Visualization: pH Levels of Oceans and Atmospheric CO2

A visualization that allows students to explore changes in the pH levels of oceans for different levels of atmospheric CO2. It includes visualizations of CO2 concentrations corresponding to various emission scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The simulation enables students to visualize the global pH value of oceans for a given concentration of atmospheric CO2. Students can vary the atmospheric CO2 levels to observe the corresponding changes in the pH value of the oceans. Students can also observe the graphs for concentrations of various species of carbonate ions in (i) a closed system and (ii) an open ocean; and those depicting the pH value of oceans for various atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Further, students can select different Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES) projection options and visualize the corresponding predicted ocean pH value on the pH indicator strip or on the aforementioned graphs.

Note: Detailed information about SRES projections can be obtained at

Use this tool to help students find answers to:

  • What is ocean acidification?
  • Discuss the possible global impact of higher levels of atmospheric CO2 on the pH of oceans.

About the Tool

Tool Name Surface Ocean pH Levels
Discipline Chemistry, Environmental Sciences
Topic(s) in Discipline pH Scale, Carbonates, Ocean Acidification, Carbon Emissions
Climate Topic Climate and the Hydrosphere, Climate and the Atmosphere
Type of Tool Visualization
Grade Level High school, Undergraduate
Location Global
Language English
Developed by Kristen Tjostheim, Matt Price, Darrell Vandenbrink, Ashley Ritter, Joseph Zondervan, Rachel Hislop-Hook, Mckenzie Oliver, Tyler Deboon, Marc-Olivier Lajeunesse Dr. Peter Mahaffy, Dr. Brian Martin, and Dr. Kristopher Ooms.
Hosted at The King’s Centre for Visualization in Science
Link Link
Access Online
Computer Skills Basic