What Is Ocean Acidification?

A cartoon crash course

What Is Ocean Acidification?

There’s a chemical change under way in our oceans. It's called ocean acidification. As the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, it's becoming more acidic—eroding the shells of marine life like oysters, clams, and urchins, which are vital to the food web.

Scientists predict that ocean acidification could wipe out most coral reefs by the middle of this century, and it’s affecting other animals, too. The good news is that, if we reverse course, the ocean should regain its chemical balance. If not, well, the truth will be a lot scarier than fiction.

Nationally syndicated cartoonist Jim Toomey, creator of Sherman's Lagoon, has joined forces with The Pew Charitable Trusts to illustrate "ocean acidification" and other terms associated with our oceans.

Watch the full ocean terms video series.

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A Visual Glossary of Ocean Terminology

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Ocean conservation is essential but sometimes difficult to understand. Pew joined forces with cartoonist Jim Toomey, the artist behind “Sherman’s Lagoon,” on 10 animated videos that explain the complicated concepts that guide efforts to protect our oceans.