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Shipping contributes to ocean acidification

Journal article
Authors Ida-Maja Hassellöv
David R. Turner
A. Lauer
J.J. Corbett
Published in Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 40
Issue 11
Pages 2731–2736
ISSN 0094-8276
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology
Pages 2731–2736
Language en
Keywords Ocean acidification, Shipping, Sulfur oxides, Nitrogen oxides
Subject categories Marine ecology


The potential effect on surface water pH of emissions of SOX and NOX from global ship routes is assessed. The results indicate that regional pH reductions of the same order of magnitude as the CO2-driven acidification can occur in heavily trafficked waters. These findings have important consequences for ocean chemistry, since the sulfuric and nitric acids formed are strong acids in contrast to the weak carbonic acid formed by dissolution of CO2. Our results also provide background for discussion of expanded controls to mitigate acidification due to these shipping emissions.

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