The heartbreak of Emiliania huxleyi 

From San Francisco State University  another indication that nature is such a poor engineer that phytoplankton can’t adapt to a small change in ocean pH. But then again it is a closed lab experiment, not the ocean, and there’s those weasel words of “might”, “could”, and “may”.

Researchers explore plankton’s shifting role in deep sea carbon storage

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 13, 2011 — The tiny phytoplankton Emiliania huxleyi, invisible to the naked eye, plays an outsized role in drawing carbon from the atmosphere and sequestering it deep in the seas. But this role may change as ocean water becomes warmer and more acidic, according to a San Francisco State University research team.

In a study published this week in the journal Global Change Biology, SF State Assistant Professor of Biology Jonathon Stillman and colleagues show how climate-driven changes in nitrogen sources and carbon dioxide levels in seawater could work together to make Emiliania huxleyi a less effective agent of carbon storage in the deep ocean, the world’s largest carbon sink.

Changes to this massive carbon sink could have a critical effect on the planet’s future climate, Stillman said, especially as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continue to rise sharply as a result of fossil fuel burning and other human activities.

While floating free in the sunny top layers of the oceans, the phytoplankton develop elaborate plates of calcified armor called coccoliths. The coccoliths form a hard and heavy shell that eventually sinks to the ocean depths. “About 80 percent of inorganic carbon trapped down there is from coccoliths like these,” said Stillman.

Stillman and his colleagues wanted to discover how ocean acidification and changes in the ocean’s nitrogen cycle—both hallmarks of climate warming—might effect coccolith development. So they raised more than 200 generations of Emiliania huxleyi in the lab, adjusting carbon dioxide levels and the type of nitrogen in the phytoplankton’s seawater bath.

They found that high levels of carbon dioxide—which make the water more acidic—along with a shift in the prevailing nitrogen type from nitrates to ammonium—”had a synergistic effect” on the phytoplankton’s biology and growth.

In particular, coccoliths formed under conditions of high carbon dioxide and high ammonium levels were incomplete or hollow, and contained less than the usual amount of inorganic carbon, the researchers noted.

“The ratio of inorganic to organic carbon is important,” Stillman explained. “As inorganic carbon increases, it adds more ballast to the hard shell, which makes it sink and makes it more likely to be transported to the deep ocean. Without this, the carbon is more likely to be recycled into the Earth’s atmosphere.”

“Our results suggest in the future there will be overall lower amounts of calcification and overall lower amount of transport of carbon to the deep ocean,” he added.

Emiliania huxleyi typically use nitrates to make proteins, but this form of nitrogen may be in shorter supply for the phytoplankton as the world’s oceans grow warmer and more acidic, Stillman and colleagues suggest. In the open ocean, nitrates are upwelled from deep waters, but a thickening layer of warmer surface water could inhibit this upwelling. At the same time, the warmer temperatures favor bacteria that turn recycled nitrogen from surface waters and the atmosphere into ammonium, and acidification inhibits the bacteria that turn ammonium into nitrate.

“It is likely that in the future, the ocean surface will contain more ammonium,” which the phytoplankton will assimilate instead of nitrates, Stillman suggested. “Metabolizing nitrogen as ammonium versus nitrates requires different biochemical constituents that impact how well the cells make their coccoliths. They will survive just fine, but their biology will be different as a result.”

The study by Stillman and colleagues is the first to look at the intertwined effects of ocean acidification and changes in nitrogen on phytoplankton like Emiliania huxleyi. It’s also one of the first studies to observe these effects continuously over a long time scale, “so the responses of the phytoplankton are likely what we’ll see in the ocean itself,” Stillman said.

Stephane Lefebrve, the SF State postdoctoral student who developed the experiments for the study, said he is now looking for phytoplankton genes that “will help us to build the genetic blueprint of their responses to elevated carbon dioxide and a nitrogen source”

###

 

Lefebvre, Ina Benner, Alexander Parker, Michelle Drake, Pascale Rossignol, Kristine Okimura, Tomoko Komada, and Edward Carpenter, all from SF State’s Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies, were co-authors on the Global Change Biology study.

“Nitrogen source and pCO2 synergistically affect carbon allocation, growth and morphology of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi: implications of ocean acidification for the carbon cycle,” was published online in October by the journal Global Change Biology.

Jonathon Stillman and Stephane Lefebvre may be reached by contacting Nan Broadbent at SF State: nbroadbe@sfsu.edu or at 415-338-7108.

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151 Responses to The heartbreak of Emiliania huxleyi 

  1. Mike Bromley the Kurd says:

    “Weasel words”….now THAT is worth the price of admission. Excellent!

  2. Lonnie E. Schubert says:

    I love it, “inorganic carbon”. These researchers call shells made by living organisms inorganic, while many geologists refer to limestone as a biodeposit.

  3. Brian H says:

    Excellent! Less loss of CO2. Thanks, Emili!

  4. Jeff Alberts says:

    I think the press release could be classified as a, ahem, biodeposit.

  5. Werner Brozek says:

    According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_acidification
    the ocean pH will only reach 7.824 by the year 2100. This is still in the basic part and not in the acidic part. Then how can ocean water become “more acidic” if it was never acidic to begin with? Technically, I know what they are saying, but “less basic” would be more accurate. However that apparently does not sound scary enough nor does it evoke images of acid rain and dead fish.

  6. Mark Hladik says:

    And the effect on the carbonate compensation depth is … … ….

  7. Lew Skannen says:

    This process is so clear even the doziest schlub can see it.

    Create some random story which involves
    1. Your particular area of research interest
    2. A construction of points which implies some kind of eco-problem looming
    3. Some uncertainties which require further research
    4. Add in that new magic ingredient “Climate Change!!”

    and you will have the perfect funding application.

    I wonder whether there are any branches of science which don’t try and crowbar AGW into their funding requests.

  8. harry says:

    An acid donates protons.
    Oceans are alkaline and becoming slightly less alkaline, their tendency to donate protons is exactly zero and has been zero throughout the Industrial revolution.
    Oceans are not acidifying, they are becoming less alkaline.

  9. RockyRoad says:

    Man oh man, I’m SO glad Earth has maintained an absolutley constant temperature over all the globe–regardless of height of mountain or depth of sea, polar clime or equatorial jungle.

    Maybe that’s what causes “rotten ice”–it lasts just as long in the Sahara as it does in the Arctic as it does in the… Wait, are they intimating temperature is the same everywhere? They can’t be saying even the slightest itsy bitsy variation would upset the ecological balance past some tipping point beyond which there’s no return!

    /sarc

  10. Chris says:

    As soon as one sees the phrase “more acidic” (first paragraph), you know that this is yet more puerile ‘research’, and the remainder of the article is immediately rejected by this writer.
    At the risk of sounding pedantic, the phrase above is comparative, which implies that seawater is already acidic. Since when, may I ask?

  11. captainfish says:

    Ok, let me get this straight. These plankton create different carbon-based layers depending on the amount of CO2, and that difference is the amount of inorganic carbon pulled out of the CO2 molecule and utilized in the shell making?

    So, there are two types of CO2 molecules now? Organic and Inorganic? Does that mean we have two versions of Oxygen too? Organic oxygen and inorganic oxygen?

  12. “But this role may change as ocean water becomes warmer and more acidic, according to a San Francisco State University research team.”

    “Changes to this massive carbon sink could have a critical effect on the planet’s future climate, Stillman said, especially as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continue to rise sharply as a result of fossil fuel burning and other human activities.”

    ========================

    These people making the press release are, in terms of groupthink, dumber than the Stormtroopers. There is so much circular reasoning…it becomes a vortex.

    Obviously either i) they have to make homage to the Funding Gods or they wont get their money….or ii) they are just stupid.

    I think it is i). And I think it is the continued Groupthink Disorder of the whole CAGW scam.

    Groupthink Disorder is really a “collective” disease.

    Odd. We can build rockets to the moon, but sometimes we can’t rationally think ourselves out of a paper bag.

    Regards,

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  13. Ray says:

    Why the hell do they always want to store carbon for eternity? Once it is all stored that will be the end of all life on earth (at least life that depends on oxygen).

  14. James Sexton says:

    Only to echo the other commentators…….first, it isn’t shown the oceans are becoming less base. This should be shown, first, before we wet our pants about anything else that hinges on the ocean becoming less base. Secondly…….. inorganic carbon…….. :-) Ok, I’m going to resist the idea of e-mailing our friend with pages of “lol’s”, nor will I just dial the number and laugh hysterically into the phone. Instead, I’m going to play along……… if there’s such a thing as inorganic carbon, then tell me again how oil is finite? …….. naw, probably more productive just to call and laugh.

    Inorganic carbon……. I love it!

  15. Jeff D says:

    This one cracks me up.

    Guess now we have to have combinations of problems to create real big problems. Love what if’s.
    What if I put myself in a tank with high levels of CO2 and Ammonia? Pretty sure I am not going to grow very well either.

    As a reef keeper for over 30 years I have just a little bit of experience with the balancing act of carbonates and calcium as well as the aquatic nitrogen cycle.

    Lets stick with their premise for a sec that we are suffering from Global Warming. As the oceans warm we will get off gassing of CO2. Most skeptics “I think” are pretty sure a big part of the increase in CO2 is this off gassing from the oceans. As the CO2 levels of the ocean drop the PH will increase. This part is just from warming of the oceans. Lets add to this the huge amount of dissolved carbonates (buffering) the oceans have. Now lets include all the calcium carbonates from all the worlds sands and reefs ” old dead sections” . If the huge buffering capacity of the ocean gets a bit low we now have calcium carbonates that will dissolve and again provided buffering to the ocean water. So basically we will have to add so much acid to the water that we dissolve all the coral reefs and sands across the vast oceans to deplete the oceans ability to buffer itself. Not Gonna Happen… Well what if we get hit by a giant comet of CO2? Guess it could happen then but who would really care.

  16. MrV says:

    Anyone got a link to the paper?
    What is the definition of ‘high’ CO2 in their lab conditions? How do these compare to real world CO2 levels.

    Also I assume the ocean pH is not homogenous throughout the world, so are there real world observations of this species in varying real ocean conditions, or perhaps experiments using different samples of ocean water.

  17. Baa Humbug says:

    Firstly

    Dissolved inorganic carbon has a nutrient-like vertical profile due to uptake by phytoplankton. Concentrations are lowest in the Atlantic, where deep water sinks into the ocean depth, and higher in the deep waters of the Pacific as POC (Particulate Organic Carbon)sinks into the deep-sea and is remineralized to DIC (data). The titration alkalinity values increase as deep water flows along the conveyor. The increase in TAlk is driven, primarily, by dissolution of calcium carbonate shells sinking through the water column. The changes in TCO2 and TAlk drive large changes in the concentrations of (CO2), (HCO3-) and (CO32-), which are all chemical species of inorganic carbon.

    Secondly, I’ll see the Stillman study and raise it with the following…
    Feng et al (2008)

    In a somewhat similar study, Feng et al. (2008) grew the marine coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi — which they isolated from the Sargasso Sea — by semi-continuous culture methods at two different (low, high) light intensities (50 and 400 µmol photons/m2/sec), two different (low, high) temperatures (20 and 24°C), and two different (low, high) CO2 concentrations (375 and 750 ppm); and in doing so, they found that in the low-light environment, the chlorophyll a-normalized photosynthetic rates of the coccolithophores in all four temperature/CO2 treatments attained maximum values at an irradiance of approximately 200 µmol photons/m2/sec, where the maximum rate was lowest in the low-temperature, low-CO2 or ambient treatment, but was significantly increased by 55% by elevated temperature alone and by 95% by elevated CO2 alone, while in the high-temperature, high-CO2 or greenhouse treatment it was increased by 150% relative to the ambient treatment.

    And Halloran et al. (2008) at the same link

    Working with the same sediment core, Halloran et al. (2008) analyzed the size distribution of CaCO3 particles in the less-than-10-µm sediment fraction over the past quarter-century. This work revealed, as they describe it, “a changing particle volume since the late 20th century consistent with an increase in the mass of coccoliths produced by the larger coccolithophore species,” leading them to conclude that “in the real ocean the larger coccolithophore species increase their calcification in response to anthropogenic CO2 release [italics added],” contrary to what typically occurs in the lifeless “virtual ocean” of theoreticians who see bad consequences in nearly everything that could possibly be related to the historical rise in the air’s CO2 concentration. In addition, the four researchers state that this positive calcification response “could be attributed to an alleviation of CO2 limitation in species that partly rely on the diffusive supply of dissolved carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, as demonstrated by a rise in photosynthetic efficiency with increasing carbon dioxide in cultures of E. huxleyi (Rost et al., 2003).”

