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Re: ??? pCO2

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Mar 10, 2005, 5:23:03 PM3/10/05
On 2005-02-04 02:55:01 +0000, Ed Earl Ross <> said:

> My chemistry stopped with an introductory college course--I'm not a
> chemist. I want to understand the sentence below, and need a little
> help?
> "It is now well established that there is a strong possibility that
> surface ocean pCO2 levels will double over their pre-industrial values
> by the middle of this century, with accompanying surface ocean pH and
> carbonate ion decreases that are greater than those experienced during
> the transition from glacial to interglacial periods."
> My question, has to do with the process of CO2 dissolving in water.
> I thought that CO2 dissolved in water produces carbonates, but this
> statement appears to invalidate that belief.
> What is pCO2?
> What symbol represents carbonate?
> Does the decrease in pH effect carbonates.
> Thanks!

pCO2 represents the partial pressure of gaseous carbon dioxide
dissolved in the ocean. It is just a notation used to represent the
concentration of CO2.

CO2 dissolves in water to form carbonic acid. Carbonic acid dissociates
to give, hydrogen ions which lead to a decrease in pH and the carbonate

I hope this helps. I am not a chemist. I'm a clinical biochemist and my
answer is based upon my knowledge of renal physiology.

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