Skip to comments.Global warming turning sea into acid bath (Warning: Hyperbolic overload!)
Posted on 06/08/2008 5:22:50 PM PDT by markomalley
Increasing carbon dioxide emissions could leave species such as coral and sea urchins struggling to survive by the end of the century because they are making the oceans more acidic, research led by British scientists suggests.
The study of how acidification affects marine ecosystems has revealed a striking impact on animal and plant life. The findings, from a team led by Jason Hall-Spencer, of the University of Plymouth, indicate that rising carbon emissions will alter the biodiversity of the seas profoundly, even before the effects of global warming are taken into account.
Greater concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere mean that more of the gas becomes dissolved in seawater, increasing its acidity. This will have good consequences for some species, but be catastrophic for others.
Dr Hall-Spencer's team investigated the likely effects of acidification by studying natural underwater vents off the coast of Italy, where carbon dioxide bubbles up through the sea floor. This makes the water around the vents significantly more acidic than it is in surrounding areas.
The study, published in the journal Nature, shows that certain species are very badly affected by rising acidity. Corals of the Caryophyllia, Cladocora and Balanophyllia varieties, for example, were common in on the sea bed in the region, but absent close to the vents. Sea urchins and sea snails were also affected badly by the high acidity.
Other species, including sea-grass and a type of algae known as Sargassum, thrived as the extra carbon dioxide has a fertilising effect. This extra growth, however, can be damaging to other sea life - Sargassum is an alien invasive species, carried to the region in the ballast of shipping.
The research team is the first to use natural underwater carbon dioxide vents to assess how acidity caused by the gas influences sea life. Our field studies provide a window on the future of the oceans in a high CO2 world, Dr Hall-Spencer said.
We show the dramatic ecological consequences of ocean acidification including the removal of corals, snails and sea urchins and the proliferation of invasive alien algae.
Our observations verify concerns, based on laboratory experiments and model predictions, that marine food webs will be severely disrupted and major ecological tipping-points are likely if human CO2 emissions continue unabated.
This appraisal of life in a more acidic ocean was if anything conservative, Dr Hall-Spencer said, because it mimicked future ecosystems only partially.
The acidity around carbon dioxide vents can be reduced by rough conditions, which dilute the water - something that would not happen if the whole ocean was highly acidic.
The researchers also noted that while fish continued to swim through more acidic waters, they avoided breeding or spawning in them. That isn't a problem at the moment, as they can go elsewhere, Dr Hall-Spencer said. But in a more acidic ocean there will be no escape.
Global warming will also have an independent impact on sea life, by raising ocean temperatures.
God help us all!
I can feel my wallet getting $45T lighter even as I type!
There may be some truth to this. I went to the beach this weekend, and when I returned my skin was red and sensitive to the touch.
My god, the “biodiversity” of the oceans is in jeopardy. The “biodiversity.” I mean, our small, dull, purposeless lives are NOTHING in comparison to the “biodiversity” of the oceans. Nothing.
These kinds of revelations are important when you are terrified of having to look for a REAL job and you rely on government funding to stay employed. Tell ‘em what they want to hear and the money will continue rolling in.
The good news is that higher ocean temperatures cause degassification which means that the oceans will release carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, lowering seawater acidity.
These stories all have the caveat “could leave”. The word “could” is used quite extensively in these stories.
I think they’ve been “doing acid”
It's too late, it's already happening!!!!!!!
It must be true! I was at the beach today and I saw a skeleton of a fish! It had to be acid, what else could it be?
A Junior High student won a award and the drawing was published in all the major local papers where the claim was made that sea levels will rise two-hundred feet, with the addition of that much fresh water the acidity ought to drop.
Can’t we just dump giant Tums tablets into the ocean?
Couldn’t be. It must have been acid rain, or smog, or excessive bites by sand mites, or possibly some rare disease not discovered yet by WHO or UN.
We are all doomed.
That must mean the erf PRODUCES CO2! We're doomed.