    There is no shortage of studies that reach the opposite conclusions to that of Stillman. One just needs to go to the CO2Science web site and punch in the term Emiliania huxleyi into their search facility and spend the next few hours reading and making up ones own mind.

    p.s. these critters we are talking about release Dimethylsulfides into the atmosphere, the very stuff that helps in cloud formation.
    So a warming world with more sunshine hours and CO2 increases the phytoplankton cycle which increases the cloud formation nuclei.
    Sounds like more of natures negative feedback to me.

  18. I was taught that adding ammonia (though this release spoke of ammonium, an ion) to water makes it more alkaline, contra to CO2 making it less alkaline, all other things being equal.
    Also, what is the source of the upwelling nitrate? Overall, in the oceans, there are many interacting oxidation-reduction rections who rates and equilibria are affected by, among other factors, temperature, ionic strength, co-factors (such as calcium ions), biogenic activity, light ….. An author simply cannot pluck out of the air an item like “upwelling nitrogen”. The full set of interacting redox reactions and cycles, as a minimum, has to be described, with uncertainties.
    Athough we are reading from a press release, some accuracy is required. “Coccoliths … contained less than the usual amount of inorganic carbon” is not scientific terminology. Did they contain less than the usual amount per creature, or less than the usual amount per diameter? Were the treated coccoliths made weaker so that they died and reproduced at a different rate, one that could increase the wight of sea floor deposition?
    One comes away no wiser.

  19. LazyTeenager says:

    Anthony says this:
    another indication that nature is such a poor engineer that phytoplankton can’t adapt to a small change in ocean pH.

    The article actually says this:
    They will survive just fine, but their biology will be different as a result.”

    The article is actually about how the balance between cell proteins and shell are affected by the carbon and nitrogen nutrient levels.

    Higher CO2 levels will produce less fixed carbon that will become sediment.

    In short the article is not about the survival of the plant. And the increased protein levels suggested by the research makes it a better food source in the food chain but it will upset the environments carbon budget.

  20. davidmhoffer says:

    Jeff D beat me to it.
    These poor plankton don’t have to worry about high levels of CO2 because, according to the IPCC, the warming will cause massive outgassing of CO2 from the ocean, so the CO2 levels will be lower, not higher.

    This in turn will cause massive increases in temperature, which will cause still more outgassing (a polite term for burping and farting). As the cycle reinforces itself, the plankton will obviously die, but of what? CO2 starvation? Or will the oceans boil away? Or can the plankton survive boiling? If so, for how long? Can they survive until there is no water left and then they die from drying out?

    I consulted the geological record to see if there was any measure of ocean PH during those time periods when CO2 levels were in the 10,000 PPM range, but alas, I couldn’t find anything. There was supposedly one paper that was published in print form only, but when I went to the university library to review it, there was only a note that it had been withdrawn by the editor and an apology submitted to Kevin Trenberth. At the bottom it said “PS – models are being constructed to analyze this matter and will be used to determine reality”

  21. Leon Brozyna says:

    It strikes me that “science by press release” is becoming “science for press release” and all the sloppy thinking that it contains.

    Just look at how the very sloppy reasoning has crept into science by constant references to the oceans becoming more acidic. They’d have to be acidic before they can become more acidic. Of course, it just wouldn’t carry the degree of panic desired to be precise and say that the oceans are becoming less alkaline. Heck, it almost sounds benign to say that the oceans, through increased absorption of carbon dioxide, are being neutralized and are becoming less alkaline.

    Come to think of it, speaking of the pH of the oceans sounds as silly as speaking of an imaginary global temperature.

  22. Luther Wu says:

    Pardon, but it’s uncertain whether there is even enough carbon on the planet to turn the ocean acidic and that’s just the first mistake leading up to this paper’s failing grade. So much is wrong with this piece of “work”- where to begin? if this paper were a high school science project, I could look kindly at the authors and offer some friendly advice. However, these “scientists” don’t even rate an “E” for effort.

  23. RandomReal[] says:

    One of the main problems that I have in the way that scientific results are communicated these days is the phenomenon of publication by press release. Usually, there is only a hint of what the study actually found since the work has to be condensed, and since this is a press release, some popular spin is attached to the work. What is most annoying is that usually the manuscript is behind a paywall (the evil empires of Wiley et al.) and is thus not accessible for the general public to read. Even more annoying in this case is the absence of a link to the paper: I had to go searching the journal’s web site and to find it. Moreover, given the proliferation of specialized journals, I would suspect that academics in modest sized institutions would not have immediate access. I only wish the general biology community would embrace something like the arXiv in which preprints and working papers could be deposited and accessed. All that being said, there is no way for me to intelligently comment on the results of the paper.

    A quick perusal of Google Scholar (the best way to find non-paywalled versions of articles) did provide some context. From a quick reading, a long standing question has been what limits the growth of these phytoplankton in high nutrient – low chlorophyll regions of the ocean. The leading suspect has been iron limitation. This reasoning follows from the observation that ammonia concentrations in HNLC regions are relatively low and thus confer an additional burden (increased requirement of reducing power) to the cells. In the absence of ammonia, cells have to reduce nitrates and nitrites to ammonia in order to assimilate nitrogen. Since Fe is used as a cofactor in the enzymes that reduce nitrates and nitrites to ammonia, the thought was that Fe-limitation limited nitrogen assimilation in high nitrate/low ammonia environments. There appears to have been much work on the physiology surrounding Fe availability and nitrogen assimilation. Unfortunately, the physiology of Emiliania huxleyi is complicated (I don’t know of any organism that has a simple physiology) and the mechanisms that determine growth rate and other physiological phenomena are poorly understood. Compounding this is the use of different isolates from different global locations that under similar conditions have a two-fold difference in maximal growth rates.

    It is within this context that the quote,

    “Metabolizing nitrogen as ammonium versus nitrates requires different biochemical constituents that impact how well the cells make their coccoliths.”

    struck me as odd. All microbes that I am aware of prefer ammonia as their source of nitrogen. Only under severe ammonia limitation will cells turn to other pathways to assimilate nitrogen from the environment. The basic pathway is NOx –> NH3 –> glutamine –> glutamate –> amino acid, nucleotides, etc. Having ammonia present usually results in the genes for Nitrate/Nitrite reduction being turned off. Indeed, it appears that growth rate is faster when ammonia is present, and faster growing cells have an increased cell volume. In bacteria, cell volume increases as the growth rate increases for the simple fact that faster growth requires more biosynthetic machinery (think ribosomes) to make more cellular constituents (and more synthetic machinery) and cell volume has to increase to fit the extra machinery.

    Reading beyond the press release and abstract, I suspect that increasing nutrient availability in the form of CO2 and NH3 leads to an increased growth rate and larger cell volume. Given our lack of understanding of this cell’s physiology and our even poorer understanding of the nutrient cycles in the ocean, I would hesitate to speculate on the consequences of increased pCO2 in the oceans. Even more tenuous is the common speculation of altered nitrogen source availability.

    I would like to end by emphasizing that I fully support funding for modest research projects such as these. Gaining a better understanding of ocean nutrient cycles is an important intellectual pursuit (How does that work?) along with many other scientific endeavors. What gets lost in the din of the climate debates are the practical, closer to home applications of such basic research, for example the food web and fisheries.

  24. harry says:
    October 14, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    An acid donates protons.
    Oceans are alkaline and becoming slightly less alkaline, their tendency to donate protons is exactly zero and has been zero throughout the Industrial revolution.
    Oceans are not acidifying, they are becoming less alkaline.

    =============================

    Extremely well said.

    Repeated here for effect…specifically in case Slack Adolescent (you know who you are) or other blog goofballs, missed it.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  25. If someone wonders where all the chalk deposits (like the white cliffs of Dover and much of the underground of southern England and West France) all over the world are coming from: The same coccolith species that, according to this study, will suffer from higher CO2. They did deposit it millions of years ago during the Cretaceous (what is in a name!), when global temperatures (warm poles, no ice at all) were much higher than now and CO2 levels 10-12 times higher. The coccoliths deposited layer by layer, hundreds meter thick at last. That is one of the reasons why CO2 levels are much lower today, as much is stored in these layers and not directly available for the atmosphere and plants… See:

    http://www.noc.soton.ac.uk/soes/staff/tt/eh/

  26. Jeff D says:

    Ammonia does not last very long in the oceans. Even in a closed system such as a reef tank ammonia is metabolized so fast as to be almost unmeasurable. I am unsure as to how they anticipate high ammonia levels to even exist.

    I can understand how maybe, just maybe we can get CO2 levels back up to 700ppm or more. This will not be enough to change the PH of the Ocean to any great extent and will self regulate with the buffers that are available, but what cataclysm is required to now have high levels of ammonia as well? For this to happen all of the nitrogen fixing bacteria world wide would have to be destroyed.

    Mother Nature is pretty slick. Offer up a food source and there is something that is going to eat it. Ammonia = food. Ammonia then makes its way to nitrate. Nitrate now becomes plant food that feed the micro-algeas which in turn feed the plankton, oh hell the circle of life you guys know this one. Never mind.

  27. Legatus says:

    And what are the consequences if this is true? If the phytoplankton absorb less CO2, that means that if there is more CO2 and we have less CO2 absorbed, right? That means that once there is enough CO2, it will never be removed from the atmosphere, but will persist forever. However, we <have had much more CO2 in the past, and then we had less CO2, how, exactly, did that happen? And how many days ago was it that we saw “At the end of the last Ice Age, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rose rapidly as the planet warmed; scientists have long hypothesized that the source was CO2 released from the deep ocean. But a new study using detailed radiocarbon dating of foraminifera found in a sediment core from the Gorda Ridge off Oregon reveals that the Northeast Pacific was not an important reservoir of carbon during glacial times. Sooo, there was less CO2 in the air during the ice age, yet we see that big bunches of carbon were not stored by these plankton in the deep ocean, and now we are told that greater amounts of CO2 will cause less to be stored. Fill me in here, which is it, lesser or greater amounts of CO2 that cause less CO2 to be stored down there? This study has been falsified before it was ever even published.

    And exactly what do they mean by “high ammonium levels” anyway? Exactly how high, is that high even possible, is it high enough to kill all the fish? What did they do, dump in a bottle of cleaner?

    Therefore this study is merely being made to support the consensus and therefore receive the approval and cash of their superiors. In other words, they are gutless cowards who could never stand up for the truth if they somehow managed to stumble across it, scientists in name only, with only the high moral fiber necessary to do anything anyone wants if it gets them the loot. They deserve nothing but to be laughed out of the company of scientists, scorned by all who see them, and are fit only for menial labor (under direct and constant supervision). And meanwhile, all the “scientists” who end their study that shows that, say, another mini ice age is coming, but who then add the provision “but this does not invalidate global warming, of course”, should be laughed at as the cowards they are. If they cannot stand up for the truth, then they should not be allowed to claim the title “scientist” at all.

  28. pat says:

    Sheeeesh. Romney believes Holder is a real scientist.

    http://www.climatedepot.com/

  29. ANH says:

    Please can someone explain what this article has to do with Cornwall?

    No mention of it that I can find but map at top of article is definitely the south west corner of England.

  30. Jeff D says:

    ANH says:
    October 14, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    Please can someone explain what this article has to do with Cornwall?

    lol ,my guess is that it made a pretty picture for the background. Emiliania huxleyi can be found in about any ocean.

  31. This is for James Sexton and several of the other commentators here:
    First direct evidence of ocean acidification

    Now, about the inorganic and organic carbon nomenclature. Inorganic carbon in the ocean is defined as calcium carbonate in all its forms. Organic carbon is the “soft” carbon that makes up the bodies of phytoplankton and zooplankton and all the other organisms made primarily of carbon, which with the exception of some siliceous phytoplankton (diatoms) and even some weirder strontianites, is pretty much most of it. Obviously diatoms have organic carbon in them too, I’m just pointing out that there are other hard minerals floating in the sea besides CaCO3. If you have quibbles about the terminology, take it up with the oceanographers!

  32. joachim says:

    There are some misunderstandings about what inorganic carbon is. When CO2 is disolved in water it turn into carbonic acid in the ionized form, HCO3^-. Both CO2 and carbonic acid are inorganic carbon molecules. Inorganic is here a chemical term and does not reflect the origin of the substance or molecule. The simplest example of organic carbon is methane CH4.

  33. Jeff D says:

    Oakden Wolf (@oakden_wolf) says:
    October 15, 2011 at 12:02 am

    This is for James Sexton and several of the other commentators here:
    First direct evidence of ocean acidification

    A PH shift of .0017. Only in the upper levels where biological activity alone could easily explain this tiny difference. From personal observations for 30 years. A healthy tank can have a PH swing from 7.9 to 8.6 from morning to evening with just photosynthesis.

