Sea cucumbers: Dissolving coral reefs?

From the Carnegie Institution  and Stanford University comes word of this paper in JGR.

Sea Cucumbers

A box of Sea Cucumbers - Image by mdid via Flickr

Washington, D.C. — Coral reefs are extremely diverse ecosystems that support enormous biodiversity. But they are at risk. Carbon dioxide emissions are acidifying the ocean, threatening reefs and other marine organisms. New research led by Carnegie’s Kenneth Schneider analyzed the role of sea cucumbers in portions of the Great Barrier Reef and determined that their dietary process of dissolving calcium carbonate (CaCO3) from the surrounding reef accounts for about half of at the total nighttime dissolution for the reef. The work is published December 23 by the Journal of Geophysical Research.

Reefs are formed through the biological deposition of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Many of the marine organisms living on and around a reef contribute to either its destruction or construction. Therefore it is crucial that the amount of calcium carbonate remain in balance. When this delicate balance is disrupted, the reef ceases to grow and its foundations can be weakened.

In order to fully understand a reef’s ability to deposit carbonate and grow, it is necessary to understand the roles that the various elements of sea life play in this process. This is especially important because increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is predicted to decrease the amount of carbonate available due to acidification.

The research group set out to examine the role that sea cucumbers play in the reef environment.

Schneider’s team included Carnegie’s Ken Caldeira, as well as Jacob Silverman, of the Israeli Limnology and Oceanography Institute; Maria Byrne and Erika Woolsey, both of the University of Sydney and the latter also from James Cook University; and Hampus Eriksson of Stockholm University.

They studied the growth and dissolution of One Tree Reef, which surrounds One Tree Island in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Focusing on an area of the reef known as “DK13″, they found that sea cucumbers were abundant. They collected some of these sea cucumbers and placed them in aquaria to study the effect on sea water resulting from the sand and rubble transported through their gut system as part of their digestive process.

As part of another ongoing study in this area, the team found that the coral reef was dissolving at night. They found that sea cucumbers play a crucial part in this process. They live off the bits of organic matter in the carbonate sand and rubble that they ingest; in this process, their digestive systems produce acids that dissolve parts of these carbonate minerals. The dissolved carbonate minerals are then released into the surrounding environment. The researchers found that these lowly organisms might be responsible for half of the CaCO3 of the reef observed at night.

The burning of coal, oil, and gas releases CO2 into the atmosphere, which is later absorbed by the ocean, causing the ocean to acidify. Ocean acidification is expected to slow reef growth. With slower reef growth, the dissolution of CaCO3 within the guts of sea cucumbers is expected to become even more important to the reef CaCO3 budget.

“Even though the sea cucumbers dissolve CaCO3 on the reef, in a lagoon such as the one at One Tree Reef, where there is limited seawater exchange with the surrounding ocean, they can be important in recycling of nutrients to support primary productivity. They also increase sea water buffer capacity to partially offset ocean acidification effects, helping to maintain the overall health of the coral reef,” Schneider said. “Although sea cucumbers may play a part in reef dissolution, they are also an important part of an incredible marine environment.”

###

This research was supported by the Moore foundation. The authors thank the University of Sydney’s One Tree Island Research Station facility.

The Department of Global Ecology was established in 2002 to help build the scientific foundations for a sustainable future. The department is located on the campus of Stanford University, but is an independent research organization funded by the Carnegie Institution. Its scientists conduct basic research on a wide range of large-scale environmental issues, including climate change, ocean acidification, biological invasions, and changes in biodiversity.

The Carnegie Institution for Science (carnegiescience.edu) is a private, nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., with six research departments throughout the U.S. Since its founding in 1902, the Carnegie Institution has been a pioneering force in basic scientific research. Carnegie scientists are leaders in plant biology, developmental biology, astronomy, materials science, global ecology, and Earth and planetary science.

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167 thoughts on “Sea cucumbers: Dissolving coral reefs?

  1. I am not sure about the point of this article. Sea cucumbers and many star fish feed off reefs and if invasive, often pose a danger until a predator adapts them to diet. This has been known for 70 years. And the so called acidification of the oceans, really reduced alkalinity, is primarily modelling as we have no accurate pre industrialization information.As far as the current status, oceanic calcium carbonate is quite stable.
    The danger to reefs continues to be fertilizer, shore structures, dynamite, over-fishing and poor fishing practices, anchorages, and siltation. AGW does not even approach a level of concern when compared to any one of these elements.

  2. Para. 7 The researchers found that these lowly organisms might be responsible for half of the CaCO3 of the reef (dissolution?) observed at night.
    acidify= to make or become acid. Bad Science, bad, bad.

  3. Anthony-
    The accompanying Pic is conflicting with my first cup of morning joe…

    May i suggest a more appropriate photo of a Sea Cucumber?

  4. IIRC, a paper recently established that lowered alkalinity increased the dissolution of “dead” coral and shells, but accelerated the uptake of CaCO3 into new growth. I.e., the whole cycle ran at greater speed. There would thus be a decrease in the speed with which limestone and chalk was laid down, and an increase in the quantity and number of “living corals”, etc.

  5. First, I would love to know how they measured that the reef was dissolving at night. That’s going to be a marginal effect when you are dealing with a saturated or supersaturated calcium carbonate condition. Added CO2 cannot cause a pH change that dissolves calcium carbonate as it is part of an extended equilibrium from CO2 to carbonic acid to bicarbonate to carbonate to calcium carbonate. More CO2 means more calcium carbonate deposition.

    Only an outside source of protons (acid), such as the digestive juices of a sea cucumber, can cause dissolution. No surprise here! And the expelled carbonate solution would simply go towards deposition the next day when photosynthesis, which is an alkalizing process, neutralizes the acid released by the sea cucumbers.

    SO, there is nothing unusual here and all is normal, except for any reference to added CO2 having any deleterious effects. The fact is that reefs have been thriving over the last 50 years as CO2 has been rising.

    “This is especially important because increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is predicted to decrease the amount of carbonate available due to acidification.”
    This is their money phrase (more funding, please). The acidification they refer to is simply impossible; marine organisms thrive with more CO2, which goes well with the fact that CO2 has been much higher during the vast majority of the last 600 million years, during which coral evolved and thrived.

  6. This is what is called new science…
    …take something that is already known
    spin it a new and biased way

    and presto chango…….new science

  7. It is amazing that in hundreds of millions of years of higher CO2 levels than present, coral reefs managed to survive and thrive.

  8. It is amazing that in hundreds of millions of years of oceans more acidic than now, coral reefs managed to survive and thrive.

  9. Interesting, Anthony. In their rush to the press release, they omitted this very important sentence from the Abstract of the article (emphasis mine):

    Thus, in a healthy reef, bioeroders dissolution of CaCO3 sediment appears to be an important component of the natural CaCO3 turnover and a substantial source of alkalinity as well. This additional alkalinity could partially buffer changes in seawater pH associated with increasing atmospheric CO2 locally, thus reducing the impact of ocean acidification on coral growth.

    In other words, this appears to be one of the many, many ways that the ocean life is able to do things that ocean chemistry says are impossible …

    w.

  10. Ocean acidification from CO2 in the air is another non-problem. Equilibrium pH of a CO2 saturated solution with excess calcium carbonate at 20C is 8.2. There are in excess of 10000 gigatons of carbonate deposits (limestone) spread around the ocean. Thus at equilibrium, no matter how much CO2 we release the ocean pH will be near 8.2. What may be of concern is localized non-equilibrium conditions at reef sites but these should be easily solved if on the slight chance it is a problem simply by spreading some granulated CaCO3 pebbles around the reefs to protect them.