“The good news is that higher ocean temperatures cause degassification which means that the oceans will release carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, lowering seawater acidity.”
This is why the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere is rising, after the earth warms up. Hi C02 levels is an effect not a cause.
So I was hungry and through my garbage on the beach. Big deal.
I am the product of the public education system and I meant to say threw instead of through.
It seems there is no way to stop these out of control CO2 emissions. It does appear that we are indeed doomed.
Good catch, Libloather.
Whoa!!! The first paragraph is decisive!
Even easier, a global redistribution of several $Trillion seems to be what will solve the problem.
“...what else could it be? “
OK, someone help me here.
Supposedly, fossil fuels came from dead plants and animals.
Plants get their carbon from CO2 in the air, through photosynthesis. Animals get their carbon by eating plants.
So all of the fossil fuels were at one time CO2 in the atmosphere.
Was the ocean acidic back then, when life started on earth? If so, how did life get started? If not, then how can we be ruining the earth by burning fossil fuels?
I believe that ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica have shown that CO2 concentrations are cyclic, that they rise 300-800 years after the global temperature increases (that is, they don’t cause global warming), and that the concentration has been higher in the past than it is now.
Why do the crackpot scientists get the headlines?
Same thing you get when you drink a Coca Cola or other carbonated soft drink only the ocean version is very highly diluted.
In this section of our web site we maintain an ever-expanding archive of the results of peer-reviewed scientific studies that report the growth responses of plants to atmospheric CO2 enrichment. Results are updated weekly and posted according to two types of growth response (Dry Weight and Photosynthesis). If you are an author of a CO2-enrichment study that is not included in our data base and would like to have your results posted here, or if you are aware of such a study, please send us a copy of the peer-reviewed journal article and we will incorporate its findings into our database as soon as possible.
Dry Weight (Biomass)
Photosynthesis (Net CO2 Exchange Rate)
Carbon Dioxide and the "Climate Crisis" - Reality or Illusion?
An Investigative Documentary by CO2Science
Just like when a fine porterhouse has good consequences for me but not so good for the cow. Makes me hungry just thinking about it.
Did you just HAVE to ruin a good story with simple solubility curves that have been in the CRC since the 1950s?
Sheesh. How they gonna get another grunt now? You must be anti-science.
I saw some women running around without bathing suits to! The acid must have eaten away the swimsuits!
This is getting serious.
"Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the product of oceanic respiration due to the well-known but under-appreciated solubility pump. Carbon dioxide rises out of warm ocean waters where it is added to the atmosphere. There it is mixed with residual and accidental CO2, and circulated, to be absorbed into the sink of the cold ocean waters. Next the thermohaline circulation carries the CO2-rich sea water deep into the ocean. A millennium later it appears at the surface in warm waters, saturated by lower pressure and higher temperature, to be exhausted back into the atmosphere. Throughout the past 420 millennia, comprising four interglacial periods, the Vostok record of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is imprinted with, and fully characterized by, the physics of the solubility of CO2 in water, along with the lag in the deep ocean circulation.
Notwithstanding that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, atmospheric carbon dioxide has neither caused nor amplified global temperature increases. Increased carbon dioxide has been an effect of global warming, not a cause. Technically, carbon dioxide is a lagging proxy for ocean temperatures. When global temperature, and along with it, ocean temperature rises, the physics of solubility causes atmospheric CO2 to increase.
If increases in carbon dioxide, or any other greenhouse gas, could have in turn raised global temperatures, the positive feedback would have been catastrophic. While the conditions for such a catastrophe were present in the Vostok record from natural causes, the runaway event did not occur. Carbon dioxide does not accumulate in the atmosphere."