    I know there are some nice toys to make readings but I am willing to bet almost anything that the error range of the sensor used is close to the stated change.

    Were the reading taken at the same time of the day?

    If the waters are warming they will off gas CO2… Less CO2 higher PH. So they need to make up their minds. Either its getting warmer or CO2 is increasing. You really can’t have it both ways.

    To make the claim that man made CO2 is alone responsible is laughable and the explanation of how to asses the man made portion seems just a bit weak.

  34. You can almost hear it in their writing … “how on earth are we going to show there is any effect of all this CO2 … wait a minute, couldn’t we argue ….. that’ll get us another grant”.

  35. D. King says:

    Which came first; the CO2 chicken, or the Emiliania huxleyi egg?

    [snip - the video adds nothing ~jove, Mod]

  36. Nick says:

    I can see my house in that shot – well, I would be able to if I had a magnifying glass.

  37. Don K says:

    “Please can someone explain what this article has to do with Cornwall?” ANH

    ========

    I assume — don’t know for sure — that the light blue swirls at the lower right are blooms of Emiliania huxleyi, and that the point is to show how very numerous the little things can be when conditions for their growth are favorable.

  38. Julian Flood says:

    Look at the present situation, not just the future.

    We are altering the nutrient staus of the oceans: fertiliser run-off, effluent and dust increases caused by agriculture are the direct inputs, while the smoothing of the oceans surface by spilled oil is also reducing the turnover in the lit layers, reducing the upwelling of deep nutrients.

    So we have fewer phytoplankton overall and, nb, the population will also change. E huxleyi is one of the calcareous plankton: these are typically C3 fixers, using the metabolic pathways that discriminate against the heavier isotopes of C and which thus leave a heavy isotope signal in the atmosphere.

    Add silica, starve the lit layers of the ocean and watch what happens. Silica is the limiting nutrient for diatoms and until it is depleted the calcareous phytos have to wait — only when the diatoms have finished their bloom can the calcareous types get to perform their milky act. So our changes are encouraging diatoms (which have a C4-like metabolism which pulls down more heavy isotopes of C, less C pulldown overall because they have silica shells), reducing the amount of heavy C in the atmosphere and letting the atmospheric levels of CO2 increase. The calcareous phytos now move centre stage, but find a depleted ocean: some types react by adopting C4 fixation, all are less succesful and pull down less C for export to the deep.

    The atmosphere is left with more CO2 but with less of the heavy isotopes. This is the ‘anthropogenic carbon’ signal which ‘proves’ that it is fossil fuel burning which is causing the increase. Or, of course, not.

    I do wish people would apply a bit of common sense to this whole affair.

    JF
    BTW, this could all be complete tosh — the good folk at San Francisco State have the facilities to do the experiment to see if it is or not. If it is, forget I said anything. If not — well, credit me in the papers and I wish to share the Nobel.

  39. King of Cool says:

    No may be’s, if’s or could be’s with the following research:

    http://www.antarctica.gov.au/about-antarctica/fact-files/climate-change/ocean-acidification-and-the-southern-ocean

    They say in the Southern Ocean and other open-ocean ecosystems, calcifying organisms WILL be affected by “acidification”.

    They also say that “Even if all carbon emissions stopped today, we are committed to a further drop of 0.1—0.2 pH units and it will take thousands of years for the oceans to recover. However, action now can prevent conditions, that are corrosive to calcifying organisms, from becoming more widespread.”

    Wonder what that action is? But guess what? More Southern Ocean research is very important.

  40. John Marshall says:

    A few years ago Southampton University tried to show that increasing CO2 dissolved in sea water would cause damage to molluscs shells due to acid dissolution. When this failed they introduced hydrochloric acid into the mix to ensure that their theory was correct. But as we all know surface sea water has a pH between 7.8 and 8.4 which is alkali. deep sea research has also shown that waters surrounding black smokers is around pH 4.5, very acidic, and molluscs survive there very well.

  41. Oakden Wolf’s ref:

    Seawater in a vast and deep section of the northeastern Pacific Ocean shows signs of increased acidity brought on by manmade carbon dioxide in the atmosphere–a phenomenon that carries with it far-reaching ecological effects–reports a team of researchers led by a University of South Florida College of Marine Science chemist.

    (facepalm three times)
    (1) Oceans maintain overall constant acidity (tending towards alkalinity) because they always have supplies of CaCO3 to call on
    (2) our emissions are an order of magnitude or two less than the annual CO2 turnover via (a) oceans and (b) plants, so both of those can swallow our emissions easily
    (3) these people are ignoring all that geology tells us

    How can these people call themselves scientists? They are simply jumping on a bandwagon that is destroying Science, not building it up.

    We still need a wiki that can take us straight back to the true basics of Science in a way that is both easy to understand, backed by good references, and armed with checkable answers to “debunks”. Too much for me, but that doesn’t stop it being needed.

  42. Ian W says:

    Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    October 14, 2011 at 10:51 pm
    If someone wonders where all the chalk deposits (like the white cliffs of Dover and much of the underground of southern England and West France) all over the world are coming from: The same coccolith species that, according to this study, will suffer from higher CO2. They did deposit it millions of years ago during the Cretaceous (what is in a name!), when global temperatures (warm poles, no ice at all) were much higher than now and CO2 levels 10-12 times higher. The coccoliths deposited layer by layer, hundreds meter thick at last. That is one of the reasons why CO2 levels are much lower today, as much is stored in these layers and not directly available for the atmosphere and plants… See:

    http://www.noc.soton.ac.uk/soes/staff/tt/eh/

    Jeff D says:
    October 14, 2011 at 10:55 pm
    Ammonia does not last very long in the oceans. Even in a closed system such as a reef tank ammonia is metabolized so fast as to be almost unmeasurable. I am unsure as to how they anticipate high ammonia levels to even exist.

    These and other similar posts can be summed up with – “Selective Ignorance = Funding”

    The scientific/academic rigor has been replaced by Grant rigor

  43. Billy Liar says:

    Oakden Wolf says:
    October 15, 2011 at 12:02 am

    Using pH-sensitive dyes that turn from purple to yellow in more acidic waters, the scientists were able to track changes produced by 15 years of CO2 uptake near the ocean’s surface, Byrne said. In deeper waters, down to about half a mile, both anthropogenic and naturally occurring changes in CO2 and pH were seen. In the very deepest waters, no significant pH changes were seen.

    Another joke ‘scientific’ paper?

  44. Verity Jones says:

    This study seems based two underlying assumptions. The first is that ammonium competes with nitrate and inhibits its uptake by phytoplankton. I was unaware of this; it is well established (e.g. here – http://www.jstor.org/pss/2838834 ). Fine.
    The second assumption that nitrate will become more limited and ammonium will increase – is really a hypothesis. It may not even be their own hypothesis. I find that hard to justify even as a hypothesis.

    Let’s see –
    1. Levels of nitrate, nitrite and ammonia/ammonium are very low in ocean waters. In fact their concentrations are probably the single most important limiting factor in the growth of the bacteria (and “archea”) that convert ammonia to nitrate (http://www.nature.com/ismej/journal/v5/n6/full/ismej2010191a.html) and nitrate to nitrogen gas. Coastal concentrations of ammonia in the UK are in the range 3-10mg/l (http://www.ukmarinesac.org.uk/activities/water-quality/wq8_1.htm ); in the open ocean <0.2mg/l is more typical.
    2. A lot is known about bacterial conversion of ammonia (e.g. http://www.wrights-trainingsite.com/Nitrif1onb.html – the first part is a good summary) and, for example, temperatures <10degC will inhibit. So will decreasing pH. The press release says “acidification inhibits the bacteria that turn ammonium into nitrate.”, but nitrification has a pH optimium of 7.5-8.0, with inhibition at <6.5. From Wikipedia – "Between 1751 and 1994 surface ocean pH is estimated to have decreased from approximately 8.25 to 8.14" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_acidification. LOL
    3. Ammonia oxiding (to nitrate) archea were only ‘discovered’ and described in the last ~15 years. They are hard to cultivate (very slow growing relative to baceria – growth rates of days rather than minutes to hours for bacteria). Molecular techniques are tell us they are important for ocean nitrification and abundant – http://www.pnas.org/content/103/33/12317.full They are found in a wide range of ecological niches with a broad pH tolerance. Our understanding of their importance to global cycles is in its infancy.
    4. Ammonia oxidisers (both types) are chemolithotrophs – they use CO2 as food. Increasing temperature, increasing food (CO2 and ammonia) – a recipe for increased growth and keeping ammonia levels down and nitrate levels up.

    Has anyone found a link to the actual paper/abstract in the journal yet? I was unable to, but would like to read the actual abstract to see what is published and what is ‘press release speak’ to make it exciting. This seems a perfect example of making extrapolations that based on suppositions without reasonable working knowledge of another field. The whole study is more “we’re polluting the planet” fear mongering than real investigative thinking.

  45. kim;) says:

    Oakden Wolf (@oakden_wolf) says:
    October 15, 2011 at 12:02 am

    Thank you for your link :)

    Do you think that “Baselines” are important in science.?

    Why “baselines” are Important in science

    The Temperature of Cream that has not reached a freeze temperature [ THE "baseline" ] can not be measured as ICE CREAM. You are measuring “Creams” Temperature – NOT ICE CREAMS Temperature..

    It’s called a ‘baseline’.

    “Seawater” pH is limited to the range 7.5 to 8.4. and stably constrained.

    A 7.0 pH is a “neutral”.

    THE “baseline” is below 7.0 for Acid.

    A pH of below 7.0 is not measuring “Seawater” – NOW you are measuring ACID.

    Without Acid being present [ Below 7.0 pH ] You can not measure MORE Acidification.

    Oceans are alkaline and becoming slightly less alkaline -THAT is what is being measured.

    “Ocean Acidification” is a PR term meant to illicit fear. When “scientists use this term they are ignoring the “baseline”- and using erroneous terminology to arouse “feelings”.

  46. Julian Flood says:

    That picture above has an interesting feature — you can see stratocumulus cloud above the bloom. DMS? Collapse of E. huxleyi populations, less DMS. Less DMS, less stratocu, more warming, more stable oceans, less nutrient, further collapse of E. hux…..

    Etc.

    (sigh)

    JF

  47. stevo says:

    No matter what the subject, whether it’s biology, physics, chemistry, whatever, you apparently know enough about it to pour scorn on research that somehow offends you.

  48. This is meaningful, a) if it is factual, and b) if it is important that moderate atmospheric CO2 concentration increases are detrimental.
    Both these questions remain unanswered.

  49. agweird says:

    Verity Jones: “Has anyone found a link to the actual paper/abstract in the journal yet? I was unable to, but would like to read the actual abstract to see what is published and what is ‘press release speak’ to make it exciting. ”

    Here is the abstract: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2011.02575.x/abstract

    The uncertainities of the paper are well stated in the abstract.
    E.g. “Additional experiments conducted under lower nutrient conditions are needed prior to extrapolating our findings to the global oceans”

  50. DEEBEE says:

    Real research would have been to get samples of cocoliths from the ocean bed — date them and see how they have evolved. But that would have run the risk of knocking down the orthodoxy.

  51. Bomber_the_Cat says:

    I think that we all know by now that the oceans are not acid, they are alkaline. They have always been alkaline, even in the distant past when CO2 levels were 20 times higher than they are today. It was at that time, 400 million years ago, when CO2 levels were very high, that coral and shellfish were first created.

    Any increased dissolution of CO2 in the ocean simply reduces this alkalinity slightly, and moves the seawater closer to neutrality, i.e. the water becomes less caustic.[corrosive] . So I am always suspicious of the motives of those who refer to a reduction in alkalinity as suggesting that the oceans are turning to acid.
    Of course, I accept that a headline such as “Oceans Becoming Less Caustic” may not have the desired alarmist ring to it, but at least it has the merit of being true!

    As Anthony points out at the beginning, this report if riddled with mays, mights and coulds. When I read a statement such as “this role may change as ocean water becomes warmer and more acidic”; I feel free to interpret this as “this role may be unaffected as ocean water becomes warmer and more acidic. Both statements are equivalent – and so what is the value of this report when nothing it says has any meaning?
    I do like the bit about inorganic carbon though. I was always taught that the difference between inorganic and organic chemistry was that the latter was the study of compounds containing carbon. I believe this definition still holds today, but authors of this paper seem unaware of it.