  11. Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 26, 2011 at 11:11 am

    “Even though the sea cucumbers dissolve CaCO3 on the reef, in a lagoon such as the one at One Tree Reef, where there is limited seawater exchange with the surrounding ocean, they can be important in recycling of nutrients to support primary productivity. They also increase sea water buffer capacity to partially offset ocean acidification effects, helping to maintain the overall health of the coral reef,” Schneider said. “Although sea cucumbers may play a part in reef dissolution, they are also an important part of an incredible marine environment.”

    They did kind of slip it in at the end. Made me want to go back and check the list of co-authors to see if Emily Litella was in there somewhere.

  12. I can tell the character of a man’s soul by the photos he posts to his blog…..thanks for the photo, Anthony! I showed my wife, she’s still laughing!

    Regarding reefs…they are under assault from many forces, none of them conducive to health. I think pollution from sewage and farm runoff is probably the biggest threat for the foreseeable future. See:

    http://www.int-res.com/articles/meps/21/m021p175.pdf.

  13. “Therefore it is crucial that the amount of calcium carbonate remain in balance…”

    … so that the world will stay just the same and never, ever change. Because it has never changed before.

    And it would be very, very wrong for our species, which owns the planet in the name of all flora and fauna, to allow the earth to change when we can spend gazillions of dollars and keep it the loving and nurturing place that it is, forever and ever, Amen.

    I mean … Gaia bless you.

    (joking)

  14. “The researchers found that these lowly organisms might be responsible for half of the CaCO3 of the reef observed at night.”
    ———————————-
    “lowly organisms”

    Speciesism! Prejudice! Discrimination! These creatures are no better or worse than humans. We are all equal. They have the same rights humans enjoy: the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of CaCO3; the right not to be herded up and placed in aquaria; the right to obamacare. Only human fetuses are a lower order of existence, and as such, are not protected. It is ok to do away with them because they are, after all, future climate criminals.

  15. “This is especially important because increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is predicted to decrease the amount of carbonate available due to acidification.”

    Does this prediction fit retrospectively, to the days of coral reefs of the Sahara desert, fossilized and many meters thick? Or does this prediction only work for future coral reefs?

  16. Sea slugs fried in their own slime is a delicacy in Korea. It is absolutely the most disgusting thing that you can put in your mouth.

    So no danger of over-fishing in this instance, I guess that means the coral reefs are doomed even though they have been around for at least 250 million years.

    As for manmade carbon dioxide supposedly acidifying the oceans and killing the coral reefs, please can we kill that arrant piece of total BS for once and for all.

  17. Queen1 says:
    December 26, 2011 at 10:12 am

    “I only have a stupendously juvenile response to that picture, so I guess I’ll just keep it to myself…”

    Funny. I had what was probably the same immediate response. Looks like the trophy collection from a hysterical mob of really, really angry man haters.

  18. Girl to friend,
    “Are you happy to see me, or is that a sea cucumber in your pocket ?”

    That design seems to have a very long and successful reproductive history…

  19. Cucumbers?
    Thats not what comes to my mind when I see that picture.
    But I suppose that if I had only sea-“cucumbers” to eat, that I would die from starvation no matter how nutritious they were.
    So, this was somehow related to… global warming?
    Happy new year everyone!

  20. To add to Willis @ 11:11
    From the text above, “they can be important in recycling of nutrients to support primary productivity. They also increase sea water buffer capacity to partially offset ocean acidification effects, helping to maintain the overall health of the coral reef,” Schneider said.
    Schneider obviously gets it. Carnegie doesn’t. Available calcium is what the corals seek. Nocturnally.

    Time for a little “Buckwheat sings the classics”: (to the tune of ‘Looking for Love’)
    “Wookin’ fa Woe in aw da wong paces, wookin fa Woe.”

  21. Would not the organic acids coming from the nearby mangrove swamps and the shallow water photosynthetic responses make any impact from changes in atmospheric CO2 almost impossible to discern?
    Given these offshore cay’s geology make them highly influenced by upwellings -one would think changes in wind pattern and intensity would be far more relevant to DIC than changes in atmospheric concentrations.

    Many of the world’s reef systems face very real challenges- that the limited resources we have to address them are being squandered on politically expedient “theoretical problems” is a tragedy.

  22. Willis Eschenbach says: December 26, 2011 at 11:11 am
    Willis,
    I think that sentence is important, but balances another oversight. Sea cucumbers can’t create nett acid or base. They can by use of energy reverse a neutralization. So they can create a local acid environment which dissolves CaCO3. But to do it, they must excrete a corresponding amount of base, which is what that para refers to. In the end, that will precipitate the CaCO3 dissolved – no ultimate effect.

    External CO2 can change the nett balance.

  23. Both Corals and sea cucumbers go way back in geologic history. I guess no one ever told them about this problem. On the other hand maybe corals and sea cucumbers understand something about their ecosystem these researchers have yet to discover. For me I go with the critters they have been here way longer then Standord University.

  24. Nick Stokes says:
    December 26, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says: December 26, 2011 at 11:11 am
    Willis,
    I think that sentence is important, but balances another oversight. Sea cucumbers can’t create nett acid or base.

    Thanks, Nick. That’s an interesting thought, but I’m not sure it’s true. Chemical reactions, particularly life-driven reactions, as far as I know, are under no restriction that they should produce equal amounts of acids and bases. What am I missing?

    w.

  25. Alcheson – funny how you contradict what Ferd Berple wrote and yet neither of you seem to pick up on this. Of course, neither of you are totally correct.

    Yes, natural processes, such as carbonate and silicate weathering and the shoaling (rising) of the carbonate compensation depth, can supply alkalinity back to the ocean. This prevents the ocean from becoming corrosive, but only works on the timescales of hundreds of thousands of years. Rapid increases in CO2 (such as today) overload the system, causing surface waters to become corrosive.

    This is why in the past when the Earth saw rapid pulses of CO2, from massive volcanic activity or the release of methane hydrates from seafloor sediments, the oceans acidified and coral went extinct, or nearly did.

    The crucial difference is the rate of change. Gradual increases in atmospheric CO2 occurring over hundreds of thousands of years won’t make the oceans corrosive. It seems counter-intuitive but a great explanatory paper on this topic is: Ocean acidification in deep time – Kump (2010).

    It’s much more complicated than that because the concentration of calcium and magnesium in seawater has varied substantially over multimillion-year timescales, and the cycling or carbon by living things (the carbonate pump) has changed much too. But when you delve a bit deeper the pieces of the puzzle fall into place.

  26. ChE says:
    December 26, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Nett?

    One of those “Queen’s English” – v – “Derivative English”

    Having had the benefit of an English Classical Education, I have always spelt Nett, Initialise, Customise, Colour, etc

    In more modern times, now resident in New Zealand, I have resisted numerous attempts from friends to “correct” my spelling

    Perhaps Modern Scientists are recognising at least one of their faults

    Season’s Greetings

    Andy

  27. I’m always forced to educate biologists who twist chemistry to meet their requirements. The cuke lives in the sea and thus can not create excess acid without without creating a compensating equal alkalinity. Sea creatures’ chemical activities are constrained to be neutral – changes have to come from outside the ocean as a system and it surely does with CO2 but ya know, inorganic carbonates are abundant in land and sea, too, and they are busy buffering any acidification that comes along.

  28. When RFK jr was giving a speech on the Boulder Courthouse lawn a few years ago he launched into his usual mercury scaremongering and the evil coal powerplants. When he started yelling about the 50 tons of mercury I started heckling him by asking about the other 4000 tons of mercury. I was manhandled and hustled away from this public venue while the Boulder police looked on. RFK jr had no response to my question.

