marine life.


Works Cited

AULAKH, R. (2014, 05 06). Climate change a threat to ‘human health and well-being,’ U.S. report warns. Retrieved from

Griggs, M. B. (2016, 02 24). Researchers Repair Coral Reef By Sending Ocean Water ‘Back In Time’. Retrieved from Popular Science:

Takem, G., Kuitcha, D., Ako, A., Mafany, G., Takounjou-Fouepe, A., Ndjama, J., . . . Ayonghe, S. (2015). Acidification of shallow groundwater in the unconfined sandy aquifer of the city of douala, cameroon, western africa: Implications for groundwater quality and use. Environmental Earth Sciences, 74(9), 6831-6846. doi:10.1007/s12665-015-4681-3

Vince, F., Aoustin, E., Breant, P., & Marechal, F. (2008). LCA tool for the environmental evaluation of potable water production. Desalination, 220(1-3), 37-56. doi:10.1016/j.desal.2007.01.021






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