  52. agweird says:

    And for those who are confused about the “inorganic carbon” term:
    Take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inorganic#Inorganic_carbon_compounds
    “Many compounds that contain carbon are considered inorganic, for example, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonates, cyanides, cyanates, carbides, and thyocyanates. In general, however, the workers in these areas are not concerned about strict definitions.”

    The Britannica ecyclopedia also mentions this: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/431954/organic-compound

  53. cirby says:

    One other little thing: they ran this test in the lab, over “200 generations.” Which means less than a year. If you’re going to test the adjustment of an organism to changing environments, you need a bit more time than that.

    You also have to wonder what the adjustments were. Did they let the population stabilize for a couple of months, then slowly change over the course of the year, or did they increase the CO2 levels gradually over the course of time from a new population? Did they adjust the CO2 and nitrogen levels by small calibrated amounts, or did they “push” things to simulate the amount they expect in 100 years?

  54. Pascvaks says:

    Let’s see… the KEY words in this news release are… SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 13, may change, show how, could work, could have, wanted to, might effect, in the lab, more likely to be, more likely to be, results suggest, may be, suggest, could inhibit, is likely, in the future, Stillman suggested, likely what we’ll see.

    Got it!

  55. Bill Marsh says:

    OT

    I was looking at the magnetogram of the sun and sunspot 1312 in the upper right does not appear to e a Cycle 24 sunspot. it looks to me like the orientation is opposite of a cycle 24 sunspot (in the magnetogram white leads black, whereas all the rest in the upper hemisphere black leads white). Is this just an anomaly caused by a dying sunspot or is it a Cycle 25 sunspot?

  56. J Calvert N says:

    There doesn’t seem to be any mention calcium in the article (although some commenters have mentioned it). Did the experimenters ensure there was enough calcium available for the phytoplankton to use-up in the conversion of CO2 to calcium carbonate?

    I have long wondered where all the new calcium has come from, over the eons, to form the vast volumes of limestone, chalk, shale (and other rocks rich in calcium carbonate) that exist. I would suspect that it is coming from the undersea volcanic vents. But articles about undersea vents seem to concentrate on other things.

    Surely Woods Hole and the like should be on a hunt for the sources of calcium that have enabled such a huge amount of calcium carbonate to form.

  57. Bill Illis says:

    Every year, the Barents Sea north of Norway experiences a huge plankton bloom turning the ocean color into various shades of aqua.

    The plankton species causing it, Emiliana huxleyi.

    This year was probably the biggest one seen and it lasted for months covering thousands of kilometres.

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=51765

  58. Ian W says:

    stevo says:
    October 15, 2011 at 4:01 am
    No matter what the subject, whether it’s biology, physics, chemistry, whatever, you apparently know enough about it to pour scorn on research that somehow offends you.

    One has to presume you are talking to _all_ the contributors. You will note that almost all the responses give citations for their reasons. Almost always these people know the citations because they are experts in the subject and they DO know enough about [the subjects] to pour scorn on poor research in their areas of expertise.

    It is a pity that the organizations that are funded for this research, in many cases accredited universities, do not provide the hostile reviews that most research requires. That is why in the old days theses required a ‘defense’ – the reviewers were hostile. Peer review was hostile and in depth. Nowadays, the research and academic communities are lax and the only real review comes from the scientific community on the ‘Web’ when the research is published.

    Rather than whining about a hostile reaction on the web, the researchers should do better quality research. In this particular case a literature review of all related research (which should be mandatory before starting) would have avoided what appear to be errors due to ignorance.

  59. beng says:

    Clear-thinking skeptics — the heartbreak of psychiatrists.

  60. Verity Jones says:

    agweird (October 15, 2011 at 4:16 am)
    Thanks for the link to the abstract (- I didn’t look under accepted papers)
    It is the bit I’ve emboldened that bothers me:
    “As CO2 concentration is rising in the atmosphere, the ocean is acidifying and ammonium (NH4+) concentration of future ocean water is expected to rise. The latter is attributed to increasing anthropogenic nitrogen (N) deposition, increasing rates of cyanobacterial N2 fixation due to warmer and more stratified oceans, and decreased rates of nitrification due to ocean acidification.

    I don’t think it is justified, or justifiable. Nitrification in the ocean is substrate limited. Period. Even with a decrease in the rate of nitrification, with more of the limiting substrate available the nitrifying population would respond with increased numbers to use it up.

  61. thingadonta says:

    coral reef gaps in the geological record take millions of years to occur, pity this point is missed by the alarmists

  62. Philip Peake says:

    Real science is about precision. When I see the phrase “more acidic” in respect of the oceans it is a big clue that we are dealing with morons, and that there is no point in reading further. Any self-respecting reviewer of a scientific paper would bounce it back at that point without proceeding further.

    The phrase “more acidic” implies that something is already acidic, which the oceans most decidedly are not.

    What they probably mean is “less alkaline”. It only becomes acidic when when the Ph falls below 7. Zero to seven, we talk about more or less acidic, seven to 14 we talk about more or less alkaline.

    This paper was obviously written by, reviewed by and published by illiterate morons.

  63. Gary says:

    The mass of a single coccolith shell is so tiny and water so viscous that the sinking rate is very slow. More likely the CaCO3 gets to depth when copepods graze on the coccoliths and their fecal pellets sink. How that affects the dissolution of the carbonate needs to be considered. The system is vastly more complex than this simple lab experiment implies.

  64. corporate message says:

    Only at pH below 7 ( neutral ), is more ammonia converted to the ammonium state. It would take a massive change in ocean pH to make the nitrogen compound be mostly in the ammonium state .

  65. Olen says:

    The cart is before the horse.
    They sound uncertain about their findings with the weasel words but are certain about the warming that has not been proven. They can’t be doing this without some encouragement.

  66. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    @Baa Humbug

    Thanks for your well chosen quotes and short, pithy analysis.

    Agreed.

  67. Ed Scott says:

    EPA’s CO2 Endangerment Finding is Endangered
    By S. Fred Singer

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/10/epas_co2_endangerment_finding_is_endangered.html

    But the global surface warming reported since 1979 is fake; it does not exist — as demonstrated by NIPCC in several other data sets: Atmospheric temperatures show no warming trend, as seen both by balloon-borne radiosondes and independent satellite observations. The reported warming of the sea surface can be traced to instrumental problems. And the available proxy data show no post-1979 warming.The reason for the reported surface warming, as reported by the IPCC, is still unclear. But it is likely due to a selection of weather stations that favors an increasing fraction of urban stations and airports, which show a local warming trend because of increasing air traffic.It will be interesting to see the reaction of IPCC scientists, once these data are fully published and accepted by the scientific community. It is unlikely, therefore, that the EPA’s TSD will stand. And without the TSD, the Endangerment Finding is toast – and so is regulation of carbon dioxide.

  68. Paul Coppin says:

    stevo says:
    October 15, 2011 at 4:01 am

    No matter what the subject, whether it’s biology, physics, chemistry, whatever, you apparently know enough about it to pour scorn on research that somehow offends you.

    Stevo, poor soul, this is what real peer review looks like. The only thing that limits the review is the paucity of real information about this research project presently available. What exactly, do you think a large percentage of WUW readers do for a living? I would hazard that WUWT has the highest percentage of active science PhDs in attendance of any blog on the web that has more than 10 viewers.

  69. Rhys Jaggar says:

    If you change the conditions, you are carrying out a selection whereby species better adapted grow at the expense of those less well adapted.

    I used to do experiments using antibiotic selections in the lab. Within 3 days, you could have billions upon billions of resistant bugs. But up front you suppressed growth of 99.9% of the bacteria initially exposed.

    Adaptation will take place. It’s just not clear in advance what that will be.

  70. Alex the skeptic says:

    Nomatter what we do or nature does, the oceas will always be alkaline. the word ‘acidification’is the real weasel woed here, a lie actually.

    The warmists base their (false) prognostications on weasel words, lies, damned lies and computer models.

  71. Keith says:

    The reason for referring to the term ‘ocean acidification’ (even if there’s nothing solid to suggest it may even be happening) is simple: the alarmists want to scare the bejesus out of the young and ther gullible into thinking that future trips to the seaside could be ruined by their flesh falling from their bones.

    Just watch the scare swing direction in 30 years’ time, when it’ll become ‘ocean bleaching’.

  72. This is a fine example of why such ‘scientists’ should be required to keep a reef tank for a year. The conclusions of this study can be easily challenged by the employees of the local pet fish store.

    The ammonia cycle is the process through which tanks ‘cycle’, once cycled, a tank can support the more delicate types of organisms. The ammonia cycle consists of three main stages:

    Stage 1: The tank is filled with water and animals are added. At this point there are no beneficial bacteria growing. The animals eat what food is available and metabolize what they can and expel the rest. Uneaten food and animal waste quickly breaks down in the tank into ammonia.

    Stage 2: The release of ammonia allows the beneficial bacteria nitrosomonas to grow. Nitrosomonas eat ammonia and expel nitrite. During stage two of a fish tank cycling, the ammonia levels will decline and the nitrite levels will increase.

    Stage 3: The availability of nitrite as a food source will allow the beneficial bacteria nitrobacter to thrive. Nitrobacter eat nitrites and their waste product are nitrates. So during this last stage of the fish tank cycling, ammonia will be zero or near zero, nitrites will be nearing zero, and nitrates will be increasing.

    The tank is now cycled. There was an ammonia spike and reduction, then a nitrite spike and reduction, and an increasing amount of nitrates. Nitrates are controlled by the aquarist two ways: with the introduction of plants which consume nitrates as food, and through water changes.

    In a healthy fish tank, there is no ammonia or nitrite, these will quickly poison a reef tank.

    In the study in the article, there is no mention of how the tanks were kept clean during the 200 generations of phytoplankton growth. If the water continuously had ammonia added (as I seem to read in the article) then the natural cycling of the tanks would not have occurred. There would not have been the proper proportions of nitrobacter and nitrosomonas to create the nitrates the phytoplankton need to thrive.

    The poor condition of the phytoplankton has nothing to do with the additional ammonia, other than that the normal process for creating nitrates was disrupted. Also, just to nitpick, there is no mechanism to turn ammonia into nitrate as described in the article, it is a two step process as I have described.

    And how would a warmer surface prevent an upwelling of cold water bringing up nutrients from the bottom?

    So much wrong with the experiment, too little time to discuss, I’ve got four reef tanks that need my attention today…

    Conclusion: dirty tanks and poor reef keeping skills led to the poor health of the phytoplankton.

  73. James Sexton says:

    Oakden Wolf (@oakden_wolf) says:
    October 15, 2011 at 12:02 am

    This is for James Sexton and several of the other commentators here:
    First direct evidence of ocean acidification
    ======================================================
    That’s an interesting link. I always go to sleep too early…..A few things jump out at me.
    1) There’s no link to any study….?
    2) The drop they are so concerned about is change that is WNL
    3) They only measured a thin area in the north Pacific. They don’t mention what state the oscillating cycles are in…. such as the PDO, the AO, and others. Were they in the same state?
    4) “….in the spring of 2006 using state-of-the-art techniques developed at USF’s College of Marine Science. “…… that’s beautiful…. were the same state-of-art-techniques used in determining the pH in 1991? If not, ….. well it would open a whole host of questions and is probably best to toss and start a study using consistent techniques.
    5) Even if the extreme extrapolation is correct,(a drop by 0.4) the oceans will still be base and not acidic.

    These are just some of the most glaring issues that pop out at me, but then I haven’t finished my first cup of coffee, yet. Could you bring something a bit more substantial? After all, they concluded the observations in 2006. We’ve nothing more in 5 years?

    As to those of us having a bit of fun with the vernacular…… its important to point out that words mean things. A bit of jesting to make that point isn’t harmful.

  74. Keith says:

    captainfish says:
    October 14, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    So, there are two types of CO2 molecules now? Organic and Inorganic? Does that mean we have two versions of Oxygen too? Organic oxygen and inorganic oxygen?

    Indeed, just as there are two types of CAGW-obsessed climate scientist: moronic and oxymoronic…

  75. Sparks says:

    Scientific papers that have conclusions of what would happen due to Anthropogenic climate change, Are Not proof that Anthropogenic climate change is Actually happening.

    The absence of any Super Accelerated Catastrophic Man Made Green House Warning Effect makes any research based on it Null and Void.

    But group-think research and self evident circular reasoning being pushed under the guise of “Man Made Global Warming” can be scientifically proven with empirical evidence to be dumber than Stormtroopers as ‘savethesharks’ suggests.
    In Fact, that research should be publicly funded and taught in schools around the globe.

