Impacts of Climate Change

collapse Topic : Causes of Climate Change ‎(2)
Cyclical and Natural Changes
Human-Caused Changes
collapse Topic : Climate System ‎(12)
Atmospheric Circulation
Atmospheric Composition
Carbon Cycle
Climate Compared to Weather
Climate Feedbacks
Global Energy Balance
Greenhouse Effect
Ocean and Climate
Orbital Cycles
Regional Climates
Solar Radiation
Water Cycle
collapse Topic : Human Responses to Climate Change ‎(3)
Personal Responsibility
Risk Management
Social Values
collapse Topic : Impacts of Climate Change ‎(13)
Agricultural Changes
Economic Impacts
Ecosystem Changes
Extreme Weather
Freshwater Resources
Great Lakes Impacts
Melting Ice and Permafrost
Ocean Warming and Acidification
Plants and Animals
Public Health
Sea Level Rise
Surface Temperature Warming
collapse Topic : Measuring and Modeling Climate ‎(2)
Climate Modeling
Gathering and Measuring Climate Data

Ocean Warming and Acidification  

Increased greenhouse gas outputs decrease the pH of seawater.

  • In water, absorbed carbon dioxide becomes a weak carbonic acid. Since the Industrial Revolution, the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has already lowered the average pH of seawater by .1 units, to 8.2 on the 14 point scale. Projected future output could lower the pH an additional .5 units by 2100. This level has not been seen for millions of years.

  • Increasing acidity can negatively impact corals and other organisms with calcium carbonate shells. Acidification may also have direct negative impacts on the growth and development of fish and plankton. (


Changes in ocean temperatures have global impacts.

  • As ocean temperatures warm, species that prefer specific temperature ranges may relocate. Some organisms, like corals, are sedentary and cannot relocate with changing temperatures. If the water becomes too warm, they can experience a bleaching event. 

  • Warmer water expands and causes more ice melt, both of which lead to sea level rise.  Higher sea level and warmer ocean temperatures can alter ocean circulation and current flow, increase the frequency and intensity of storms, alter habitat and impact weather worldwide. (