  29. StudioBronze says
    acidify= to make or become acid. Bad Science, bad, bad.
    ———
    Nup. Used in this context acidify means decrease the pH.

    Chemical and biological processes could not give a rat’s a–e about whether the water is above or below pH = 7, which is the definition of acid you are thinking of. That definition of acid is largely a convention for human terminlogical purposes. Chemical and biological processes care about hydrogen ion concentration. There is no magical threshold at pH 7 that causes chemical process to be different above 7 and below 7.

    Scientists know how to interpret terms like acidity based on context.

  30. Brian H says:

    ChE;
    Nett seems to be the cutsey “in” spelling of “net” for economists and other pseudo-scientists these days.

    It’s been a standard variant for centuries. Economists use it to distinguish it from gross. In this case it is the usage, being the difference between two amounts.

    (Amusing that you use “cutesy” to bag someone, given that “cutesy” could be thought cutesy http://www.thefreedictionary.com/cutesy ).

  31. Rob Painting,
    “Yes, natural processes, such as carbonate and silicate weathering and the shoaling (rising) of the carbonate compensation depth, can supply alkalinity back to the ocean. This prevents the ocean from becoming corrosive, but only works on the timescales of hundreds of thousands of years. Rapid increases in CO2 (such as today) overload the system, causing surface waters to become corrosive.’

    Hundreds of thousands of years- Do you just make this stuff up or what? And exactly how much CO2 is needed to “overload the system’?

  32. Andy @2:29,

    Nett is absolutely correct. It is only the lazy and uneducated that use net.

    I am sorry to say that this research was conducted at the same university that harbours that famous and always correct Greenpeace warrior with a PhD , Ove Hoegh-Guldberg. I was surprised his name didn’t appear as a co-author since he is convinced the GBR is dying all because of the human induced elevation of CO2 concentration. What is it? 15 ppm over 150 years or so. And that changes the oceans ph by what amount? These researchers remind me of an ad ” when you’re on a good thing stick to it”.

  33. I cannot help wondering the dollar amount of the research grant that funded this “research.” Even on second blush this seems like a wedging open of a new field of grantsmanship.

  34. Lazy says:

    “There is no magical threshold at pH 7 that causes chemical process to be different above 7 and below 7.”

    And there is no empirical, testable measurement that shows ocean pH changing due to human emitted CO2. To even imply that is ‘Bad Science, bad, bad.’

    But it it were not for bad science, the alarmist crowd would be mute.

  35. Rob Painting says:
    December 26, 2011 at 2:10 pm
    Rapid increases in CO2 (such as today) overload the system, causing surface waters to become corrosive.
    =====================

    Could you please explain to this Ph.D. chemist how water at an alkaline pH moving slightly closer to neutrality causes it to become corrosive.

  36. Brian H on December 26, 2011 at 10:50 am said:
    IIRC, a paper recently established that lowered alkalinity increased the dissolution of “dead” coral and shells, but accelerated the uptake of CaCO3 into new growth. I.e., the whole cycle ran at greater speed. There would thus be a decrease in the speed with which limestone and chalk was laid down, and an increase in the quantity and number of “living corals”, etc.
    ———–
    Almost right. You left out the sea slugs.

    There is a balancing act. The sea slugs help dissolve the corral rubble returning soluble calcium to the water. The corrals absorb that calcium to produce new reef to replace that turned into rubble. If the corrals have to work harder to extract calcium from the water at lower alkalinity reef growth slows. If the rate of growth does not equal or exceed the processes producing rubble then the reef will eventually disappear.

  37. Lazy opines:

    “Almost right. You left out the sea slugs.”

    A …HA!

    So sea slugs are the key to the whole AGW riddle. Now why didn’t I think of that?☺

  38. So supposedly we know to a hundredth of a pH unit the impacts of changing CO2 but we don’t know whether or not the ocean are a sink or a source. How does that work?

  39. Smokey says

    And there is no empirical, testable measurement that shows ocean pH changing due to human emitted CO2. To even imply that is ‘Bad Science, bad, bad.’
    ———-
    Depends on what kind of evidence you find acceptable. If you don’t want to accept it then I am sure you could come up with some quibble at every stage of the chain of evidence.

    Let’s start with basic chemistry. We know the composition of sea water, we know the change in atmospheric CO2 concentration. Then it’s just a matter of calculating the change of pH using well known chemical laws. But I am sure that is not enough for you.

    Then there are direct measurements of changes on sea water pH. But that won’t be enough for you either.

    And then we can compare the results of calculation with measurement to see if they agree. But that won’t be enough either.

    And so on…,

  40. philincalifornia on December 26, 2011 at 3:40 pm said:
    Rob Painting says:
    December 26, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Could you please explain to this Ph.D. chemist how water at an alkaline pH moving slightly closer to neutrality causes it to become corrosive.
    ———
    That’s easy. It’s corrosive in the context of affecting the dissolution rate of calcium carbonate shell.

    The language might be a bit dramatic but it’s clear what the meaning is.

    A related factor that comes into this is the ability of biological organisms to lay down shell in an environment of reduced alkalinity. There is likely an energy cost for the organism. But this is not something I know anything about.

  41. LazyTeenager says:
    “There is a balancing act.”
    There is no balancing act in nature- balance requires a steady state. There is only adaptation. The state of any eco-system (and there are many “stable states)” at any given time and place is simply one of an infinite numbers of potential emerged solutions operating within limits whose probability is a function of initial condition. The “Balance of Nature” is Disney. So tell me whats the right state in your opinion- lay me out all the creatures predators and grazers and tell me the correct assemblage that constitutes your balance? The balance you claim is a value judgement although a poorly defined one- it has nothing to do with Nature. I’ll make it easier how does this problem rank amongst all the other known threats to reefs? And why is this “potential threat” commanding so much of the research budget?

    Here is a more important question with all the real and immediate problems reefs face why are we spending most of our money money on this? In the US we are now spending more money on a potential threat from CO2 to oysters as an example than we are on the known and devastating MSX, Dermo and Vibrio plagues. This is madness and demonstrates environmentalism doesn’t give a damn about the environment.

  42. Pat Moffitt – are you unable to read the scientific paper I referred to?, or do you simply not understand it? There’s vast body of scientific literature on this topic, even if you are unaware of it. Check out the citations in the Kump paper for instance.

    philincalifornia – you’re a PhD chemist? Seriously? Then you should understand that acidification refers to the process of adding hydrogen ions (hydronium in the case of seawater). It has nothing to do with a neutral pH.

    Sure ocean ‘acidification’ sounds serious, but that’s because it is a serious threat to marine life, not that people will dissolve if they swim in the ocean.

  43. LazyTeenager says:
    “Let’s start with basic chemistry. We know the composition of sea water, we know the change in atmospheric CO2 concentration. Then it’s just a matter of calculating the change of pH using well known chemical laws. But I am sure that is not enough for you.”

    Show me the calculations that can resolve a hundredth of a pH unit change. Make sure you add in all the primary production variables, upwelling events, temperature, wind, terrestrial organic acid inputs etc. I’ll wait.

  44. Pat Moffitt – “we don’t know whether or not the ocean are a sink or a source. How does that work?

    Where do you suppose half of our fossil fuel emissions vanish to? I don’t know the “we” you allude to, but science is pretty clear that almost half of our fossil fuel emissions to date have been absorbed by the oceans and resulted in the decrease of ocean pH. Google “Henry’s Law” for starters.