  76. R. Shearer says:

    Cheers to those of you who get “pH” abbrv. for -log[H+] correct. It is not PH or Ph or ph.

    That said, when I’m in Boulder I always make comments to the libs that I prefer only the use of “organic” chemicals.

  77. Richard deSousa says:

    “But this role may change as ocean water becomes warmer and more acidic, ” When I read that paragraph near the beginning of this article, I knew it was full of BS. Currently the oceans are alkali and as more CO2 is added to the oceans they become less alkali, not more acidic. The oceans are far from being acidic at this stage and probably won’t ever become acidic.

  78. DocMartyn says:

    This is one of the first highlighted papers on ‘climate change’ that explores the movement of organic and inorganic carbon in the oceans.
    You will note that classically, in the carbon cycle box models, we are informed that the surface of the oceans and the atmosphere were at equilibrium. The burning of fossil fuels has disturbed this equilibrium and though there is a rapid exchange of atmospheric/sea surface CO2 (with a t1/2 of about a decade), adding CO2 to the atmosphere causes a ‘fat tail’, as the rate that CO2 moves from the surface to the deep oceans is very slow. Thus, we are informed, that a bolus addition of CO2 will have a true residency of time of centuries, as sequestration in the deep ocean is very slow.
    Here the authors point out that the through put of aquatic photosynthesis creates three large concentration gradients;
    1) At the surface, through the action of photosynthetic organisms, CO2 is converted into organic and inorganic carbon, and Oxygen.
    2) As organic/inorganic matter falls, from dead organisms and from feces, it is oxidized by microorganisms utilizing oxygen to CO2, or when the oxygen has been used up, to CO2 and CH4.
    3) Depending on depth and currents, the particulate carbon ends up in sediments (and will become oil/natural gas deposits in future years.
    The levels of oxygen, as one drops down the ocean depths, tell one how much organic matter is passing through the volume. If there is no O2, then it has been used to oxidized organic carbon to CO2, the same for the production of ammonia (from nitrate and nitrite), sulphide (from sulphate and sulphite) and methane (2xCH2O -> CO2 + CH4).
    The profile of the oxygen gradient in the ocean, high at the top, followed by an hypoxic zone; sometimes with a higher level of O2 a depths where there is no organic sediment, tells us that the ‘fat-tailed’ box models in no way reflect who carbon moves from the surface of the oceans to the bottom.
    The absence of oxygen equilibration between the atmosphere and the oceans, with respect to depth, means that CO2 is not, and has never been, in equilibrium between the atmosphere and the oceans.

  79. ferd berple says:

    These folks should have read the Peer Reviewed literature.

    In reality, the oceans today are more basic and the CO2 levels lower than they were for 100 out of the past 110 million years. If anything we are simply returning to more typical climate conditions.

    Page 53.

    http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/oceanography/faculty/zeebe_files/Publications/ZeebePQ01.pdf

  80. ferd berple says:

    Scott Ramsdell says:
    October 15, 2011 at 7:27 am
    Conclusion: dirty tanks and poor reef keeping skills led to the poor health of the phytoplankton.

    Similar to the declines in frog populations blamed on global warming, later found to be caused by infections spread by researchers themselves.

  81. anticlimactic says:

    When I see the words ‘Ocean Acidification’ I assume they are not true scientists but people with an agenda, and whose work is most likely to be absolutely worthless.. The oceans are not acidic so can not become ‘more’ acidic, only less alkaline. ‘Acidic’ is a propaganda word aiming to give the less informed the impression that the oceans are acidic, and becoming more so, and that it is OUR fault.

    I do not see any mention of the pH so it could hve been fizzy soda. It reminds me of a similar paper on abalones where the ‘scientists’ used the concentration of CO2 in air as the starting point of the CO2 concentration in the water, over four times the actual amount, rising to over eight times the actual amount of CO2 in the oceans. The fact that ANY abalones survived was a testament to their resilience and showing nature can cope with the most extreme changes, or idiotic scientists.

    I did read that phytoplankton use bicarbonates rather than carbonates to form their skeleton so a reduction in alkalinity has been extremely beneficial and caused them to thrive, acting as a feedback loop to reduce CO2. I assume this is what they meant by ‘synergistic’. As this would be the ‘wrong’ result I suppose they increased the CO2 until abnormalities appeared. As the pH is not mentioned I do not know if this happened at levels which are in any way possible in the foreseeable furure, or even likely in the next billion years!

  82. More Soylent Green! says:

    Off topic: [SNIP: Yes, it is. Please post in Tips and Notes. -REP]

  83. Can anyone comment on Emili’s role in the production and transport of sulfur through cloud seeding? Does Emili possibly play a significant role in conjunction with cosmic rays and cloud nucleation? Does more Emili = potentially more clouds = more cooling?

    It is my understanding Emili is responsible for the entire ongoing replenishment of sulfur on land. I’d love to hear from someone more intelligent than me comment on this.

  84. Neil McEvoy says:

    Curiously, I was listening to Pirates of Penzance when I saw that beautiful satellite image of Cornwall.

  85. Gary Pearse says:

    When you name a journal Global Change Biology you are stating the science is settled (above and beyond natural change). Now let’s have a biochemical lesson:

    When you increase CO2 and NH3 you end up, after a few reactions, with:

    NH3 + H2CO3 → NH4+ + HCO3-

    This is ammonium bicarbonate solution which is a buffer that resists both increases in (more alkaline) or decreases in (more acidic) pH. Simply it prevents acidification.

    http://bing.search.sympatico.ca/?q=Reaction%20ammonia%20and%20carbonic%20acid&mkt=en-ca&setLang=en-CA

    From Wiki: scroll down to Biochemical Role.

    It seems that Assistant Professor of Biology Jonathon Stillman and colleagues didn’t take the Chemistry 101 option in undergrad. Hey, I’m only a mining geologist/engineer, what should I know about it?

  86. pat says:

    I am not sure I buy this ammonia claim.They are talking about relatively near the surface where N2 is gleaned from the atmosphere. The ammonia hypothesis is is not only predicated on a (worldwide) bacteria bloom, the disappearance of N2 in the water (have waves also disappeared?), AGW, but the failure of relativistic temperature differentials between deep ocean and shallow (presumed) warmer seas. Maybe they think that that is where the missing heat has gone. But this is beyond unlikely. I think they tried very hard to get these results.

  87. Mike Jowsey says:

    Obligatory pedantic nitpick: might effect coccolith development.
    Should be “might affect coccolith development.”

    REPLY:
    Obligatory rebuttal – take it up with the authors – Anthony

  88. Pat Moffitt says:

    Our understanding of the ocean’s nitrogen cycle, its chemistries and the chaotic feedback loops with phytoplankton and the feedbacks loops of phytoplankton and zooplankton is in its infancy.This paper assumes things that cannot be assumed ex. upwelling is the principle nitrogen source and that a small change in pH will alter the specie of nitrogen present. W e didn’t even know the chemistries now thought responsible for half the ocean’s reactive nitrogen losses until a little more than a decade ago and we are still learning new ones. The “non-climate” science is still fighting about the role of Nitrogen fixation and whether nitrogen is or can be a limiting nutrient in the ocean. There is absolutely no way science can predict changes at a fine pH scale in a complex physical-biological system ex. diatom’s biogenic silica can act as a pH buffer. Equally important is the poor understanding of the other side of the nitrogen ledger- the conversion back to inert N2. We have little or no idea why certain species of phytoplankton bloom or when. We have little understanding of zooplankton feedback loops, role of micronutrients. etc etc etc.
    It is therefore amazing that we can predict changes to the entire ocean ecosystem from 4 variables, T, a single phytoplankton, ph and the form of nitrogen. If that is all we need let us all demand an end to ocean research spending because we now know everything we need to know.

  89. tty says:

    This theory should be easy to substantiate. If phytoplankton growth is inhibited by higher temperatures, then phytoplankton blooms obviously will not occur in summer.

  90. Werner Brozek says:

    “Oakden Wolf (@oakden_wolf) says:
    October 15, 2011 at 12:02 am

    This is for James Sexton and several of the other commentators here:
    First direct evidence of ocean acidification”

    Much was said here about acidification and pH changes, but the one thing I was looking for was an actual pH value. That was not to be found and I think I know why.

    Another comment in this article:

    “In the very deepest waters, no significant pH changes were seen.”
    While they were in the deep waters, did they by any chance discover Trenberth’s missing heat there?

  91. George E. Smith; says:

    So what did these researchers have to say about all the competing gobblers of organinc and inorganic carbon; that will take over the ocean when this little pest goes green side up and adopts room temperature.

    Mother Gaia abhors a vaccuum, and she will find some other little monstres to fill the gap..

  92. jorgekafkazar says:

    To paraphrase General Electric, “In Climate Science, weasel words are our most important product.”

  93. George E. Smith; says:

    “”””” ANH says:

    October 14, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    Please can someone explain what this article has to do with Cornwall?

    No mention of it that I can find but map at top of article is definitely the south west corner of England. “””””

    It’s where the Pirates of Penzance hung out while they were going to St Ives. An ex of mine went to Penzance Grammar School.

  94. Latitude says:

    anticlimactic says:
    October 15, 2011 at 8:24 am
    As the pH is not mentioned I do not know if this happened at levels which are in any way possible in the foreseeable furure, or even likely in the next billion years!
    ===============================================
    In the lab you can add an acid until all of your buffer is used up………
    They faked it…………..
    …for this to work, first you have to assume that there will be enough CO2 to actually use up enough buffer in the oceans for the pH to drop
    Then you have to add even more CO2/acid to lower the pH until you get these results….

    Without recognizing that C(arbon)O2 is what it is……………

  95. Don Newkirk says:

    Mike Jowsey says:
    October 15, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Obligatory pedantic nitpick: might effect coccolith development.
    Should be “might affect coccolith development.”

    Actually, you appear to assume that the good researchers at SFSU did not mean what they wrote, even in a Freudian slippery way. As a verb, of course, effect means “to cause something to come to completion”. Some of the comments above validate this reading of the original.

    Here is an example sentence that contrasts affect and effect as verbs:

    Taken in isolation of other factors, and given enough of it, CO2 might, speculatively, on some theoretical grounds, as proven by climate models designed to prove just that, affect climate by effecting a concomitant rise in atmospheric temperature.

  96. LazyTeenager says:

    Sparks says:
    October 15, 2011 at 7:49 am
    Scientific papers that have conclusions of what would happen due to Anthropogenic climate change, Are Not proof that Anthropogenic climate change is Actually happening.
    —————-
    That is perfectly correct. But if the predicted consequences do come to pass then that IS evidence for global warming.

  97. LazyTeenager says:

    J Calvert N says:
    October 15, 2011 at 5:08 am
    There doesn’t seem to be any mention calcium in the article (although some commenters have mentioned it). Did the experimenters ensure there was enough calcium available for the phytoplankton to use-up in the conversion of CO2 to calcium carbonate?
    ———-
    I suspect the answer to this question is already known.

    I suspect the answer is weathering of continental rocks.

  98. LazyTeenager says:

    harry says:
    October 14, 2011 at 7:51 pm
    An acid donates protons.
    Oceans are alkaline and becoming slightly less alkaline, their tendency to donate protons is exactly zero and has been zero throughout the Industrial revolution.
    ———–
    No. The oceans are largely water and water has no trouble donating protons.

    Alkaline and acidic is just a simple way describe the ratio of protons to hydroxyl ion concentrations in water.
    ———–
    Oceans are not acidifying, they are becoming less alkaline.
    ————
    No. More acidic and less alkaline are synonyms.
    ————

  99. For Jeff D, and James Sexton:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2010/2009GL040999.shtml

    Global ocean acidification is a prominent, inexorable change associated with rising levels of atmospheric CO2. Here we present the first basin-wide direct observations of recently declining pH, along with estimates of anthropogenic and non-anthropogenic contributions to that signal. Along 152°W in the North Pacific Ocean (22–56°N), pH changes between 1991 and 2006 were essentially zero below about 800 m depth. However, in the upper 500 m, significant pH changes, as large as −0.06, were observed. Anthropogenic and non-anthropogenic contributions over the upper 800 m are estimated to be of similar magnitude. In the surface mixed layer (depths to ∼100 m), the extent of pH change is consistent with that expected under conditions of seawater/atmosphere equilibration, with an average rate of change of −0.0017/yr. Future mixed layer changes can be expected to closely mirror changes in atmospheric CO2, with surface seawater pH continuing to fall as atmospheric CO2 rises.

    I clicked on the full text PDF link and it worked. Apparently you can make single copies for personal use.

    I took a look through it and biological activity is accounted for (paragraph 16, “respiration”). Also, they cross check the pH change with changes in total alkalinity and total CO2.

