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Regional State of the Coast Report

Western Indian Ocean

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The Regional State of Coast Report for the western Indian Ocean (WIO) is the first comprehensive regional synthesis to provide insights into the enormous economic potential around the WIO, the consequential demand for marine ecosystem goods and services to match the increasing human population, the pace and scale of environmental changes taking place in the region and the opportunities to avoid serious degradation in one of the world’s unique and highly biodiverse oceans.

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Ocean-sourced carbonate production

Globally, atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is exchanged with the surface ocean through a gas exchange mechanism which is driven by the partial pressure differences in carbon dioxide between the air and the sea (Ciais and others, 2013). Once in the ocean, the production of carbonates is a process that is governed by a series of chemical reactions as described by Doney and others (2009). Carbon dioxide dissolves in sea water (H2O) to form carbonic acid (H2CO3). This then dissociates to form bicarbonate ions (HCO3), hydrogen ions (H+) and carbonate ions (CO3). These reactions are reversible and are in an equilibrium state in seawater which has a pH of around 8.1 (Doney and others, 2009). At this pH, approximately 90 per cent of the inorganic carbon is in the form of bicarbonate, 9 per cent exists as carbonate and 1 per cent is in the form of dissolved carbon dioxide (Doney and others, 2009).

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