The graph above represents temperature and CO2 levels over the past 400,000 years. It is the same exact data Al Gore and the rest of the man-made global warmers refer to. The blue line is temps, the red CO2 levels. The deep valleys represent 4 separate glaciation periods. Now look very carefully at this relationship between temps and CO2 levels and keep in mind that Gore claims this data is the 'proof' that CO2 has warmed the earth in the past. But does the graph indeed show this? Nope. In fact, rising CO2 levels all throughout this 400,000 year period actually lagged behind temperature increases ...by an average of 800 years! So it couldn't have been CO2 that got Earth out of these 4 past glaciations. Yet Gore dishonestly and continually claims otherwise.-ETL
"The above chart shows the range of global temperature through the last 500 million years. There is no statistical correlation between the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere through the last 500 million years and the temperature record in this interval. In fact, one of the highest levels of carbon dioxide concentration occurred during a major ice age that occurred about 450 million years ago. Carbon dioxide concentrations at that time were about 15 times higher than at present.":
So, greenhouse [effect] is all about carbon dioxide, right?
Wrong. The most important players on the greenhouse stage are water vapor and clouds. Carbon dioxide has been increased to about 0.038% of the atmosphere (possibly from about 0.028% pre-Industrial Revolution) while water in its various forms ranges from 0% to 4% of the atmosphere and its properties vary by what form it is in and even at what altitude it is found in the atmosphere.
In simple terms the bulk of Earth's greenhouse effect is due to water vapor by virtue of its abundance. Water accounts for about 90% of the Earth's greenhouse effect -- perhaps 70% is due to water vapor and about 20% due to clouds (mostly water droplets), some estimates put water as high as 95% of Earth's total tropospheric greenhouse effect (e.g., Freidenreich and Ramaswamy, 'Solar Radiation Absorption by Carbon Dioxide, Overlap with Water, and a Parameterization for General Circulation Models,' Journal of Geophysical Research 98 (1993):7255-7264).
The remaining portion comes from carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, ozone and miscellaneous other 'minor greenhouse gases.' As an example of the relative importance of water it should be noted that changes in the relative humidity on the order of 1.3-4% are equivalent to the effect of doubling CO2.
Water Vapor Rules the Greenhouse System
Water vapor constitutes Earth's most significant greenhouse gas, accounting for about 95% of Earth's greenhouse effect (4). Interestingly, many 'facts and figures' regarding global warming completely ignore the powerful effects of water vapor in the greenhouse system, carelessly (perhaps, deliberately) overstating human impacts as much as 20-fold.
Water vapor is 99.999% of natural origin. Other atmospheric greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and miscellaneous other gases (CFC's, etc.), are also mostly of natural origin (except for the latter, which is mostly anthropogenic).
Human activites contribute slightly to greenhouse gas concentrations through farming, manufacturing, power generation, and transportation. However, these emissions are so dwarfed in comparison to emissions from natural sources we can do nothing about, that even the most costly efforts to limit human emissions would have a very small-- perhaps undetectable-- effect on global climate.
There seems to be growing evidence that global warming is highly correlated to solar cycles. This makes it imperative for the anti-capitalism crowd to identify some other global catastrophe caused by burning fossil fuels before the global cooling sets in.
If you look at the chart below, you will see that sunspot activity (during solar maxes--the individual peaks) has been relatively high since about 1900 and almost non-existent for the period between about 1625 and 1725. This period is known as the Maunder (sunspot) Minimum or "Little Ice Age".
From BBC News [yr: 2004]:
"A new  analysis shows that the Sun is more active now than it has been at anytime in the previous 1,000 years. Scientists based at the Institute for Astronomy in Zurich used ice cores from Greenland to construct a picture of our star's activity in the past. They say that over the last century the number of sunspots rose at the same time that the Earth's climate became steadily warmer."..."In particular, it has been noted that between about 1645 and 1715, few sunspots were seen on the Sun's surface. This period is called the Maunder Minimum after the English astronomer who studied it. It coincided with a spell of prolonged cold weather often referred to as the "Little Ice Age". Solar scientists strongly suspect there is a link between the two events - but the exact mechanism remains elusive."
