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Acidity levels on West Coast rising faster than scientists had estimated (We're doomed-maybe-yep)
The Oregonian ^ | May 23, 2008 | SCOTT LEARN

Posted on 05/23/2008 8:50:11 AM PDT by crazyhorse691

A study finds that greenhouse gases combined with a natural carbon cycle are threatening sea life

Scientists have known for a while that greenhouse gases associated with global warming steadily make ocean water more acidic, a threat to coral, shellfish and smaller shell-forming creatures that serve as food for young salmon and other fish.

On Thursday, a team of researchers from the Northwest and elsewhere delivered worse news: The acidity is much higher than expected in the ocean just off the West Coast, hitting the relatively shallow waters of the fruitful continental shelf during spring and summer.

Result: Modern life, dependent on burning fossil fuel, is throwing the ocean a serious challenge with unknown long-term consequences.

The findings are "truly astonishing," said Richard Feely, an oceanographer with the federal Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle and one of the authors of the study, published online in the journal Science. Ocean life and coastal economies could be "vulnerable much sooner than anyone suggested," Feely said, and more acidic water "may be seriously impacting marine life on our coast right now, today."

The researchers cruised the Pacific in May and June of last year on an Oregon State University research boat, taking samples of coastal water from Canada to Mexico.

They were surprised to find high acidity water at low depths. Near Crescent City, Calif., about 20 miles south of the Oregon border, they found water at the ocean's surface with an acidity level high enough to inhibit shell growth, something scientists didn't expect to find until 2050.

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming by trapping heat in the atmosphere. Oceans have helped offset that effect by absorbing about a third of the carbon dioxide produced by humans, the researchers said. But carbonic acid forms when carbon dioxide reacts with water, increasing the ocean's acidity, or lowering its pH. At a pH of about 7.75, shells begin to dissolve faster than their hosts can create them.

Burke Hales, an OSU professor of chemical oceanography and a member of the research team, said the year to year increases in acidity are small and more study needs to be done on their biological effects.

There's a huge seasonal variation in acidity along the West Coast, sea creatures have likely been exposed to elevated levels for some time, and some organisms could adjust well to higher acidity -- "it may not be that we're talking about wholesale death and destruction," he said.

But West Coast waters are naturally up to the brink of acidity levels hospitable to many shellfish and other ocean organisms, Hales and other researchers said. And the system is changing much faster than it has in the past.

The natural system has put us close to the edge," Hales said. Manmade emissions "are starting to push us over."

Shallow nearshore waters naturally rise in acidity in spring and summer, when the northwest winds blow and colder, deeper carbon-rich water rises up along the coast. Deep water, farther away from atmospheric oxygen and beneath organisms that produce carbon dioxide, naturally has higher carbon levels and acidity.

But the sampling indicated that manmade carbon emissions boosted the carbon content of the upwelled water by roughly 10 percent, the researchers said, enough to increase acidity and push the shallow waters to the tipping point.

Were it not for the manmade emissions, the depth at which shellfish are in danger would have been 150 feet deeper coastwide, the researchers said, keeping it off much of the continental shelf. It would not have reached the surface anywhere.

The disturbing twist, Hales said: The upwelled waters the researchers measured in 2007 were last at the ocean's surface -- and absorbing manmade carbon dioxide -- 50 years ago.

Given steep increases in carbon dioxide emissions since the 1950s, the long-term cycle means spring and summer acidity levels are likely to rise for another 50 years off the West Coast, he said, no matter what steps are taken to reduce carbon emissions now. The chemical signature of the carbon dioxide makes clear it is from fossil fuel combustion and not natural sources such as volcanoes, the researchers said.

Periodic dead zones along the coast will also amplify carbon loads and acidity as organisms decay.

"This is where the train has left the station," Hales said. "We've got 50 years' worth of corrosive water on the way. How the system will react, we don't know."

The research team included scientists from Mexico, Canada and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. To see a free abstract of their report, "Evidence for Upwelling of Corrosive 'Acidified' Water onto the Continental Shelf," go to www.sciencemag.org/sciencexpress/recent.dtl.

Scott Learn: 503-294-7657; scottlearn@news.oregonian.com. For environment news, go to: oregonlive.com/environment


TOPICS: Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: climatechange; coastalenvironment; environment
I am sure that if the Feds gave them a 50 year research grant that they could probably figure out a way to postpone our demise... until the money runs out.
1 posted on 05/23/2008 8:50:13 AM PDT by crazyhorse691
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To: crazyhorse691

I’m so glad we’re all gonna die and the sweet animals will inherit the ravaged earth and make it better again.


2 posted on 05/23/2008 8:57:38 AM PDT by BOBTHENAILER (One by one, in small groups or in whole armies, we don't care how we do it, but we're gonna getcha)
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To: crazyhorse691

Bump!