    Since it’s available online, review it yourself. Send the authors a copy of your review for their comments.

  100. LazyTeenager says:

    Lew Skannen says:
    October 14, 2011 at 7:47 pm
    This process is so clear even the doziest schlub can .

    I wonder whether there are any branches of science which don’t try and crowbar AGW into their funding requests.
    ————
    it’s quite likely that the doziest schlub is unaware that many granting bodies —require—- that the researcher makes a statement about the potential impacts of their research. Evidently the government or whatever body is providing the money is keen to ensure the public is getting value for its money.

  101. Lucy Skywalker wrote:
    (1) Oceans maintain overall constant acidity (tending towards alkalinity) because they always have supplies of CaCO3 to call on
    (2) our emissions are an order of magnitude or two less than the annual CO2 turnover via (a) oceans and (b) plants, so both of those can swallow our emissions easily
    (3) these people are ignoring all that geology tells us

    By the way, these people call themselves scientists because they’ve been doing this for 30 or 40 years and have advanced degrees, research grants, published papers, etc., which is what scientists do.

    Regarding comment (1), not sure what you mean. Seawater is a pH buffered system due to the carbonate-bicarbonate equilibria.
    Regarding (2), the turnover rate may be larger, but the upward pressure on CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere is due to anthropogenic emissions.
    Regarding (3), what does geology tell us?

  102. Billy Liar wrote:
    Another joke ‘scientific’ paper?

    Read the paper yourself (link provided in earlier post) and explain why you think it’s a joke. Maybe you could also investigate the methodology used.

  103. LazyTeenager says:

    Jeff D says:
    October 14, 2011 at 10:55 pm
    Ammonia does not last very long in the oceans. Even in a closed system such as a reef tank ammonia is metabolized so fast as to be almost unmeasurable. I am unsure as to how they anticipate high ammonia levels to even exist.
    ———–
    The key phrase here is “closed system”. If there was no soluble nitrogen in seawater there would be no plant growth at all.

    What I missed from the article is where the increased ammonium is coming from. I probably need to read it again and track down the original paper.

  104. LazyTeenager says:

    James Sexton says:
    October 14, 2011 at 9:24 pm
    Only to echo the other commentators…….first, it isn’t shown the oceans are becoming less base. ———
    It’s been measured directly in other research and it’s being dictated by the increase in atmospheric CO2, also measured. The chemistry of seawater is well understood and once you know the composition the effect of CO2 changes can be calculated.
    ———
    Inorganic carbon……. I love it!
    ———
    Yet another blunder. Organic simply refers to whether the carbon is combined in the complex molecules offen associated with life.
    Simple carbon containing molecules such as CO2 are referred to as inorganic.

    This terminology is standard in the water chemistry area. There are separate analytical techniques for organic and inorganic carbon and the results are added up to give a figure for total carbon.

  105. Dianne says:

    I’m pretty sure that Landsat was not able to show phytoplankton blooms, let alone identify them as to species.

  106. LazyTeenager says:

    Jeff D says
    As the oceans warm we will get off gassing of CO2. Most skeptics “I think” are pretty sure a big part of the increase in CO2 is this off gassing from the oceans.
    ——–
    Yes outgassing occurs but you are forgetting that the ice cores say that there is an 800 year delay between warming and the release of CO2 from the oceans.

    The current CO2 increase is happening immediately, so it can’t be coming from the oceans.

  107. LazyTeenager says:

    Geoff Sherrington says
    ——–
    I was taught that adding ammonia (though this release spoke of ammonium, an ion) to water makes it more alkaline, contra to CO2 making it less alkaline, all other things being equal.
    ——–
    That’s true, but ammonium is an weak acid. It’s the acid used in dry cells.

  108. LazyTeenager says:

    Ferdinand Englebeen says
    The same coccolith species that, according to this study, will suffer from higher CO2.
    —–
    I don’t believe the study says the species will suffer.

    It would be interesting to know how the size distribution of modern vs fossil chalk compares.

    I am also wary of assuming that the species in the article has an identical genetic make to those in the fossil record. The potential for adaption over these timescales exists.

  109. LazyTeenager says:

    Legatus says
    Therefore this study is merely being made to support the consensus and therefore receive the approval and cash of their superiors.
    ———
    So the story of what happens to organisms and how they respond to CO2 is complex and has many moving parts and is confusing to superficial consideration. There is lots of confusing evidence and resolving what appears to be paradoxes is hard work.

    Rather than accept this you make up some story that has the useful property of being evidence free.

  110. kim;) says:

    LazyTeenager says:

    No. More acidic and less alkaline are synonyms.

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Only if you ignore the baseline of 7.0 pH neutrality.

    With a logarithm base 10 – That is a huge obstacle.

    “More acidic and less alkaline are synonyms.” – Only when bastardizing the terms for acid and alkaline.

  111. James Sexton says:

    LazyTeenager says:
    October 15, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    James Sexton says:
    October 14, 2011 at 9:24 pm
    Only to echo the other commentators…….first, it isn’t shown the oceans are becoming less base. ———
    It’s been measured directly in other research and it’s being dictated by the increase in atmospheric CO2, also measured. The chemistry of seawater is well understood and once you know the composition the effect of CO2 changes can be calculated.
    =========================================================
    Not if you’re referring to the paper offered by Oakden. The whole paper was comparing two different data sets and guestimating different variables to make the conditions the same. Try again sparky. You got any other evidence of measured changes in the pH of the oceans?

    But, noting your expertise in seawater chemistry, what is meant by sea water being in equilibrium with the atmosphere?

    I do love it when a group of people invent their own code words.

  112. LazyTeenager says:

    cirby says:
    October 15, 2011 at 4:24 am
    One other little thing: they ran this test in the lab, over “200 generations.” Which means less than a year. If you’re going to test the adjustment of an organism to changing environments, you need a bit more time than that.
    ———-
    I suspect the reason was to allow the distribution of organism responses to stabilize to constant artificial conditions.

  113. Paul Coppin says:

    From the Words Actually Mean Something” file:
    Mike Jowsey says:
    October 15, 2011 at 10:32 am
    Obligatory pedantic nitpick: might effect coccolith development.
    Should be “might affect coccolith development.”
    REPLY: Obligatory rebuttal – take it up with the authors – Anthony

    Maybe yes, maybe no. Might effect coccolith development means whatever they were talking about might initiate or facilitate coccolith development, which is different from Might affect coccolith development which means whatever they were talking about might impact coccolith development. Question is, do the authors know which they meant?

    One of the great burdens of modern science is the decline in knowledge and facility of language, especially English. People think and express in the language they are most comfortable with, basing their thought processes on the depth and understanding of the vocabulary and idioms of their chosen language. Language skills have declined dramatically in learned circles over the last 50 years, partly as a sop to multiculturalism, and partly due to massive failures in primary education. Do many scientists today, literally, know what they are talking about?

    The frivolous use of jargon in science has always been, and continues to be, a pox on understanding. Jargon terms ,like umpteen definitions of “organic”, serve only to obfusticate truth. In too many cases, the jargon is created to support the hypothesis by nuance, rather than fact. As we try to remind authors of posts here, science authors need to define their acronyms and jargonology going into their writings, so that the rest of us may know what the heck you’re talking about. Otherwise the reader is left to assume, the consequences of which are self-evident….

  114. kim;) says:

    Paul Coppin says:
    October 16, 2011 at 5:47 am
    [ "The frivolous use of jargon in science has always been, and continues to be, a pox on understanding. Jargon terms ,like umpteen definitions of “organic”, serve only to obfusticate truth. In too many cases, the jargon is created to support the hypothesis by nuance, rather than fact. "].

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Well said!!!
    I’ve discussed one of my favorite phrases above.
    The words [ "more" ] and [ "less ' ] are not synonyms.
    The words [ "acid" ] and [ "alkaline" ] are not synonyms.

    There is a difference between a tree and a vine – both ARE woody plants – but both ARE entirely different species.
    It is the baselines that separate them.

    I also like the loosely used phrases – ” Carbon neutrality” – “mitigate”.

  115. Phil. says:

    Paul Coppin says:
    October 16, 2011 at 5:47 am
    One of the great burdens of modern science is the decline in knowledge and facility of language, especially English. People think and express in the language they are most comfortable with, basing their thought processes on the depth and understanding of the vocabulary and idioms of their chosen language. Language skills have declined dramatically in learned circles over the last 50 years, partly as a sop to multiculturalism, and partly due to massive failures in primary education. Do many scientists today, literally, know what they are talking about?

    The frivolous use of jargon in science has always been, and continues to be, a pox on understanding. Jargon terms ,like umpteen definitions of “organic”, serve only to obfusticate truth.

    The use of the term ‘Organic’ in science is not jargon, its use as here is a precise term in chemistry which goes back about a couple of centuries.
    Inorganic carbon refers to that in the form of CO3 and HCO3 for example.

  116. Paul Coppin says:

    Phil. says:
    October 16, 2011 at 12:47 pm
    “The use of the term ‘Organic’ in science is not jargon, its use as here is a precise term in chemistry which goes back about a couple of centuries.
    Inorganic carbon refers to that in the form of CO3 and HCO3 for example.”

    Yeah, no. From the “chemistry of substances formed by living matter”, pre-Wohler (1828), to the “chemistry of carbon containing compounds” of Roberts and Caserio (which would include your carbonates, though their obvious intent is hydrocarbons); there are other definitions. But definitions are not inherently the same as jargon. Technical jargon is a contrivance, not a universally accepted definition. Organic on its own isn’t jargon per se, but becomes so when co-mingled with a variety of other terms, combinations of which frequently have no basis for being beyond a lack of author vocabulary. They are definitely useful for making writing appropriately terse, but the word choices do need to have some commonality and accuracy of meaning, especially words that are part of common speech. If there was some consistency of language application, we wouldn’t even be talking about it ;)

  117. bob droege says:

    Lazy teenager could teach most of you a little chemistry.

    Acidity and alkalinity are two different ways of describing the same thing. In aqueos solutions like seawater, the product of the hydronium ion concentration and the hydroxyl ion concentration is a temperature dependent constant. If you know the acidity, then you know the alkalinity.

    Acidity is also the measure of the negative log ot the hydronium ion concentration, so alot of you are saying there is no hydronium ion concentration until pH is below 7, utter bollocks I say.

    To be an acid, you do not need to have a proton to donate, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_acids_and_bases

    Also look here for the reason the term acid does not require that pH be below 7 or any other level.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acid%E2%80%93base_reaction

    thanks

  118. kim;) says:

    bob droege says:
    October 16, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    [ " Acidity and alkalinity are two different ways of describing the same thing. " ].

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Question: A pH of 7.5 to 8.5 is what? Alkaline or acid?
    Question: What is the basic range of seawater pH? Is it 7.5 to 8.5?
    Question: What is the pH for neutral water? Is it 7.0 pH?
    Question: What is the baseline for seawater alkalinity? Is it above 7.0 pH?
    Question: When [ at what baseline ] does seawater become acidity [ acid ]? Is it below 7.0 pH?
    Question: Are the measurement steps of pH a logarithm base 10?

    [ probably younger than a LazyTeenager ;) ]

  119. kim;) says:

    Can anyone point to an ocean with seawater at a pH of 7.0? Or lower?

  120. bob droege says:

    Question: A pH of 7.5 to 8.5 is what? Alkaline or acid?
    0.00001 mMolar acid and 0.001 mMolar alkaline, you see the point that it is both.
    Question: What is the basic range of seawater pH? Is it 7.5 to 8.5?
    Yes, sea water is basic and the pH range you have is correct, though at that pH there is still acidic species present.
    Question: What is the pH for neutral water? Is it 7.0 pH?
    Yes, neutral cold water has a pH of about 7, but neutral boiling water has a pH of about 6. Is boiling water acid because it has a pH of less than 7 even when it is neutral?

    Question: What is the baseline for seawater alkalinity? Is it above 7.0 pH?
    Yes
    Question: When [ at what baseline ] does seawater become acidity [ acid ]? Is it below 7.0 pH?
    Depends on what you mean by acid, or what you do with it. If you dissolve NH3 gas into it, it acts as the acid in an acid-base reaction.
    Question: Are the measurement steps of pH a logarithm base 10?
    Yes

  121. bob droege says:

    I think someone already mentioned the answer to this but

    “Can anyone point to an ocean with seawater at a pH of 7.0? Or lower?”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrothermal_vent

    Seawater pH as low as 2.8

  122. Sparks says:

    LazyTeenager says:
    October 15, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Sparks says:
    October 15, 2011 at 7:49 am
    Scientific papers that have conclusions of what would happen due to Anthropogenic climate change, Are Not proof that Anthropogenic climate change is Actually happening.
    —————-
    That is perfectly correct. But if the predicted consequences do come to pass then that IS evidence for global warming.
    —————-

    But But But But if the predicted consequences do come to pass then… FAIL!