  45. Where were Lazy Teenager and Rob Painting 35 years ago? They could have saved me so much time spend needlessly studying the sciences and grappling with the awesome complexity we see in eco-systems. Everything is caused by tiny changes in CO2. Who knew it was that simple?

    I feel what Lyell must have felt when first hearing Louis Agassiz’s Plan of Creation- a description so beautiful in its simplicity that one could do nothing more than regret -it was not true.

  46. Willis,
    It’s best to take a Lewis acid-base view here (since neither CO2 nor CaCO3 have protons). A neutralization is where a base, with an electron pair available for sharing, joins with an acid that wants it. Producing an acid in aqueous solution generally involves pulling such a pair apart.

    You can see this if you think about titration curves. Many are fairly anti-symmetric. If you started from near neutral and ran a titration backwards (which is what bio energy can do), you get stoichiometric amounts of a strong acid and base – eg electrolysing water. With electrolysis, if you turn off the current (and minimise gas evolution), when you mix, you’re back where you started.

    That’s why marine scientists like alkalinity. It’s pretty much conserved.

    And philincalifornia:
    “Could you please explain to this Ph.D. chemist how water at an alkaline pH moving slightly closer to neutrality causes it to become corrosive.”
    Check out a limestone cave.

  47. Pat Moffitt says: December 26, 2011 at 4:19 pm
    “Show me the calculations that can resolve a hundredth of a pH unit change.”

    Laww of Mass Action. Sensible people don’t measure pH directly. They measure dissolved inorganic carbon and total alkalinity. These properties, fairly well consenved, are what actually determines solution of CaCO3. You can derive pH from the equilibria, but it doesn’t help very much.

    Even direct pH quotes are really based on a calibration equilibrium (bromocresol), and computed from that equilibrium.

  48. Pat Moffitt – “They could have saved me so much time spend needlessly studying the sciences”

    So far Pat, all I’ve read from you is a whole bunch of handwaving and glaring knowledge gaps in regard to ocean acidification. How can you not know that CO2 will absorbed into the ocean once its atmospheric content (partial pressure) increases? And what do you think is causing the ocean pH to fall?

    It’s a bit late to trundle out an appeal to authority when you’ve already demonstrated you don’t understand the fundamentals of ocean chemistry.

  49. Rob Painting & Nick Stokes

    Why do I get the impression that you are trying to teach your grandmothers to suck eggs?
    Did you even think to do a Google search before engaging your…?

  50. One dictionary definition:

    cor·ro·sive   [kuh-roh-siv]
    adjective
    1.
    having the quality of corroding or eating away; erosive.
    2.
    harmful or destructive; deleterious: the corrosive effect of poverty on their marriage.
    3.
    sharply sarcastic; caustic: corrosive comments on the speaker’s integrity.

    No mention of shells or limestone caves in any online dictionary I looked up

    And:

    Yes Rob, a Ph.D. chemist with 200 peer-reviewed publications, 50 issued patents, and a current profession that involves cutting through bullsh!t science, so let’s cut right to the chase here, cuing from LT’s comment:
    ======================================
    LazyTeenager says:
    December 26, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Scientists know how to interpret terms like acidity based on context.
    =======================================

    …… but of course, as you all know, duped sheeple taxpaying voters don’t.

    So every time you use the word “corrosive” in this context would you please add your shells and limestone caves phrases so it stays in context.

    You might want to also check out the fact that there is extensive peer-reviewed literature showing local pH changes of greater than one pH unit on a daily basis.

    Nick, I think you may have significant problems with the Anthropogenic Limestone Cave Formation meme, if that’s where you were going with that.

  51. Pat Moffit says
    There is no balancing act in nature- balance requires a steady state.
    ——–
    I was not referring to a metaphysical balance of nature.

    I was referring to the growth or not of a reef being dependent on the difference between creation and destruction processes. If the reef is approximately static in extent those processes must be equal in magnitude but opposite in sign: metaphorically speaking in balance like a seesaw.

  52. Pat Moffitt on December 26, 2011 at 3:49 pm said:
    So supposedly we know to a hundredth of a pH unit the impacts of changing CO2 but we don’t know whether or not the ocean are a sink or a source. How does that work?
    ———–
    We know it’s a nett sink.

    The Japanese satellite results showing this were linked to indirectly from this site.

    If you go to the primary source, not the cherrypicked summary, you can see the seasonal and geographical distribution.

    And there is a whole bunch of other info as well as it’s not hard to locate the evidence about this.

  53. philincalifornia says
    1.
    having the quality of corroding or eating away; erosive.
    ———
    Phil you seem real worried by the idea that the use of the word corrosive will mislead people. How about another context.

    Iron left outside rusts. The process and the product is called corrosion. The iron is said to corrode. The agent is air and water. So by any reasonable definition air and water can be said to be corrosive; to iron. the pH of the water involved is near 7.

    I am sure many can also verify that iron ships corrodes in seawater.

    So would it be sensible to avoid using descriptions like “the steel reinforcing in my skyscraper is suffering from corrosion” because it might decieve people.

  54. philincalifornia – when seawater is strongly undersaturated (with respect to aragonite for instance) shells made from that material normally dissolve. Sounds corrosive to me. That’s why those oyster larvae up in Washington state and Oregon have been dying. The seawater dissolves their shells.

    “You might want to also check out the fact that there is extensive peer-reviewed literature showing local pH changes of greater than one pH unit on a daily basis”

    I’m sure many people understand that pH can undergo significant variability even within a day at certain locations. There was a paper published last week on that very topic. Marine life have adapted to tolerate these conditions, but it doesn’t confer some magic invulnerability to further declining pH, that’s just a logical fallacy. For more tolerant species they’ll simply exceed their threshold later. Based on lab experiments and field studies, enough species will be affected to become a very serious problem.

    Robert E Phelan – the ‘sucking eggs’ saying refers to telling someone something they ready know. Clearly that doesn’t apply to Pat Moffitt and philincalifornia.

  55. Rob Painting,

    Enough already with the Pseudo-Skeptical Pseudo-Science talking points re: “ocean acidification”. That meme has been thoroughly debunked. I would go over the deconstruction of the “acidification” nonsense, but it has been debunked to death right here.

    To help you get up to speed on the subject, here are a few articles from WUWT. There are a lot more in the archives if you need them. Reviewing this information should take you at least a couple of days, so you need to get started:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/06/19/the-electric-oceanic-acid-test

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/10/ocean-acidification-chicken-of-the-sea-little-strikes-again

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/11/24/chicken-little-of-the-sea-visits-station-aloha

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/07/tisdale-schools-the-website-skeptical-science-on-co2-obsession

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/11/21/oyster-crisis-yale-360-wwf-eco-activist-elizabeth-grossman-wrong-again-about-ocean-acidification

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/03/back-to-the-drawing-board-on-glacial-period-carbon-sinks

    Report back when you’ve read the articles and comments. Or just skip the information, and post the latest “ocean acidification” alarmist talking points right away. Whether you really want to learn, or just argue, is entirely up to you.

  56. Smokey:
    Skeptical science actually did do an excellent series on lowering PH of the ocean. The lowering PH of the oceans is much more of a concern than the small effect that co2 will have on temperature. The thrust of the GAGW folks is misplaced as the numerous metrics that affect climate, not weather, are not well enough understood to be modeled so that the models are credible. The changing of PH is hard basic chemistry and should not be discounted as a serious concern.

    Rob:
    Check the actual data on the Oregon/Washington clam thing. It was bacteria, had nothing to do with PH changes.

  57. Rob:
    Even tho I am banned from posting at Skeptical Science, I will defend what has been put there that is credibily correct.

