Gases dissolve in water at cold temperatures but solids dissolve in water at warm temperatures? Is this because of the geometrical properties of Carbon, Oxygen, and Hydrogen? Also, is it better to dissolve carbon dioxide in the water and kill coral or dissolve it in the air which leads to global warming?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Dissolve it in air inside a greenhouse. The plants will love it. $\endgroup$
    – Steeven
    Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 17:37
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe corals will adapt, an is not so bad after all noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2013/20131029_coral.html $\endgroup$
    – anna v
    Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 18:42
  • $\begingroup$ I think it's somehow concerned with the fact that atoms in solids are slower then in water, but in gases they are faster. $\endgroup$
    – kelin
    Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 21:15
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    $\begingroup$ Your last question: you don't get a choice, it equilibirates across the surface of the oceans. $\endgroup$
    – pjc50
    Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 23:21
  • $\begingroup$ There is a detailed answer to solubility here chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/64886/…. The $\ce{CO2} when dissolved will still be in equilibrium with that in the air. $\endgroup$
    – porphyrin
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 9:33

3 Answers 3


When most gasses dissolve into a solution it's an exothermic process. The gas molecules give up energy to do so. An increase in temperature leads to an increase in kinetic energy. Higher kinetic energy causes the gas molecules to break their intermolecular bonds and escape from solution. Note I say solution and not water. It's not just water that has this property.

Your third question isn't really a physics question and so I'll leave it to the ethicists, biologists, etc.


Experimentally it has been found that dissolution of a gas in a liquid is an exothermic process.

Gas + Liquid -> Gas/Liquid + heat (∆H = -ve)  ....(i)

So according to Le Chatelier's principle, if I decrease the temperature, the reaction will move in that direction which doesn't let this change (decrement in this case) take place. For that to happen the temperature has to be increased which can happen if the reaction (i) proceeds towards the forward direction. Therefore the gas dissolution will increase on decreasing the temperature.

An interesting fact: cold water supports aquatic life because if the temperature is low then the dissolution of gases will increase i.e, the dissolution of oxygen will increase and the fish will get a high supply of oxygen.

On the other hand, if the temperature is increased the dissolution of gas will decrease and there will be less supply of oxygen.

So, fish prefer to live in cold water than in warm water.


H-TS is the formulation of the free energy.

Temperature is what decides the importance of entropy. Since gases are not polar, in other words gases are hydrophobic, dissolving them in water has an entropic cost. When temperature is increased, this cost is bigger.

  • $\begingroup$ This. Entropy is the quantity that governs the behaviour; yes, Le Chatelier can be used to describe it directly in terms of temperature, but that doesn't really explain why/how this happens. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 12, 2017 at 12:40
  • $\begingroup$ @leftaroundabout I know nothing about physics, you can write a good answer about this. $\endgroup$
    – user143115
    Commented Feb 12, 2017 at 12:49
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    $\begingroup$ What? You just wrote the correct answer, evidently you do know something about physics... $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 12, 2017 at 12:57

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