3 posted on 05/23/2008 8:57:38 AM PDT by Spunky (You are free to make choices, but not free from the consequences)
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To: crazyhorse691; WL-law; Genesis defender; proud_yank; FrPR; enough_idiocy; rdl6989; IrishCatholic; ..
((Greenhouse Gas)))

 




Beam me to Planet Gore !

4 posted on 05/23/2008 8:58:23 AM PDT by steelyourfaith
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To: crazyhorse691
Anything bad in the pacific Coast starts from China. They should sample the water off the coast of China to answer the cause of their angst.
5 posted on 05/23/2008 8:59:09 AM PDT by LoneRangerMassachusetts
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To: crazyhorse691

The sky is falling....the sky is falling....!!!!! Sarc. LOL


6 posted on 05/23/2008 9:01:22 AM PDT by Nextrush (MCCAIN, OBAMA, CLINTON......WHAT A CHOICE?)
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To: crazyhorse691
"Result: Modern life, dependent on burning fossil fuel, is throwing the ocean a serious challenge..."

Really? Are submarine volcanos taboo to talk about?


7 posted on 05/23/2008 9:01:55 AM PDT by avacado
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To: crazyhorse691
Ocean life and coastal economies could be "vulnerable much sooner than anyone suggested," Feely said, and more acidic water "may be seriously impacting marine life on our coast right now, today."

sea creatures have likely been exposed to elevated levels for some time, and some organisms could adjust well to higher acidity -- "it may not be that we're talking about wholesale death and destruction," he said.

Given steep increases in carbon dioxide emissions since the 1950s, the long-term cycle means spring and summer acidity levels are likely to rise for another 50 years off the West Coast

Rock solid science I tell ya ...

8 posted on 05/23/2008 9:03:29 AM PDT by tx_eggman (Privatizing profits and socializing losses is no way to run an economy)
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To: BOBTHENAILER
I’m so glad we’re all gonna die and the sweet animals will inherit the ravaged earth and make it better again.

Well it would be even better if we could restore the Indians Native Americans to the land, because the are such good stewards as opposed to the evil white man.

9 posted on 05/23/2008 9:04:08 AM PDT by w1andsodidwe (Jimmy Carter(the Godfather of Terror) allowed radical Islam to get a foothold in Iran.)
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To: crazyhorse691

The enviro-wackos are starting to see the writing on the wall.
Their globull warming hoax is about to fall apart and they
need a new one.

Mike


10 posted on 05/23/2008 9:05:50 AM PDT by doublecansiter
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To: crazyhorse691
Amazing how global warming picks and chooses where it wants to warm. Funny how the Gulf of Mexico somehow was able to cool last year, thus preventing the biblical hurricanes Algore said we would have.

I am, however, preparing for the worst, though, since global warming has decided to cause tornadoes during the spring months. Unprecedented, I tell you.

I do predict that global warming will cause the temps to rise in the next few months, then take a break around late september.

11 posted on 05/23/2008 9:08:55 AM PDT by GOPyouth (3 liberals: 2 who will surrender. 1 who will fight. All for illegals and believe in Global Warming.)
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To: avacado

Oh no, all those vents fissures and volcanoes have no effect at all. Its all man’s fault and we have to fix this right now. Give us money! Mike


12 posted on 05/23/2008 9:12:40 AM PDT by doublecansiter
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To: crazyhorse691
"Scientists have known for a while that greenhouse gases associated with global warming steadily make ocean water more acidic, a threat to coral, shellfish and smaller shell-forming creatures that serve as food for young salmon and other fish."

And let's see - this has happened how many hundreds of times over the life of the planet?...And we still have little fishies, and shrimps, and crabs, and oysters........

13 posted on 05/23/2008 9:13:49 AM PDT by Hebrewbrother (Dissent - The Highest Form Of Patriotism.....source unknown...BTDMIAS!)
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To: crazyhorse691
This was described in the Soylent Cooperation Oceanographic Survey of 2011. The rising acidity level of the oceans destroyed the plankton the human species relied upon for its food. It became necessary to find another source of protein for its most popular product, Soylent Green.
14 posted on 05/23/2008 9:17:23 AM PDT by megatherium
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To: w1andsodidwe
This is what happened on Mars after thousands of years of ignoring the warnings from Algor. ;-)
15 posted on 05/23/2008 9:22:56 AM PDT by ANGGAPO (LayteGulf BeachClub)
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To: crazyhorse691

16 posted on 05/23/2008 9:23:11 AM PDT by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: w1andsodidwe

yer right...I fergot that one.


17 posted on 05/23/2008 9:24:33 AM PDT by BOBTHENAILER (One by one, in small groups or in whole armies, we don't care how we do it, but we're gonna getcha)
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To: crazyhorse691

I’ve always been under the impression that carbonate (-co3)was a natural buffer that resisted large changes in pH.


18 posted on 05/23/2008 9:24:57 AM PDT by VanShuyten ("Ah! but it was something to have at least a choice of nightmares.")
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To: avacado

Is that a REAL picture, or a photo shop? Just wondering...


