Skip to comments.A Rising Tide of Acid Off California
Posted on 06/25/2012 1:27:18 AM PDT by neverdem
Humanity's use of fossil fuels sends 35 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. That has already begun to change the fundamental chemistry of the world's oceans, steadily making them more acidic. Now, a new high resolution computer model reveals that over the next 4 decades, rising ocean acidity will likely have profound impacts on waters off the West Coast of the United States, home to one of the world's most diverse marine ecosystems and most important commercial fisheries. These impacts have the potential to upend the entire marine ecosystem and affect millions of people dependent upon it for food and jobs.
About one-third of the carbon dioxide (CO2) humans pump into the atmosphere eventually diffuses into the surface layer of the ocean. There, it reacts with water to create carbonic acid and release positively charged hydrogen ions that increase the acidity of the ocean. Since preindustrial times, ocean acidity has increased by 30%. By 2100, ocean acidity is expected to rise by as much as another 150%.
Declining pH of seawater reduces the amount of carbonate ions in the water, which many shell-building organisms combine with calcium to create the calcium carbonate that they use to build their shells and skeletons. The lower carbonate availability, in turn, decreases a measure known as the saturation state of aragonite, an easily dissolvable mineral form of calcium carbonate that organisms such as oyster larvae rely on to build their shells. If the aragonite saturation state falls below a value of 1, a condition known as undersaturation, all calcium carbonate shells will dissolve. But trouble starts well before that. If the aragonite saturation state falls below 1.5, some organisms such as oyster larvae are unable to harvest enough aragonite to build shells during the first days of their lives, and they typically succumb quickly.
These changes are particularly worrisome for global ocean regions known as eastern boundary upwelling zones. In these regions, such as those along much of the West Coast of the United States, winds push surface water away from the shore, causing water from the deep ocean to well up. This water typically already has naturally high levels of dissolved CO2, produced by microbes that eat decaying algae and other organic matter and then respire CO2. Along the central Oregon coast, for example, when summer winds blow surface ocean waters offshore, a measure of the amount of CO2 in the water known a partial pressure rises from a few hundred to over 2000, causing ocean acidity to spike.
But oceanographers still didn't have a good handle on how rising atmospheric CO2 levels would interact with CO2 rich waters that upwell naturally. So for their current study, researchers led by Nicolas Gruber, an ocean biogeochemist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, decided to look closely at what's likely to happen in an upwelling region known as the California Current System off the West Coast of the United States. They constructed a regional ocean model that ties together what's going on in the atmosphere and the ocean. Because this model focused on the California Current System, Gruber and colleagues were able to give it a resolution 400 times that of conventional global ocean models. In their model, the Swiss team considered different scenarios of CO2 emissions over the next 4 decades and linked these to CO2 produced in the ocean due to respiration.
The buildup of atmospheric CO2 will rapidly increase the amount of undersaturated waters in the upper 60 meters of ocean, where most organisms live, the team reports online today in Science. Prior to industrialization, undersaturation conditions essentially did not exist at this top layer in the ocean. Today, Gruber says, undersaturation conditions exist approximately 2% to 4% of the time. But by 2050, surface waters of the California Current System will be undersaturated for half of the year.
Perhaps just as bad, however, aragonite saturation will fall below 1.5 for large chunks of each year. This could spell doom for Pacific oysters, a $110 million-per-year industry on the West Coast, as well as for other shell-building organisms that are sensitive to changes in ocean acidity, says Sue Cudd, owner of the Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery on Netarts Bay in Oregon. Another species likely to face difficulty are tiny sea snails known as pteropods, which are a vital food source for young salmon.
The new results are "alarming," says Richard Feely, a chemical oceanographer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, Washington. "It's dramatic how fast these changes will take place."
George Waldbusser, an ocean ecologist and biogeochemist at Oregon State University, Corvallis, says it's not clear precisely how rising acidity will affect different organisms. However, he adds, the changes will likely be broad-based. "It shows us that the windows of opportunity for organisms to succeed get smaller and smaller. It will probably have important effects on fisheries, food supply, and general ocean ecology."
I like turtles.
One would expect that actual scientists would state measurements of acidity in terms of pH, not nebulous percentages.
Cry-st. It just doesn’t end.
Damned if you do, Damned if don’t do.
Damned no matter what. .
“Now, a new high resolution computer model,” predicts more doom from CO2.