  58. Rob Painting says:
    December 26, 2011 at 6:14 pm
    Based on lab experiments and field studies, enough species will be affected to become a very serious problem.
    =================================
    Right, very serious, ha ha ha. Like the serious problem of global warming, errrrrm climate change, errrm climate disruption. What are you calling that one now ??

    Wake me up when that happens you dupe. In the meantime, I’ll cram down as many oysters and lobsters as I can before their impending doom.

  59. Pat Moffit says
    Everything is caused by tiny changes in CO2. Who knew it was that simple?
    ——–
    Well no one is saying that. It’s a given that the system is complex.

    But considering some of the other claims you have made I’ll observe that many systems, no matter how complex, are subject to a 90% 10% law. That is to say: including 10% of the components of a system will capture 90% of it’s behavior.

    So producing quibbles by enumerating every single thing that might/maybe have an effect is a great way to be obstructive, but it is not a great way of understanding how the system works.

    In fact your position sounds suspiciously similar to the “we don’t know everything therefore we know nothing” logical fallacy.

  60. LazyTeenager says:
    December 26, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    So would it be sensible to avoid using descriptions like “the steel reinforcing in my skyscraper is suffering from corrosion” because it might decieve people.
    ==================================

    Dunno LT. I never studied the art of propaganda. I’ll take your word for it.

    (and “i’ before “e” except after “c”)

  61. What would the ranking of these see cucumbers be as far as ‘sustainability’? There could be quite a market for them.

  62. Lazy Teenager,
    So given your 90/10 rule- changes in atmospheric CO2 cause how much of the changes we see in reef productivity.

  63. philincalifornia:
    Actually, lobsters benifit from a lowering of PH. Scripps did a study using actual co2, rather than acid to lower the ph, and found approx 1/2 of the crustacians produced larger and denser shells. Lobsters were one of the winners. Seems they are in a deficient state right now and will only gain in health and shell density when the PH becomes lower.
    So if you are a lobster lover, you have it made….:)

  64. Can I have that one back please LT ?

    I really meant to say “Unlike you, I never studied the art of propaganda.”

  65. Camburn says:
    December 26, 2011 at 6:46 pm
    philincalifornia:
    Actually, lobsters benifit from a lowering of PH.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    No kidding. Ocean organisms have evolved to address changes in pH over the 10s to 100s of millions of years ??

    They can’t survive being boiled though. Bwahahahaha.

    I still have problems deciding between a good Marlborough Sauvignon blanc and a good California Chardonnay though.

    I once bought a live lobster in Boston, put it in my hand luggage, and flew back to San Francisco. Poor little bugger was still alive when I got home. I almost took it down to Ocean Beach to let it go, but knew that probably would not lead to a good outcome. So we ate it.

  66. My general rule is that any report talking about a “delicate balance” in an eco-system deserves to be dismissed.

  67. Rob Painting-
    You told philincalifornia – “when seawater is strongly undersaturated (with respect to aragonite for instance) shells made from that material normally dissolve. Sounds corrosive to me. That’s why those oyster larvae up in Washington state and Oregon have been dying. The seawater dissolves their shells.”

    Yet over on the Yale 360 site you finally admitted to me that with regards to these oysters-“No one is saying that upwelling plays no role. It’s a combination of factors including increasing acidity in response to increasing atmospheric CO2 that’s affecting the oyster spat.”
    I asked you to tell me what percentage of this “combination of factors” was due to the recent changes in atmospheric CO2 and how you knew. Nor did you ever tell me why the exact same type of mortalities were seen in the 1940s, 1960s and 1970s. I’m still waiting.

    Calling me a bully and at variance with THE TRUTH as you did at Yale 360 was certainly better than Dr. Safina who said I was a “semi-anonymous fox-in-the-henhouse idiologue signal-jamming death of science communicator” (I kind of liked the name given the source) and then promptly said time constraints prevented him from responding to my technical points.

    You also never said why you use as your great example of ocean acidification the Pfister paper on Tatoosh Island that found “no clear causal variable” for the increased “corrosiveness” in the mussel proxy used (assuming the proxy has value). And states the increase in “corrosiveness” is an order of magnitude greater than can be explained by increasing CO2 levels. Doesn’t this argue my point? If you know how much an order of magnitude is you would never use this as a defense for the “corrosiveness” being anthropogenic fossil fuel in origin.

    You claim “So far Pat, all I’ve read from you is a whole bunch of handwaving and glaring knowledge gaps in regard to ocean acidification” yet at Yale 360 I outlined some ten finely detailed points you and Safina needed to address. And you didn’t or couldn’t. After all if you are demanding my tax dollars be spent on this and using it to raise my electric rates- the burden falls largely on you to explain yourself. What I heard were the talking point distortion of your Skeptical Science blog posts -the only site that Anthony Watts stars as Unreliable-
    * Due to (1) deletion, extension and amending of user comments, and (2) undated post-publication revisions of article contents after significant user commenting.

  68. LazyTeenager says:
    December 26, 2011 at 6:34 pm
    “But considering some of the other claims you have made I’ll observe that many systems, no matter how complex, are subject to a 90% 10% law. That is to say: including 10% of the components of a system will capture 90% of it’s behavior.”

    I am sure that you have analyzed many systems, no matter how complex, in your teenage years, being a lazy teenager. Maybe, once you reach the legal age, you should then quickly skip the university education, go directly to the exams and become the youngest system analyst of the world. Has the added advantage of fitting your laziness; you don’t have to endure all a dem lectures.

    Care to share an example of the complex systems you have analyzed?

  69. Lazy T

    “So would it be sensible to avoid using descriptions like “the steel reinforcing in my skyscraper is suffering from corrosion” because it might [sic] decieve people.”

    +1

    Game set match.

    Sorry phil, you lost that one big time. LazyT pwned you.

  70. lazy teen…If I take three colors, black grey and white and add a little white to the black would I be making it white or bringing it closer to grey???….so it may seem to you as acidification but to me it would be bringing it closer to neutral and there bye being less os so much less DRAMATICALLY OVER STATED

  71. Rob Painting says to Pat Moffitt
    “It’s a bit late to trundle out an appeal to authority when you’ve already demonstrated you don’t understand the fundamentals of ocean chemistry.” OK-I Don’t understand ocean chemistry after spending 35 years in the field because much of it is not yet understood nor its future workings possible to predict at the precision you claim given its chaotic interplay of physical and biological variables – but I know enough to know when I see BS. So tell me what your years as a police officer have taught you that I have failed to understand. One piece of the environmental engineering, laboratory and services business I built -since you accuse me of appeals to authority- was an aquatic bio-assay lab where we raised all our own marine test organisms-I’m sure it wasn’t equal to what you learned at the Police Academy- but I’m always open to learning.
    And please pick a value as to how much CO2 is being absorbed by the ocean- sure you want to hang your hat on 50%? And if the northeast Atlantic is a CO2 source but the average for the global oceans are a CO2 sink does this make the northeast increasingly corrosive as well? Global averages are meaningless if not an imperfect snapshot of a particular and ever changing ocean state.

  72. philincalifornia – “Right, very serious, ha ha ha

    I’m still waiting for you to demonstrate some knowledge of this topic. You were the one claiming to be a chemist. Ha ha ha’s don’t impress.

    Smokey – I’m talking about real science here. You know the stuff that appears in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

    Robert Phelan – have you read the Kump paper yet? I pointed to it above. Google is your friend.