It's really hard to imagine how this little ball of fire could have any impact on our climate at all.
But the main arguments being made for a solar-climate connection is not so much to do with the heat of the Sun but rather with its magnetic cycles. When the Sun is more magnetically active (typically around the peak of the 11 year sunspot cycle --we are a few yrs away at the moment), the Sun's magnetic field is better able to deflect away incoming galactic cosmic rays (highly energetic charged particles coming from outside the solar system). The GCRs are thought to help in the formation of low-level cumulus clouds -the type of clouds that BLOCK sunlight and help cool the Earth. So when the Sun's MF is acting up (not like now), less GCRs reach the Earth's atmosphere, less low level sunlight-blocking clouds form, and more sunlight gets through to warm the Earth's surface...naturally. Clouds are basically made up of tiny water droplets. When minute particles in the atmosphere become ionized by incoming GCRs they become very 'attractive' to water molecules, in a purely chemical sense of the word.-Eye On The Left
There's a relatively new book out on the subject titled The Chilling Stars. It's written by one of the top scientists advancing the theory (Henrik Svensmark).
And here is the website for the place where he does his research:
2008: "The Center for Sun-Climate Research at the DNSC investigates the connection between variations in the intensity of cosmic rays and climatic changes on Earth. This field of research has been given the name 'cosmoclimatology'"..."Cosmic ray intensities and therefore cloudiness keep changing because the Sun's magnetic field varies in its ability to repel cosmic rays coming from the Galaxy, before they can reach the Earth." :
100,000-Year Climate Pattern Linked To Sun's Magnetic Cycles:
ScienceDaily (Jun. 7, 2002) HANOVER, N.H.
Thanks to new calculations by a Dartmouth geochemist, scientists are now looking at the earth's climate history in a new light. Mukul Sharma, Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences at Dartmouth, examined existing sets of geophysical data and noticed something remarkable: the sun's magnetic activity is varying in 100,000-year cycles, a much longer time span than previously thought, and this solar activity, in turn, may likely cause the 100,000-year climate cycles on earth. This research helps scientists understand past climate trends and prepare for future ones.
I have sent an email to this “author” letting it know it is certifiably insane.
So...like...why don't they just plant some more trees?
I see. Studying 'natural underwater vents'....on the Italian Riviera...in summer. Right.
You fools! Stop studying the vents and start plugging them. There's millions to be made from the carbon credits. We must stop these carbon belching vents or the earth is doomed.
You are correct. I think that is a clue they are lying or "could" would be replaced with "is."
But then again, remember, the definition of the word "is" was brought into question during the Clinton administration.
So, what happened to marine life the last time CO2 levels were this high or higher?
It’s for real. Some scientists actually do know what they are talking about - more so than some anonymous posters on a website, I’ve heard...
OH MY G_D!
My dog took a sip of that salt water at the beach today, and started puking and wretching! I had to give him beer from the cooler!
Its true, the ocean is turning into acid!
Call Stephen King!
Humbug. Warming water with disolved CO_2 causes the CO_2 to effervesce out. (As a pointed example, beer goes flat sooner when it’s warm.) This is why throughout geologic history CO_2 levels are a trailing indicator of global mean temperature.
I did not notice anywhere in the article that backed up the statement that “indicate that rising carbon emissions will alter the biodiversity of the seas profoundly,” has actually happened. All I saw was that a study was done because there are areas in the seas and oceans that naturally emit carbon Dioxide.
Here is my question: Are the areas around these natural emission preventing some types of life from being in the area? or are these areas more acidic because those types of life forms are not in the area (in other words, this has nothing to do with carbon emissions)?
Also, I did not find any reason to think that more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would, necessarily be absorbed into the ocean and sea water. This appears to be a presumption without any evidence backing it up.
The Ocean is the Ultimate Solution
The End Times have arrived. Prepare the Kool Aid!
where is this happening?? i need to know to, uh, avoid that area.
A “wow” bump.