MarxistScienceNOW says so, so it must be true!.
Legacy of Timothy Leary...
Oh, you mean it doesn't come from billions of Chinese burning coal in the open air? It isn't sulfuric acid?
Silly me. I thought CO2 was chemically neutral. Ah, well, what do I know? I guess I have a just basic understanding.
The ocean is becoming a little less basic, not a seething cauldron of acid.
Gee; I wonder who was out there off the California coast prior to the industrial era taking these measurements and recording the results for posterity so these Green Leftists could use them to condemn the capitalist industrialist for destroying the world ecosystem.
I has to be from humans. That way more money and control can be wrested from citizens
Do not mention the many underwater volcanoes and such that spew acids into the oceans every single day.
I wonder how sea life made their shells back in the Cambrian era when the CO2 concentration was about ten time what it is now.
“will likely have profound impacts”
“have the potential”
“likely to happen”
“could spell doom”
“likely to face difficulty”
“it’s not clear”
“likely be broad based”
“probably have important effects”
And best of all is the happy coincidence that massive new taxes and regulations, every totalitarian leftist's wet dream, will fix this problem.
So this is the next gambit for the Leftists, in order to gain control of industry?
I suppose there’s lots of historical data to support the “trend”? Underwater tree rings? Seaweed rings?
And, oh boy, another computer model. But this one has 400x better “resolution”, whatever that it.
Solid, scientific factoid statements of the leftist morons.
One would expect that actual scientists would state measurements of acidity in terms of pH, not nebulous percentages. You know... Sciencey stuff.Any "science story" involving "global warming" is automatically suspect in my mind.
First of all, I strongly believe that 99% of such "stories" originate with an intended conclusion.
The author says to him/herself, "what new global warming angle can I invent that will set me apart from the others and help advance my career?"
Then, once an interesting now approach is figured out, the "research" begins. I am 100% sure that in 99% of all "global warming studies" the initial research phase is a long, tedious process of cherry-picking data to fit the pre-determined, career-enhancing conclusion. In a large majority of those "stories", some stuff just has to be "slipped in" that isn't even true, just to make the cherry-picked data more consistent.
So with this story, as with all other "global warming stories", I have two questions:
!. What is the author leaving out?
2. What lies has the author told?
I don’t know anything either.
But I always thought that more CO2 would mean more photosynthesis, more green plant material. After all, if you want to enhance the production of roses in a greenhouse, you add, that is ADD MORE CO2.
More little plants, microscopic, in the ocean, the more the little animal grow and reproduce, more plankton for the whales and then the whales poop, and poop is more acidic.
Ever drank real old almost spoiled orange juice. It has bacteria and everything that is on the animal side rather than on the plant side....well, they poop and poop is acidic.
Plants on the other hand, give off O2 which is essentially their poop and we can breathe that.
That is why God made plants and animals. I’m not real sure who made liberals.
The fraud has a couple of other dimensions as well....
The World Elite...having created the European and American welfare state mess with gargantuan deficits, had always intended to pay it down with the taxes on carbon-essentially on breathing.
The “scientists” are merely the useful idiots needed to try to bludgeon a reluctant electorate and state legislators with a barrage of hyper-nonsense about the issue.
What that means is that this model is capable of generating 400x larger research grants.
Good point. It’s not just about individuals trying to advance their careers by being trained monkeys coming up with novel new ways to dance to the masters’ global warming organ grinder music.
It’s more organized than that. The establishment has a desperate need — in terms of both power politics and economic viability — to make the AGW theory “work”.
For those “scientists” who think a little more acidity in the ocean is harmful, may I suggest that they are the ones who believe in “evolution”.
From over population, to global cooling, to acid rain, to global warming, to climate change, to acid ocean, to...
So man makes 35 billion metric tons of CO2 each year? Really? That would be 7 metric tons per man woman and child. This comes to 43 lb. per day per human. I don’t think so
Guess the scientists have dried up the government atmosphere study teat.
They’ve graphed everything possible.
Time to find a different boogeyman and get the milk flowing again.
New studies, new graphs, new grants. more money.
Since preindustrial times, ocean acidity has increased by 30%. By 2100, ocean acidity is expected to rise by as much as another 150%.
The percentage of pH change makes no sense at all. What does it mean, to use a linear scale to describe a change in logarithmic value?
