The carbon dioxide which enters the sea reacts with the carbonate already present to form hydrogen carbonate. You can look at this reaction happening with a simple experiment.
First get a small glass of limewater (calcium hydroxide solution) from your teacher, then breathe into it with a straw. What do you see?
1. Breathe into a small glass of limewater with a straw. (Photo: Hetland vgs)
2. What do you see? (Photo: Hetland vgs)
Your breath contains CO2 and this CO2 reacts with the limewater to form insoluble calcium carbonate:
This reaction is often used to show the presence of CO2.
If you keep blowing into the solution, the white precipitate disappears and the solution becomes clear again. This is the reaction which happens when CO2 enters sea water:
Find out more about GAIA and the CLAW hypothesis.
Use an encyclopedia, the Internet or a science book (your teacher can help you find material).
3. James Lovelock, who launched the Gaia hypothesis, in front of a statue of the Greek goddess of the Earth, Gaia. (©Copyright photo EFN - Environmentalists For Nuclear Energy www.ecolo.org)
About this page:
authors: Dr. Ellen K. Henriksen and Camilla Schreiner - University of Oslo, Norway
scientific reviewer: Dr. Lucinda Spokes - Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, U.K.
last update: 2004-03-27.