19 posted on 05/23/2008 9:25:14 AM PDT by goodnesswins (Liberals learning curves are pretty flat,)
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To: Libertina; dragonblustar; steel_resolve; angry elephant; snowsprite; American in Israel; Horusra; ..
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Say WA? Evergreen State ping

FReepmail sionnsar if you want on or off this ping list.

Ping sionnsar if you see a Washington state related thread.

20 posted on 05/23/2008 9:27:59 AM PDT by sionnsar (trad-anglican.faithweb.com |Iran Azadi| 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY) | UN: Useless Nations)
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To: crazyhorse691

Result: Modern life, dependent on burning fossil fuel, is throwing the ocean a serious challenge with unknown long-term consequences.


unknown ... consequences..................


21 posted on 05/23/2008 9:29:34 AM PDT by PeterPrinciple ( Seeking the truth here folks.)
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To: doublecansiter; crazyhorse691
Unless all of these vents and volcano's are being stoked with coal and cord wood then they are not producing CO2 like you might think. Try SO2, which is not good either but it is not what the AlGoreites are fleecing us with!
22 posted on 05/23/2008 9:30:53 AM PDT by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: goodnesswins

It’s real. It’s the Kavachi submarine volcano.

Here’s a bunch of shots: http://www.thewildernesslodge.org/kavachi_images.htm


23 posted on 05/23/2008 9:41:36 AM PDT by avacado
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To: crazyhorse691
(Phone rings)

Hello, Al Gore here.

(Voice on phone) Al, I've been delegated by the "consensus of scientists" to tell you some bad news. Our climate models are all wrong. It turns out the oceans are much better at absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere, than our models predicted.

(A.G.) What! That could really cut into my sales of carbon credits. Wait a minute. There must be something bad that we can say about this. Think man, think!!

(Voice) Well -- we could say that the CO2 will make the oceans more acidic.

(A.G.) Acidic! I love it! People will imagine their flesh falling off when they take a dip in the ocean. This is even scarier than the Styrofoam icebergs I used in my movie. Start sending out the press releases now.
24 posted on 05/23/2008 9:54:02 AM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: crazyhorse691
I want to see how much the 3 million underwater volcanoes are contributing to acidity of water before I'm going to buy this flim flam claim about "greenhouse gases". The information is not likely to be forthcoming as it doesn't fit the agenda or the preconceived conclusions of the environmentalist nut jobs.
25 posted on 05/23/2008 9:55:19 AM PDT by Myrddin
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To: crazyhorse691

We’re all doomed . . . Again . . . Ho Hum.
It’s snowing in Flagstaff, AZ today. On top of the 4” we got last night. Some global warming!


26 posted on 05/23/2008 10:07:04 AM PDT by NaughtiusMaximus (Bible toting, bitter and armed with slashing sarcasm.)
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To: crazyhorse691

we should tell the west coast not to Pee in the ocean


27 posted on 05/23/2008 10:11:25 AM PDT by jrd
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To: doublecansiter

The original argument was that the oceans had warmed and couldn’t absorb any more CO2 which is contributing to the rise in the atmosphere; now they say that more CO2 is from the air is adding to the the measured levels in the oceans.

Since it is well accepted that cold water holds more carbon than warm water we must then conclude that the cooling of the water is the primary reason of the seasonal highs in acidity and therefore the warming oceans (now measured to be cooling) should be removed from the original models or accepted that there has been a cessation of overall warming.

I think their argument has reached the tipping point.


28 posted on 05/23/2008 10:13:17 AM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: Myrddin

The theory is that by analyzing the amounts of C-14 vs C-12 they can “date” the age of the carbon, the older the source carbon before combustion, the more likely it came from fossil fuels which is what we burn in the industrial engine and our motorboats, cars etc.

This only works for the absorbed CO2 from the atmosphere, not from underwater contributions.

Since the release clearly states that nothing we do at this point will reverse any near-future damage because the tiny amounts being absorbed daily will take hundreds of years to cycle through the air-sea transport the authors offer no mitigation schemes nor do they address this study’s effect on climate models.

It’s too bad that a respected journal such as Science has signed on to the press-release marketing syndrome.


29 posted on 05/23/2008 10:26:37 AM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: avacado

Those are great pictures at that website, but how smart are those guys in that little boat taking pictures that close to AN ERUPTING VOLCANO?!?


30 posted on 05/23/2008 12:19:44 PM PDT by VanShuyten ("Ah! but it was something to have at least a choice of nightmares.")
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To: VanShuyten

Those were my thoughts too! Sitting on top of an erupting volcano just might have gotten them Darwin Awards. They were lucky.


31 posted on 05/23/2008 12:23:28 PM PDT by avacado
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To: NaughtiusMaximus

Looked at the videos on your home paper. Pretty sad. My wife and I visited Flagstaff last October. Pretty area, too bad it gets so cold in the Winter ....and Spring.


32 posted on 05/23/2008 4:20:59 PM PDT by driftless2
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