  123. kim;) says:

    bob droege says:
    October 16, 2011 at 8:25 pm
    [ " Question: A pH of 7.5 to 8.5 is what? Alkaline or acid?
    0.00001 mMolar acid and 0.001 mMolar alkaline, you see the point that it is both.' ]

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    I believe you missed a few 0’s?
    Neutral water [ de-ionized ] @ 7.0 pH = 0.0000001 M H?
    Which indeed makes it a very weak acid or very weak alkaline.

    But we aren’t measuring the titration of the pH or it’s base 7.0 pH neutral.

    We are measuring seawaters alkaline – BY pH..

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    bob droege says:
    October 16, 2011 at 8:25 pm
    Question: What is the pH for neutral water? Is it 7.0 pH?
    Yes, neutral cold water has a pH of about 7,

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Actually, I wouldn’t consider temperatures of 25 °C (77 °F) cold?
    Isn’t that the specs for measuring neutral pH?

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    bob droege says:
    October 16, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    [" but neutral boiling water has a pH of about 6.
    Is boiling water acid because it has a pH of less than 7 even when it is neutral? "]

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    No,
    But we are not measuring alkalinity of seawater at boiling – nor are we measuring seawater that is neutral.

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Question: When [ at what baseline ] does seawater become acidity [ acid ]? Is it below 7.0 pH?
    bob droege says:
    October 16, 2011 at 8:25 pm
    [" Depends on what you mean by acid, or what you do with it. If you dissolve NH3 gas into it, it acts as the acid in an acid-base reaction."]

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Sorry, but the question was: When [ at what baseline ] does seawater become acidity [ acid ]? Is it below 7.0 pH?

    Not adding anything to it – just taking seawaters pH.measurement by international agreed scientific standards.
    We are not playing in some lab here.
    Adding to – exposing to temperature fluctuations – depth changes – even delaying time of administrating the pH test would invalidate / contaminate the sample(s) results,

    .xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    bob droege says:
    October 16, 2011 at 8:30 pm
    [" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrothermal_vent

    Seawater pH as low as 2.8"]
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    C’mon….[ you had me thinking you were a chemist - until this bit of logic ]

    .”Seawater” just because it is in the sea – doesn’t mean you are measuring seawater. By your logic – I could be measuring the viscosity of “seawater” using an oil slick.
    Sorry, with a pH of 2.8 you are measuring a fairly strong acid.- within AN ocean.

    Definition of seawater agreed by international standards.
    Ocean water has an excellent buffering system with the interaction of carbon dioxide and water so that it is generally always at a pH of 7.5 to 8.5

    You are talking about a vent of hydrothermal activity in an ocean – not AN ocean.

  124. Phil. says:

    Paul Coppin says:
    October 16, 2011 at 1:45 pm
    Phil. says:
    October 16, 2011 at 12:47 pm
    “The use of the term ‘Organic’ in science is not jargon, its use as here is a precise term in chemistry which goes back about a couple of centuries.
    Inorganic carbon refers to that in the form of CO3 and HCO3 for example.”

    Yeah, no. From the “chemistry of substances formed by living matter”, pre-Wohler (1828), to the “chemistry of carbon containing compounds” of Roberts and Caserio (which would include your carbonates, though their obvious intent is hydrocarbons); there are other definitions.

    No chemist would accept a definition of organic chemistry which includes carbonates.

  125. bob droege says:

    Kim;)

    Please,

    Do you know what the prefix m means when used in the unit term Molar?

    Secondly, the pH of neutral water is closest to 7 the colder the water is. I didn’t specify the temperature as 25 C, you are just trying to be pendantic here and failing.

    you said “No,
    But we are not measuring alkalinity of seawater at boiling – nor are we measuring seawater that is neutral.”

    I was just providing an example of when neutral water has a pH other than about 7, I answered you question and now you change the question, saying we weren’t talking about boiling water. Fine.

    You say “Question: When [ at what baseline ] does seawater become acidity [ acid ]? Is it below 7.0 pH?”

    And again you misunderstand my response, I am saying the seawater is already acid as it already has a pH, which is a measure of acidity. Anything that has a pH has a concentration of the acid species [H3O+]. And you missed the part about acid base reactions, reactions involving two species, one an acid and one a base, and they react. The point was when you add ammonia to seawater, there is an acid base reaction, and in this case the seawater acts as the acid and the ammonia as the base. It is one way chemists use the term acid.

    The problem is that you and most of the others on this blog can only see the word acid and assume that means something with a pH less than 7 and that is not how chemists use that term.

    And last, something that has a pH of 2.8 is a weak acid, using the term fairly strong acid shows that you don’t understand acid base chemistry. Look up what a strong acid is, please.
    There are only strong acids and weak acids.

    Sorry, chem lecture is closed.

  126. Sparks says:

    One Fact I know about pH levels is that we measure it because it’s a variable and it constantly changes.

  127. michael hart says:

    I think a person who describes an aqueous solution of pH>7 as “acid” is probably not a chemist.
    A chemist who describes aqueous pH changes [above pH7] as “acidity” changes is either careless, or probably a chemist with an agenda.

    But two can play at that game. The views of many scientists are frequently disparaged as not being from “climate” scientists. Yet so often “climate” pronouncements are made regarding the role of “Carbon Dioxide”. Well, an Organic Chemist Doctorate could reply that they have a PhD in “Carbon Chemistry”.
    Touche?

  128. Phil. says:

    michael hart says:
    October 17, 2011 at 7:53 am
    I think a person who describes an aqueous solution of pH>7 as “acid” is probably not a chemist.
    A chemist who describes aqueous pH changes [above pH7] as “acidity” changes is either careless, or probably a chemist with an agenda.

    However, one might reasonably describe the process of ‘acidification’ as the addition of an acid, which is what happens when you dissolve CO2 in water. Also in the arctic ocean neutrality is around pH 7.5.

    kim;) says:
    October 17, 2011 at 12:04 am
    “Ocean water has an excellent buffering system with the interaction of carbon dioxide and water so that it is generally always at a pH of 7.5 to 8.5″

    It’s customary when cutting and pasting from another site to acknowledge the source,

    http://www.marinebio.net/marinescience/02ocean/swcomposition.htm

    This is not buffering in the usual sense, it’s just due to the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. Buffering would imply either pH ~6.4 or ~10.4.

  129. kim;) says:

    Phil. says:
    October 17, 2011 at 10:01 am
    [" It’s customary when cutting and pasting from another site to acknowledge the source,
    http://www.marinebio.net/marinescience/02ocean/swcomposition.htm "]

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    ABSOLUTELY! :)
    You can tell by my post that I had meant to – in fact, I thought I had.
    I apologize…

  130. kim;) says:

    michael hart says:
    October 17, 2011 at 7:53 am

    [ “I think a person who describes an aqueous solution of pH>7 as “acid” is probably not a chemist.
    A chemist who describes aqueous pH changes [above pH7] as “acidity” changes is either careless, or probably a chemist with an agenda.”]

    xxxxxxxxxxx

    I got marked down because I used the term / phrase “Ocean acidification.”

  131. kim;) says:

    bob droege says:
    October 17, 2011 at 6:59 am
    Sorry, chem lecture is closed.

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    ABSOLUTELY! :)
    It closed – when you attempted this bit of logic [ "Seawater pH as low as 2.8"]…for the reasons I stated above.

  132. bob droege says:

    pH is defined as the negative log of the [H3O+] concentration.

    It is the concentration of the acid in the solution no matter what the pH is, so if you are talking about pH, then you are talking about the concentration of acid in the sample.

  133. Bernard J. says:

    kim;) said :

    .”Seawater” just because it is in the sea – doesn’t mean you are measuring seawater. By your logic – I could be measuring the viscosity of “seawater” using an oil slick.
    Sorry, with a pH of 2.8 you are measuring a fairly strong acid.- within AN ocean.

    Definition of seawater agreed by international standards.
    Ocean water has an excellent buffering system with the interaction of carbon dioxide and water so that it is generally always at a pH of 7.5 to 8.5

    Kim;) would do well to listen to Lazyteenager, Phil, Bob Droege and others who have been trying to educate folk here about acid chemistry. Frankly, the ignorance of chemistry by most commenters on this post is starkly apparent (if not to themselves), and an indictment on the scientific education (or lack thereof) of the general lay public – in the US at least…

    1) The unattributed quote that Kim;) posted is not a “definition of seawater agreed by international standards”. Such a definitionis better-discussed here.

    2) Acidified seawater is simply that – acidified seawater.

    I strongly urge folk to try this experiment. Given the apparent expertise that the majority of commenters here seem to perceive of themselves, I am sure that they have access to the appropriate instrumentation…

    Take 200 millilitres of seawater. Take a straw. Take a deep breath, and blow into the seawater at a rate of around 6 litres of breath per minute. Take a moment to breathe whenever and as required.

    After about a minute the seawater will have a pH around 7.5, and after 100 seconds the seawater will have a pH below neutral.

    As kim;) seems to think that seawater is only seawater above pH 7.5, I would like to know if s/he believes that the seawater in the exercise above ceases to be seawater after one minute?

    As kim;) believes that acidification only occurs below the arbitrary figure of 7 (deconstructed by others above, and in detail by Skeptical Science), I would like to know if s/he thinks that the process of acidification commences only after 100 seconds in the exercise above, in a solution that is apparently no longer seawater?

  134. kim;) says:

    Bernard J. says:
    October 18, 2011 at 5:08 am
    [ " 1) The unattributed quote that Kim;) posted is not a “definition of seawater agreed by international standards”. Such a definitionis better-discussed here."]

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Did you read your link here? : http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=new-seawater-definition

    Or the PDF from that site? http://ioc-unesco.org/components/com_oe/oe.php?task=download&id=7110&version=1.0&lang=1&format=1

    The first site mentions measuring salinity.NOT acidity …NOT one mention of it.
    The PDF mentions “acidification” ONCE…IMO More as a “grant application term”.

    [ " • The Reference Composition of standard seawater supports marine physico-chemical
    studies such as the solubility of sea salt constituents, the alkalinity, the pH and the ocean
    acidification by rising concentrations of atmospheric CO2 "]

    What does the ONE mentioned term “acidification” referenced in this PDF imply?
    That atmospheric CO2 is the culprit for oceans alkalinization levels.
    That oceans only store CO2.
    That a drop in Oceans pH is not a natural occurring phase.
    That there is no pH base.
    That De-alkalinization will drop below 7.0 pH because of atmospheric CO2.

    There are a number of terms that IPCC lead – Geoengineering supporter Ken Caldeira could have coined to describe more honestly the alkalinization levels of oceans. Ocean De-alkalinization – Ocean neutralization – Seawater nullification. etc . ALL support a baseline – ALL more an honest description of what is being measured.. BUT no, Mr Caldeira jumped over the baseline – straight to Ocean acidification.

    And IPCC – AW’ers sucked it up like a pup on a teat. Why? [ Scare factor? ].

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Bernard J. says:
    October 18, 2011 at 5:08 am

    [ "I strongly urge folk to try this experiment. Given the apparent expertise that the majority of commenters here seem to perceive of themselves, I am sure that they have access to the appropriate instrumentation.......Take 200 millilitres of seawater. "]

    I strongly urge you to understand you have contaminated the original sample.You are now measuring the contamination added to the seawater. BUT carry on and see if you can breath enough to get it to turn into acid.

    [ Call the para-medics ]

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Bernard J. says:
    October 18, 2011 at 5:08 am
    ["As kim;) seems to think that seawater is only seawater above pH 7.5, " ]

    Reading comprehension is an acquired skill. :)
    Where exactly did I say seawater can’t be below 7.5 pH?

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Bernard J. says:
    October 18, 2011 at 5:08 am
    [" by Skeptical Science" ]

    OMG…you’d send a kid to SkS John Cook and dana1981?
    [ " dana1981 at 06:52 AM on 30 June, 2011
    I hope this semantics argument doesn't continue throughout the series. The most frequent "response" I see amongst "skeptics" when ocean acidification and the associated dangerous consequences are discussed is this same "oceans aren't acid" semantics silliness. As several other commenters have noted, decreasing pH = becoming more acidic = acidification. That's what it's called, it's an accurate description, now let's move on and talk about the actual science.
    Moderator Response: Further "look squirrel!" comments about acidification will be deleted . The same goes for "looking for the squirrel" comments. (Rob P)' ] http://www.skepticalscience.com/Mackie_OA_not_OK_post_0.html

    Can you provide evidence that an Ocean body is comprised of DE-ionized water… [ Fresh water ]?

