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Assignment 3 - Acidification

(Total: 31 Marks)


Attend the Assignment 3 Tutorial + Read over the slides


7. 5% of your final mark



Monday July 11 th



Monday July 18 th , in the Envir Sc 1C03 drop box, on the 2nd floor of GSB no later than 4:30 p.m.


The ocean is a carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) sink, meaning it takesup CO 2 through chemical and biological processes. As more CO 2 is released into the atmosphere through human industrial activity, more CO 2 is absorbed by the ocean. This has resulted in the ocean becoming more acidic (decrease in pH), a process known as acidification.

Acidification is a major environmental concern as a decrease in ocean pH makes it more difficult for shellfish, corals, and plankton to build their calcium carbonate (CaCO 3 ) exoskeletons and can even result in their dissolution. These organisms are critically important in maintaining the ocean’s food webs. If the ocean continues to become more acidic, and these food webs collapse, this could also have a substantial impact on human populations, who rely on the oceans as a source of food.

Acid rain is another acidification process that affects inland aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Industrial activity has resulted in the formation of acids in rainwater, including nitric acid (HNO 3 ), nitrous acid (HNO 2 ) and most notably sulphuric acid (H 2 SO 4 ). Acid rain can destroy building materials and statues, decrease biological diversity in ecosystems and affect entire food chains.

Acidity is measured using the pH scale which is a function of the concentration of Hydrogen Ions (H+) in solution. The scale is logarithmic, meaning that even seemingly small changes in pH are substantial. For example, water with a pH 4 is 10 times more acidic than water with a pH 5 and 100 times more acidic than water with a pH 6. The application of more basic (higher pH) materials such as calcium and magnesium rich substances can be used to neutralize acid in soils and aquatic ecosystems. This process is known as liming.

In this assignment, you will watch a video on Ocean Acidification and answer a series of questions. You will also complete a series of calculations to determine how much CaCO 3 must be added to soil after an acid precipitation event in order to neutralize the soil acidity.

Assignment 3 – Acidification Envir Sc 1C03




Video Questions

(17 Marks)

1. How is human industrial activity impacting the ocean’s pH?

2. How will ocean acidification impact oceanic species?

3. Why are coral reefs in double jeopardy?

(3 Marks)

(3 Marks)

(2 Marks)


How can we make the oceans more resilient on a local scale? List 3 ways.

(3 Marks)

5. List three alternative energy sources that can be used to decrease CO 2 pollution. (3 Marks)

6. List three things that you as an individual can do to decrease CO 2 emissions.

(3 Marks)

Acid Neutralization/Liming

(14 Marks)

Complete the steps in the spaces below. Show all of your work! For help, see the Lab podcast.

7. 500 mm of pH 2.2 rain falls on 200m x 400m of soil. Complete the steps below to determine how much CaCO 3 must be added to the soil to neutralize the rainfall.

Step 1: Calculate the volume of rainwater that has fallen on the soil in Litres (L). Report your

(2 Marks)

value as a whole number.

Step 2: Calculate the concentration of H + ions in moles/L. Report your value with 2 significant


(1 Mark)

Step 3: Calculate the total number of moles of H + ions. Report your value as a whole number . (2 Marks)

Step 4: Calculate how many kilograms of CaCO 3 is needed to neutralize the H + ions. Report

your value as a whole number .

(5 Marks)

Molecular weight of CaCO3 :

Kilograms of CaCO3 required :

8. Why are 2 valence electrons accounted for in the equation in Step 4 above?

(2 marks)

9. If sodium Hydroxide, NaOH, (where Na + + OH NaOH) was used to neutralize the acid rain instead of CaCO 3 , how many hydrogen ions would each molecule of NaOH neutralize?

(2 marks)

Explain your reasoning.