    Camburn – “It was bacteria, had nothing to do with PH changes”

    Nope. See here for instance, quotes from the Oyster hatchery operators. http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-Journal-of-Commerce/AJOC-December-25-2011/West-Coast-shellfish-farms-impacted-by-ocean-acidification/

    The problem has been mitigated by pumping water from shallower intakes, where it is less corrosive, and studiously monitoring seawater pH levels. Unfortunately it poses the risk of taking in water near the surface which is more likely to be infected with bacteria, but so far it has worked to alleviate the problem. But what do you think is happening to oyster larvae recruitment in the wild, given that they cannot artificially alter the ambient seawater?

  73. LazyTeenager says: December 26, 2011 at 3:03 pm pH depends on hydrogen ion concentration.

    No, laddie, back to school for you. It’s not concentration, it’s activity. They are not the same.

  74. steven mosher says:
    December 26, 2011 at 7:13 pm
    Lazy T

    “So would it be sensible to avoid using descriptions like “the steel reinforcing in my skyscraper is suffering from corrosion” because it might [sic] decieve people.”

    +1

    Game set match.

    Sorry phil, you lost that one big time. LazyT pwned you.
    ===============================================

    Yeah right Steve. Despite your intelligence, you do have the tendency to make off the hip idiotic posts at will, and since I’ve pointed that out on here, I’m sure that’s the genesis of your “inaccurate” contribution.

    So go on then, since the world is watching, explain how the inorganic chemistry analogy is a metaphor for a biological system.

    …. and pwned is so last year dude.

  75. Pat Moffit – furious handwaving is the same as handwaving. Remember you were the one to proclaim some sort of expertise here, and yet you don’t even understand that the oceans are a sink for carbon dioxide. One would think that Daltons Law of partial pressure, Henry’s Law and the observed decline in ocean pH might be a bit of a giveaway. But it all seems to be basic science of which you forgot or never knew in the first place. What does that say about your level of competence?

    I have referred you to a peer-reviewed paper (Ocean acidification in deep time – Kump [2010]) which deals with the chemistry of the oceans over time, yet you don’t seem willing to read it. Are you prepared to read it and learn some actual science?

  76. Rob Painting says to philincalifornia –
    “when seawater is strongly undersaturated (with respect to aragonite for instance) shells made from that material normally dissolve. Sounds corrosive to me. That’s why those oyster larvae up in Washington state and Oregon have been dying. The seawater dissolves their shells.”

    Over at the Yale 360 site you finally admitted that the upwellings and other natural variables were were involved in the oyster deaths but claimed that an increase in atmospheric CO2 some 4 decades ago that worked itself down into the deep waters and is now upwelling along the Oregon coast is also highly relevant. Very much different than what you have said here. You also never responded to my questions as to what percent of the oyster death given natural variability could be ascribed to anthropogenic CO2 from fossil fuel use and why? The back and forth can be found here http://e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2466

    You also hung your argument for increasing corrosivity on the Pfister paper on Tatoosh Island that found “no clear causal variable” for the increased “corrosiveness” in the mussel proxy used (assuming the proxy has value). And stated the increase in “corrosiveness” is an order of magnitude greater than can be explained by increasing CO2 levels. I never understood why you made my point for me- a second chance to explain here.

    If I recall you said I was a Bully for asking questions but were not nearly as bad as Dr. Safina of the Blue Ocean something or other who responded to my ten rather detailed questions by calling me a “semi-anonymous fox in the hen house ideologue death of science jamming communicator” and then responded he could not afford the time to answer the questions. There was some mumbling on your part as well that my position was not in keeping with THE TRUTH.
    The science I understand has no Truth.

  77. Camburn says:

    “The lowering PH of the oceans is much more of a concern than the small effect that co2 will have on temperature.”

    The error bars in pH measurements are far wider than the claimed pH changes, therefore “ocean acidification” is simply evidence-free speculation. If you or Mr Painting had taken the time to read even one of the articles I posted, along with the comments, you would still be working on increasing your understanding. But since neither of you could possibly have read all of the articles and comments, you’re just regurgitating debunked talking points from cartoonist John Cook’s pseudo-science blog. Read the articles I posted if you want to get up to speed on the subject – or, try to pass along your repeatedly deconstructed talking points. But we know the difference here at the internet’s Best Science site.

    The only reason the “ocean acidification” nonsense is still being discussed is because those eror bars allow for a huge amount of wiggle room for the climate doomsday cult. But they also negate any proof – for the same reason that the sensitivity question is still being debated: if there was testable evidence showing pH changes, the issue would be settled. But there is no such proof, none at all. And as usual, the climate alarmist contingent only debates conjectures where there is no testable evidence.

    “Ocean acidification” is a baseless conjecture, as the links I provided make crystal clear. There is no testable, empirical evidence for those alarmist claims… and that is the case for every climate alarmist claim. Evidence-free conjectures are all the alarmist crowd ever has. But the scientific method is not based on red-faced arm waving. Testable evidence is required by the scientific method, and that is where the alarmist crowd comes up empty-handed. There is zero evidence showing that ocean pH has changed as a result of human CO2 emissions. None. It is all based on True Belief, the same as any other religion.

  78. Rob Painting says:
    December 26, 2011 at 7:36 pm
    philincalifornia – “Right, very serious, ha ha ha”

    I’m still waiting for you to demonstrate some knowledge of this topic. You were the one claiming to be a chemist. Ha ha ha’s don’t impress.
    ================================================

    You didn’t like me calling you a dupe did you ? Since you are one, I’m fairly sure that that would rankle you.

    Go on, ask me a chemistry question. I’ll educate you (as well as I can), although I do know the old saying – “some fell on stony ground”.

  79. Rob:
    I looked at your link but this is not what was presented in a farm paper some months back.

    IF true, the lower PH is of grave concern. Just as I typed earlier, the co2 and temp metric is marginal of importance as the actual valid science is as of yet very uncertain.
    Lowering PH of the ocean is of tremendous concern, as the phyto plankton are one way that the coean absorbs co2 organically. They, at this time, seem somewhat sensative to lower PH.

  80. Nick Stokes says: December 26, 2011 at 4:39 pm Re acid-alkaline balance conserved

    Nick, the best for 2012. While I mostly agree with you, even to the “Nett”, there are exceptions such as catalysis, photolysis, free radical formation etc that are outside your invoked frame of reference sensu stricto. But that’s an academic observation.

    BTW, the derivation of pH from measurement of other substances and reliance on equilibrium constants etc is error-prone.

    I’ve never had a convincing explanation for pH variation of the type in the figure below. Perhaps you can help. Logically, if your explanation for the neutral role of the sea cucumber works, it should work for any closed system and by now, the connected oceans of the world should all be the same pH. Maybe. What’s the driver for the variation?

  81. R Painting says:

    “I have referred you to a peer-reviewed paper (Ocean acidification in deep time – Kump [2010]) which deals with the chemistry of the oceans over time, yet you don’t seem willing to read it. Are you prepared to read it and learn some actual science?”

    Yet your mind is closed when other sources are posted. Cherry-pick much?

  82. LazyTeenager says:
    December 26, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Iron left outside rusts. The process and the product is called corrosion. The iron is said to corrode. The agent is air and water. So by any reasonable definition air and water can be said to be corrosive; to iron. the pH of the water involved is near 7.
    ———————
    Not pure iron and not in pure water, it requires an initiator to start corrosion. Steel in sea water will corrode, but the pH would still have to be slightly acid. It also requires very little of some substances to passivate the steel surface to pH’s below 5. Try reading a textbook on corrosion.

    Even better try doing an old fashioned acid-base titration – NO. Better for you to stick to Liberal Art or Law or whatever you’re studying, and try to avoid comments on science. You will find you’re out of your depth.