  135. Jeff D says:

    Bernard J. says:
    October 18, 2011 at 5:08 am

    A cute little experiment reminds me of the globe one Gore used for the boarathon.

    I have some seawater you can blow on.. If you can blow on it for 100 seconds and the value drops more than .5 pH I will humbly apologize. Adding just table salt to water does not make seawater.

    NSW ( Normal Sea Water ) has a dkh of 8 this is a measurement of alkalinity the buffering capacity of the water. Not to be confused with pH being alkaline or acidic. Not sure who came up with those names but he should be beat with a large stick. My tanks seawater runs 11-12 dkh.

    It would take me a while to remember all the tanks I have set up. But lets take a look at the ones with a calcium reactor. This little device works like this:

    There is a chamber that a slow flow of tank makes it way in and out. In this chamber is calcium carbonate ( crushed coral ). In the top of the chamber is an inlet for 100% CO2. CO2 is injected and mixes with the incoming tank water to create carbonic acid. The amount injected is hard to visualize but 10-20 bubbles a minute is a common amount in a well stocked tank. At the top of the chamber the pH is 6.0- 6.5. As the water that has now become acidic makes it way down the chamber the calcium carbonate is dissolved and breaks down into its component parts. While this is happening the pH of the water running threw the crush coral increases. For most tanks I have added this device to I shoot for an effluent output from the chamber of about 6.8 to 7.0. Doing this creates calcium, carbonates, and some other trace minerals that the corals need to thrive and grow.

    So you say Jeff you must be crazy adding such an acidic flow of water into your delicate and expensive Reef Tank. Well the trick is circulation. It seems CO2 off gases incredibly fast even in a small enclosed system. As long a circulation is good a tank pH level of 8.3 is easy to maintain even with a constant source of CO2 and carbonic acid be added to the tank. It is all about the buffering capacity / alkalinity / and the air water interface that allows off gassing.

    The ocean off gasses close to the same way, winds and waves keep the pH of the ocean stable. Ocean currents aka the big pump also keep the dissolved CO2 levels mixed. The oceans are well ventilated for the most part. With that being said temperature becomes the main controlling factor for the saturation of CO2 in the open ocean. This is not saying that the CO2 concentrations / pH levels are homogenous. Local variables do have an effect.

    The one experiment I would like to see is a Reef Tank with normal levels of CO2 and another with levels doubled. What would the difference in coral growth be?

    A comment on politically or scientifically correct. PH, pH who really freaking cares when used in the proper context.

  136. bob droege says:

    Kim;),

    Surely you don’t think fresh water and de-ionized are the same?

    “Can you provide evidence that an Ocean body is comprised of DE-ionized water… [ Fresh water ]?”

  137. kim;) says:

    bob droege says:
    October 18, 2011 at 6:45 pm
    [ "Kim;),

    Surely you don’t think fresh water and de-ionized are the same?" ]

    Did I say so? ;)
    I noticed you didn’t give an answer to ether – or.

    I find it amazing – that you are worried about terminology while insisting we are measuring oceans acidification. Ignoring the fact that there is a baseline between seawater.and weak acid creating a difference of approximately 100 fold.

    ” Weak acids like urine” averaged approximately at 6.0 pH [ 10 fold ]
    “Pure” water being at 7.0 pH [ 1 fold ] –
    “Seawater’ averaged approximately at 8.0 pH [ 1/10 fold ]

    Basic pH chart here. http://www.apswater.com/article.asp?id=140&title=What_is_pH

  138. kim;) says:

    Jeff D says:
    October 18, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    [ " Not sure who came up with those names but he should be beat with a large stick.' ]

    My source says : http://discovermagazine.com/2008/jul/16-ocean-acidification-a-global-case-of-osteoporosis

    [ " In 2003 Caldeira reported these findings in the journal Nature, coining the term “ocean acidification.” ]

  139. Bernard J. says:

    Jeff D.

    I have some seawater you can blow on.. If you can blow on it for 100 seconds and the value drops more than .5 pH I will humbly apologize. Adding just table salt to water does not make seawater.

    I used real seawater from the region of the Tasman Sea/Southern Ocean interface. Given the speed and direction of the local currents, a week prior the sample was probably 250km away from the nearest land, coming in from Antarctica. The pH was measured with a pH meter that records pH to 2 decimal places, and saves to flash memory once per second.

    The straw was one of those snazzy long bendy numbers that look like concertinas… With a decent amount of aerobic fitness blowing at the stated rate is not overly taxing.

    I posted the results of the exercise elsewere about two months ago. I can post them here too, but I would encourage you to try the exercise yourself first, so that you have empirical experience with the process…

    There are no tricks involved. The result is as I described. Seriously, try it yourself. I will happily accept your apology.

    And for what it’s worth, I have maintained (and still maintain) marine aquaria for decades. These days I don’t bother with artificial salt, because I have the privilege of having at my disposal a flow-through system that ticks over at about 100k litres/day. So I know a little bit about seawater chemistry.

    Kim;).

    You’re rambling. Incoherently.

  140. Bernard J. says:

    I said:

    As kim;) seems to think that seawater is only seawater above pH 7.5…

    [My latter emboldened emphasis]

    and in response kim;) said:

    Reading comprehension is an acquired skill. :)
    Where exactly did I say seawater can’t be below 7.5 pH?

    apparently forgetting that s/he quoted (without initial attribution):

    Definition of seawater agreed by international standards.
    Ocean water has an excellent buffering system with the interaction of carbon dioxide and water so that it is generally always at a pH of 7.5 to 8.5.

    [My emboldened emphasis]

    My original statement is not inconsistent with that made by kim;), which elicited my statement in the first place.

    Don’t worry kim;), reading comprehension is a skill that you may one day acquire.

  141. Brian H says:

    Bernard J;

    it is generally always

    means usually, but with some exceptions.
    You’re the one with reading comprehension problems, or perhaps it’s selective reading with the aim of creating put-downs out of whole cloth. Pick one.

  142. kim;) says:

    Bernard J. says:
    October 19, 2011 at 7:54 am
    apparently forgetting that s/he quoted (without initial attribution):

    This is the second time you’ve mentioned I failed to link…I provided an explanation and an apology. Are you anal retentive enough not to except either?

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Bernard J. says:
    October 19, 2011 at 7:54 am
    Definition of seawater agreed by international standards.
    Ocean water has an excellent buffering system with the interaction of carbon dioxide and water so that it is generally always at a pH of 7.5 to 8.5.

    [My emboldened emphasis]

    Ahhhhhhh what does the word “generally” mean to you?

    And your statement says: [ " As kim;) seems to think that seawater is only seawater above pH 7.5…"]

    What does the word “only” mean to you?

    Reading comprehension is an acquired skill. :)

  143. kim;) says:

    Brian H says:
    October 19, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Thank you :)

  144. kim;) says:

    Bernard J. says:
    October 19, 2011 at 7:34 am
    [ 'Kim;).

    You’re rambling. Incoherently.']

    Ha ha ha……As evidenced by you trying to address part of that post..BUT ignore answering the rest – I’d say….. coherency is a selective defense of yours.

  145. kim;) says:

    Sorry, accept not except in above post

    [ " This is the second time you’ve mentioned I failed to link…I provided an explanation and an apology. Are you anal retentive enough not to except either? ']…..should be This is the second time you’ve mentioned I failed to link…I provided an explanation and an apology. Are you anal retentive enough not to accept either.

    My posts disappear on me.

  146. Phil. says:

    Jeff D says:
    October 18, 2011 at 4:35 pm
    Well the trick is circulation. It seems CO2 off gases incredibly fast even in a small enclosed system. As long a circulation is good a tank pH level of 8.3 is easy to maintain even with a constant source of CO2 and carbonic acid be added to the tank. It is all about the buffering capacity / alkalinity / and the air water interface that allows off gassing.

    Yes

    The ocean off gasses close to the same way, winds and waves keep the pH of the ocean stable. Ocean currents aka the big pump also keep the dissolved CO2 levels mixed. The oceans are well ventilated for the most part. With that being said temperature becomes the main controlling factor for the saturation of CO2 in the open ocean. This is not saying that the CO2 concentrations / pH levels are homogenous. Local variables do have an effect.

    The temperature and the pCO2 in the air.

    The one experiment I would like to see is a Reef Tank with normal levels of CO2 and another with levels doubled. What would the difference in coral growth be?

    That would be interesting, might take a long time though.

  147. bob droege says:

    Kim;) posted this

    “Did I say so? ;)
    I noticed you didn’t give an answer to ether – or.

    I find it amazing – that you are worried about terminology while insisting we are measuring oceans acidification. Ignoring the fact that there is a baseline between seawater.and weak acid creating a difference of approximately 100 fold.

    ” Weak acids like urine” averaged approximately at 6.0 pH [ 10 fold ]
    “Pure” water being at 7.0 pH [ 1 fold ] –
    “Seawater’ averaged approximately at 8.0 pH [ 1/10 fold ]

    Basic pH chart here. http://www.apswater.com/article.asp?id=140&title=What_is_pH

    When put parentheses after a word(noun) it is commonly(usually) accepted (taken to mean) that the two(2) things are the same, so of course I think you said that deionized water and fresh water are the same thing.

    And do you know what else you said?
    You just said that seawater is 1/10 as acidic as “Pure water”
    Which means that you agree with me that seawater is already acidic.

    Now it is just a small logical step to consider if adding CO2 to seawater makes it more acidic.

    There are also a bunch of errors on that site, the pH scale is only bounded by 0 to 14 by definition, concentrated hydrochloric acid has negative pH for example, HF or hydrofluoric acid is not a stong acid, although it is quite dangerous compared to the other strong acids, free hydrogen ions do not exist in aqueous solutions, but I do like how they the terms acidic/basic (alkaline) and acidity/basicness.

    See what I did there?

    You are coming around, you just like to argue.

  148. Bernard J. says:

    Kim;) and Brian H.

    My statement:

    As kim;) seems to think that seawater is only seawater above pH 7.5…

    is not inconsistent with the oxymoronic:

    Ocean water has an excellent buffering system with the interaction of carbon dioxide and water so that it is generally always at a pH of 7.5 to 8.5.

    You might like to focus on the “generally”, but the “always” remains, and therefore give support to my original “seems to think”.

    But this nonsense is all argument over how many angels may fit upon the point of a needle. Kim;) thinks that blowing into seawater “contaminates” it. Does this apparent “contamination” render the seawater not seawater after one second of blowing? After ten seconds? After 60 seconds? After 100 seconds?

    And what of the extra carbon dioxide that humans have introduced into the oceans since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution? Does this “contamination” render the water in the oceans not seawater?

    Finally, does the dissolution of carbon dioxide into seawater increase the concentration of acidic species, or does it not?

  149. Gail Combs says:

    stevo says:
    October 15, 2011 at 4:01 am

    No matter what the subject, whether it’s biology, physics, chemistry, whatever, you apparently know enough about it to pour scorn on research that somehow offends you.
    _________________________________

    It is more appropriate to say Anthony and others here can spot Propaganda masquerading as Science.

    This press release stinks of propaganda and fear mongering.

    I am a chemist and I with little knowledge of biology could easily set-up the laboratory experiments to “PROVE” the “hypothesis” Just leave the buffers found in the oceans out of the laboratory version of the sea water.

  150. Bernard J. says:

    Gail Combs.

    As you are a chemist, you should be able to replicate the exercise I describe above, using the seawater version of seawater, complete with seawater buffers. Would you care to do so, and thereby confirm the demonstration that dissolving CO2 in seawater increases the concentration of acid species, and thus the acidity, of said seawater?

  151. Bernard J. says:

    Gail Combs.

    I’m curious as to whether you have performed the little chemistry exercise detailed above. What were your results?

    I’m also curious about what sort of “chemist” you actually are, given your statement:

    However the energy from the point of view of an atom of gas can be thought of as a “packet” Upon absorption it kicks the atom to a higher energy level. when the atom falls back to the original energy level the exact same amount of energy “packet” is emitted.

    1) All significant atmospheric gases are molecular, not atomic.

    2) Atomic gases do not absorb infrared radiation.

    3) Absorption of IR photons increases the vibrational/rotational energy of the interatomic bonds of ‘greenhouse’ molecules – the atoms composing the molecule only “kick… to a higher energy level” where this extra bond energy is translated to molecular kinetic energy.

    I don’t know any chemist that would explain IR absorption the way that you did.

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