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Ocean Buffer Chemistry


A video micro-lecture that explains carbonate buffering in the ocean. It includes discussions on the changes in the chemical composition of the ocean caused by a higher concentration of dissolved CO2,ocean acidification and the resulting effect on ocean biota.

Students will learn how oceans behave as carbon sinks by absorbing atmospheric CO2, and how ocean pH levels are maintained owing to the buffering capacity of seawater. They will also learn how increased levels of atmospheric CO2 and the resultant higher CO2 concentration in seawater, an excess of free hydrogen (H+) ions leads to ocean acidification and sequestration of more carbonate (CO32-) ions to keepthe system in equilibrium.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to:

  1. Describe carbonate buffering in the ocean.
  2. What is ocean acidification?
About Tool
Tool NameOcean Buffer Chemistry
DisciplineChemistry, Environmental Sciences, Earth Sciences
Topic(s) in DisciplinepH Scale, Hydrosphere, Carbon Chemistry, Carbonate Buffering, Carbonic Acid, Buffer Capacity, pH, Acids and Bases, Buffer Range, Ocean Acidification
Climate TopicClimate and the Hydrosphere, Climate and the Atmosphere
Type of toolVideo
Grade LevelHigh School, Undergraduate
Translation     –
Developed byProf. David Archer, University of Chicago
Hosted atUniversity of Chicago
Computer SkillsBasic

Mapped Sustainable Development Goal(s), apart from 4 and 13


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