  83. philincalifornia – “Go on, ask me a chemistry question. I’ll educate you

    Thanks, but you’ve clearly illustrated you know nothing about ocean acidification. I’ll stick with the peer-reviewed literature. You know, real experts.

    Smokey – peer reviewed literature. I’m not being subtle here.

  84. Rob Painting says:
    December 26, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    philincalifornia – when seawater is strongly undersaturated (with respect to aragonite for instance) shells made from that material normally dissolve. Sounds corrosive to me. That’s why those oyster larvae up in Washington state and Oregon have been dying. The seawater dissolves their shells.

    That claim was retracted, IIRC. Something to do with a change in nutrient levels due to periodic variations in upwellings and water temps etc. pH changes do not affect living shells, only dead ones.

  85. Rob Painting saysTo Combern-
    “But what do you think is happening to oyster larvae recruitment in the wild, given that they cannot artificially alter the ambient seawater?
    The answer is the same thing that happened to them in 1940s, 1960s and 1970’s. Here is a better question why if CO2 was the cause and CO2 has been steadily increasing was 2010 the highest oyster set (best) in recorded history- but the upwelling event of 2009 was evidence of fossil fuel driven CO2 death?
    Plus the oysters your are talking about are “invasives” with most to the native oysters having crashed nearly 100 years ago-but we’re not supposed to talk or care about that are we? In your world theoretical problems that advance an ideology are always more relevant than known oyster problems like Vibrio, habitat (substrate) loss, over harvest and the invasion of the Pacific Oyster that you seem to care so much about. It is this incessant hostage taking by environmentalists – greed if you will- that requires every single environmental problem to conform to the crisis du jour that has prevented us from correcting many of the very real problems we face.
    The greatest threat to environmental improvement are environmentalists. They’re goal is not to fix the environment but rather to fix us.

    We need a new name for those that care about the quality of our natural resources– environmentalist is no longer applicable and I’m not sure what word we might use to replace it.

  86. Rob Painting says:
    December 26, 2011 at 8:24 pm
    philincalifornia – “Go on, ask me a chemistry question. I’ll educate you”

    Thanks, but you’ve clearly illustrated you know nothing about ocean acidification. I’ll stick with the peer-reviewed literature. You know, real experts.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++
    Did I say I did ? I know barely anything about ocean acidification, but it’s still more than you know.

    Experts don’t put “Conclusions” before “Results and Discussion”.

    Bear that in in mind …..

    ….. naaaah forget it.

    You’re a dupe. Learn from this thread.

  87. The mistake is allowing trolls like the lazy teenager to frame the discussion.
    Since there is no evidence at all that CO2in the atmosphere is causing the oceans to do anything dangerous, before allowing the living embodiment of Donna Laframboise’s book to take over the discussion, it would be interesting to see if the teen troll can do more than dissemble and play word games.
    If not (and I will be the troll can’t), then starvation is the only cure for trolls.

  88. Oooops,
    as to the Oregon Oyster problem: If youactually read the article, it is clear that the author lied- it was not about CO2 in the atmosphere. It was about deep water upwelling and being used at an oyster farm whose owners were too cheap to monitor and manage the pH of the water they used for commercial purposes.
    IOW, the teen troll has been permitted to hijack a good discussion by probably deliberately lying.
    Lesson? Never permit lazy teens to take over a conversation.

  89. For everyone that missed Rob Paintings reference to Klump 2010 – Rob is trying to say the addition of a hundred ppm or so of the CO2 in the last 100 years is the equivalent of the Permian Mass Extinction- and that CO2 was the cause for the end of Permian. If the Siberian Traps were to return today- we wouldn’t need a computer model to tell us “the end is near”- thats if the H2S didn’t kill us before we could even have a thought. It is amazing how simple everything is once you know its all caused by CO2. I ‘m waiting for word from Rob that Plate tectonics are also caused by CO2 so that my understanding of geology is complete.

    Anyone else wonder why we are spending so much money on research about subjects that are so well understood? Perhaps the best way to stop all this nonsense is to say OK its CO2 no more research money needed and watch Academia trip all over itself.

  90. Brian H,
    Thats one. Perhaps Tannerists is another. Dr Howard Tanner is the only man that ever kicked the modern environmental movement’s ass beating them at their own game, while simultaneously trumping NOAA, EPA and powerful commercial fishing interests. As an example he orchestrated Michigan’s governor throwing NOAA out of the State when they tried to take over management of the Great Lakes while building a $12 billion dollar recreation salmon fishery from a “dead” resource. (Remember when nothing would Iive in Lake Erie for 200 years)EPA and NOAA while never giving up have never been able to supplant the Great Lakes Basin Commission- which should be a model for how to resolve natural resource issues.
    How he did this should be known to everyone fighting against this insanity- but for another time.

  91. philincalifornia said:
    although I do know the old saying – “some fell on stony ground”.

    Phil, I think nowadays it is – “some fell on stoned ground.” (There is a positive correlation between feel-good ‘science’ and cannabis use.)

  92. It’s interesting how a post about sea cucumbers brought out the active trolls. A lot of protection presented for the environment of see cucumbers these days.

  93. Nothing here written on effects of CAGW- just human behaviour causing depletion of beche-de-mer.

    http://aciar.gov.au/files/node/10097/MN135.pdf

    source: http://aciar.gov.au/publication/mn135

    Commercial trepang (sea cucumbers) – study in India

    http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/3445/1/Article5.pdf

    Also trade with Asia, alternate medicine and American Cancer Society have studies going

    One Tree Island Research station (site of study). Can not see any villagers living there eeking out a living for the benefit of the social development engineers and academic tourists.

    http://sydney.edu.au/science/biology/research/oti/

    Report of commercial harvesting in the same area

    http://www.abc.net.au/rural/content/2008/s2557906.htm

  94. The researchers found that these lowly organisms might be responsible for half of the CaCO3 of the reef observed at night.

    So these orgasms are ejecting lots of CaCO3 at night. How much is being ejected in the daytime?

    Should we attempt to modify the behavior of these cucumbers to increase or decrease the ejections?

  95. Geoff Sherrington says: December 26, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Thanks, Geoff, best wishes to you too, and I hope you didn’t get pounded by the hail. I agree that there are exceptions, and the big one is redox, though there’s a pattern there too (after which oxygen is named).

    As to the pH stratification, my understanding was that it rises at the bottom because of contact with CaCO3, and has a minimum because of the effect of organic detritus. There’s an article here.

    But I’d better not say too much more. I’ve picked up a post-Xmas lurgi, which isn’t improving my responses.

  96. Pat Moffitt – “Rob is trying to say the addition of a hundred ppm or so of the CO2 in the last 100 years is the equivalent of the Permian Mass Extinction”

    No. You just made that up Pat. Strawman much?

    “It is amazing how simple everything is once you know its all caused by CO2″

    If you read the Kump paper you’ll discover it’s a wee bit more complex than that, but you’ll only find out by reading that peer-reviewed paper.

    “Anyone else wonder why we are spending so much money on research about subjects that are so well understood?”

    You mean like the quantum mechanics and the Higgs Boson?

    Pat, all your bluster won’t fool an informed casual reader of this thread. You’ve been found out – you claim expertise on ocean chemistry but don’t know the fundamentals. Throwing out smokebombs only confirms that you’re trying to direct attention away from your lack of knowledge on this topic.

  97. Hunter – “If you actually read the article, it is clear that the author lied’

    Seriously, is that the best you’ve got? The science disagrees with you so it’s a fraud?

    philincalifornia – a question, seeing you’re so keen on educating.