Declining pH of seawater reduces the amount of carbonate ions in the water, which many shell-building organisms combine with calcium to create the calcium carbonate that they use to build their shells and skeletons. The lower carbonate availability, in turn, decreases a measure known as the saturation state of aragonite, an easily dissolvable mineral form of calcium carbonate that organisms such as oyster larvae rely on to build their shells.
Carbon dioxide dissolves in water to create carbonic acid:
CO2 + H2O <--> H2CO3
H2CO3 then dissociates to become HCO3- and CO32-.
The rightmost chemical in that series is carbonate ion.
All four forms of carbon dioxide exist in aqueous solution, with the proportions determined by pH, temperature, and gaseous concentration of CO2.
(We take advantage of this equilibrium to control our blood pH: when it drops (from increased carbon dioxide production through increased exertion), we breathe faster so as to shed more carbon dioxide and raise the pH.)
More CO2 dissolving in the ocean *will* decrease oceanic pH. That's simple chemistry. But the whole picture is a bit more complicated than that.
All the ionic forms of carbon dioxide (CO2, H2CO3, HCO3-, and CO32-) coexist in an aqueous environment. Since the proportions must stay constant for a given temperature and pressure, removal of carbonate by sea animals causes more carbon dioxide to shift to the other forms. Seaweeds and algae also remove carbon dioxide, causing a shift from the other forms back to carbon dioxide. The process is highly dynamic.
I highly object to the alarmism. The carbon cycle has been operating for millions of years. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have increased and decreased periodically for millions of years, with an overall decrease (see my profile: at some point, there won't be enough to sustain life). All carbon dioxide that we use was once in the atmosphere. Sure, it's valuable to know exactly what happens in the ocean during periods of higher and lower carbon dioxide concentrations, but nothing merits getting hysterical over noting a higher or lower concentration right now.
Before I read the article, I have to ask “how the hell did this study come under the title of SCIENCE?”
It should be filed under the category of “FICTION.”
With that said, I will now read the article.....but I already know what’s it’s about.....hint.....GREEN.
That approach totally discounts mitigating conditions ~ most of which we've not yet discovered, but prior experience tells us are there.
I have a computer model that says that over the next 40 years the California appetite for oysters will disappear due to the failure of the municipal sewage systems as the entire nation of Mexico as as 40% of the population of Central America and most of Columbia relocate to Los Angeles county.
Some things really stress them out ~ like, for example, the raising and lowering of the world ocean level by hundreds of feet during and after the Ice Ages (we've had 20 of 'em in recent times).
There are still coral around, and there are scientists who study coral.
This particular model is focused on oysters ~ which is easy ~ and of some commercial interest to somebody somewhere.
Coral are not of much interest to anyone but scientists who study coral.
"They" want your attention so they've threatened something you like ~ presumably oysters.
Actually, I'm not that hot on oysters either ~ more likely to boil up some coral in fact.
Swimmers peeing in the ocean will now be fined 50 billion dollars. You get to be the monitor.
” will likely have profound impacts
have the potential
likely to happen
could spell doom
likely to face difficulty
its not clear
likely be broad based
probably have important effects “
You forgot, “Women and children hardest hit” and “Bush’s fault”.
Well global warming didn’t work so the hysterocracy needs a new cause. Finally, something they can worry about and march for... Thank heavens the scientists have again come to the rescue saving us from CO2.
BARF, more sudo Science lies.
“The relationship is obvious to the casual observer.” Isn’t that the line they always gave in college?
I wonder how they explain the reefs in the Coral Sea, which are so numerous and so shallow that you can just stick your head under water while standing to observe what takes SCUBA equipment elsewhere. Very warm water, lots of resort islands, loads of tourists and good sized cities along the Australian coast and yet: coral mounts, so close together they are a hazard to navigation and so shallow they receive lots of UV, evolved there and have existed for millions of years.
Every few years there is a breathless report of environmental peril to the Great Barrier Reef. It survives.
I believe a nuclear war would trim the CO2 levels.
Perhaps that’s a case the lib’s could make, for Israel attacking Iran?
They could endorse this man-made solution for their imagined man-made problem.
Oh wow man...it's like...ACID...dude.
A little soda ash will take care of this emergency :^)
Another BS Greenie angle. I NEVER believe ANYTHING they say now.
This is how we wasted billions on the global warming nonsense!!
What about us minorities and poor folks?
I'll try harder!