    How do you know the pH of the ocean back in the Permian? If you are an expert as you claim you should be able to answer this off the top of your head. Take far too long in answering and it’ll appear like you had to use google to find the answer.

  98. philincalifornia – “Did I say I did ? I know barely anything about ocean acidification, but it’s still more than you know

    You’ve yet to demonstrate that. Earlier you wrote:

    Go on, ask me a chemistry question. I’ll educate you

    Other commenters on this thread seem to think pH was lower in the past based on modeled estimates of very high atmospheric CO2. How would you calculate the ocean pH back then? And what peer-reviewed papers support such a notion?

  99. LazyTeenager says:
    December 26, 2011 at 3:43 pm
    If the corrals have to work harder to extract calcium from the water at lower alkalinity reef growth slows. If the rate of growth does not equal or exceed the processes producing rubble then the reef will eventually disappear.
    =============================================================================

    If Ca is not abundant enough, the reef building corals, acropora sp, etc., will substitute with Mg for example. BTW, the Ca taken up by the corals does not come exclusively from coral rubble being ‘dissolved’ … corals grow a lot more quickly than what one is led to believe, so it would, in my experience growing coral artificially, seem impossible for sea cucumbers to hold the ‘balance of power’ in this regard. You might also consider the high dolomite content of the old fossilised reefs.

  100. Pat Moffitt says:

    Show me the calculations that can resolve a hundredth of a pH unit change.

    They’d also need to show that such a change is not some sort of artifact of the calculations and that it could be reliably measured.
    All too often claims from the “greenies”/”warmists” come down to things so tiny that it would make more sense to all them “noise” rather than “signal”.

  101. I was confused by that article, for sure. Here they are, talking about CO2 acidifying the ocean and eroding the reefs, and then quoting a study that seems to indicate that sea cucumbers are contributing to the reef erosion in a significant way, AND that the sea cucumbers are helping to keep the ocean alkaline balance. Talk about your contradictions in logic.

    By the way, like other cucumbers, I would prefer my sea cucumbers to be quite pickled.

  102. All the research currently done has shown that ocean pH does not fall below 7.8 which is within its natural variation and alkali NOT acid. The term acidification gives completely the wrong impression that something unnatural is happening it is NOT.

    Ocean surface waters are kept alkali by the bicarbonate feedback mechanism which alters the carbonic acid to bicarbonate, the ocean water being an ionic chemical solute, and this bicarbonate raises the pH. At times of very high, 1000’s ppmv, the fossil record shows that corals flourished as did molluscs.

    deep ocean waters surrounding the ridge vents can have a pH as low as 4.5, which is very acidic and due to the gasses from the volcanic vents , and molluscs live in this water with no shell dissolution because of protection by a layer of mucus rather like our stomachs protection from the hydrochloric acid used there to help digest food.

  103. This is just sooooo transparent.

    The ozone hysteria is over. The acid rain is history. Globull Warning is debunked.

    And now this. Solheim, the socialist minister in Norway declared they would finance a new center in Norway for this new scare. My guess is they will do so in all western countries.

    And all the Globull Warning “scientists” will slowly and silently migrate away from the Globull Warning Centers over to these new acid-ocean centers. And the ministers giving money to this new scare will get well paid jobs in the UN.
    Just waiting for the new scary stories every fall, when next years budgets are made.

  104. Rob Painting-
    I finally get it– you’re a science Kop patrolling in the proud tradition of Lysenko.

    Strawman about your Permian extinction comments ? Lets remember what you said at Yale 360:

    “Many of the earth’s extinction events were associated with ocean acidification events. The PETM and the greatest extinction event of all time, the end-Permian extinction, are 2 notable examples.
    Those who deny global warming, climate change and ocean acidification frequently misinterpret geology, concluding that nature, not man, is causing today’s changes.”

    You accuse me of arm waving when you are flapping around like Chicken Little .

  105. From two consecutive posts by Rob Painting:

    philincalifornia – a question, seeing you’re so keen on educating.

    How do you know the pH of the ocean back in the Permian? If you are an expert as you claim you should be able to answer this off the top of your head. Take far too long in answering and it’ll appear like you had to use google to find the answer.
    Rob Painting says:
    December 26, 2011 at 11:54 pm
    philincalifornia – “Did I say I did ? I know barely anything about ocean acidification, but it’s still more than you know
    ==========================================
    Not very good with analysis are you Rob ?

    1. I say “I know barely anything about ocean acidification”. You even cut and paste the quote but have come to the conclusion “If you are an expert as you claim”.

    2. It’s been about six hours since you posted just before midnight last night. You still want to go with the image of me Googling all night or can you think of other explanations ?

    On this topic, I can’t top Streetcred’s reference. I learnt a lot from it.

    http://www.co2science.org/data/acidification/results.php

    Thank you for that Streetcred.

  106. Let’s try some actual chemistry and maybe we can get some perspective. Here’s a simple equation:

    CH3CH2OH + O2 -> CH3CO2H + H2O

    i.e. ethyl alcohol can be oxidized to acetic acid (vinegar). While this process can happen in various ways, it in no sense requires what we commonly call a base to be produced. Now someone brought up Lewis acids and bases above and so we can correctly call O2 a Lewis acid and make the acidity balance out. Take another equation:

    2 Fe + O2 + 2H2O -> 2 Fe(OH)2

    This is a bit more tricky as we have both Lewis acids and Lewis bases involved, (and the ferrous iron isn’t very stable), but again you can see that in this case a base can be created when what would usually be considered a neutral substance (Iron) is present. Since the entire core of our planet is composed of iron-nickel, and O2 is 20% of the atmosphere, it’s silly to argue much about a small “acidification” without considering all the possible reactions which will balance it.

    BTW, there was a question above about the ocean as a sink or source of CO2. The deep ocean is actually still a source of CO2 if you work out the CO2 equivalent per unit volume. This could change in the future if the surface CO2 concentration increases. But given that plants like additional CO2 it may be that CO2 will increasingly be turned into organic material, which will ultimately sink (in part) much more rapidly than the general turnover via ocean currents, and thus surface CO2 won’t rise nearly as fast as is often considered to be the case.

  107. Lazy Teenager;said…Here is a more important question with all the real and immediate problems reefs face why are we spending most of our money money on this? In the US we are now spending more money on a potential threat from CO2 to oysters as an example than we are on the known and devastating MSX, Dermo and Vibrio plagues. This is madness and demonstrates environmentalism doesn’t give a damn about the environment.============
    YES! may be the best statement you ever make:-)
    the enviro movement in the name of green holiest than thou, has enacted so many rules and regs by useful idiots being “activated” by greenbits and others it makes me scream!
    and the real sad thing is it makes no real contribution to the true needs of the environment.
    we have fools trying to keep rivers running to sea all the time, when naturally they never did for more than a few years in a decade, enforcing deltas that would naturally change their outlets many times sharing salts and nutrients and silt etc. locking up bushland, so woody weeds takeover causing huge fires. all in the name of pristine green.
    classic laugh is the use of saved fly ash to go onto fields with high cadmium they manage to not remove? so one green move but no real brains

  108. forgot. I have a mate whos an oceans chappie, he always asks why??? we pump partially treated sewage into sydney harbour and off brisbane etc, the coast stream takes it up and past the reef.
    the blaming farmers line is getting beyond true as limits and buffers really have reduced that source, the human contribution, via OUR outputs is never ever mentioned.
    we are short of phosphorus they say, so why? do we waste tonnes per day, out to sea..
    every city pumping crap out into seas also has sea grass issues, its known why, human effluent. but again no action on it.

  109. I think you will find this is more misleading reporting. I can not remember where I read it but the reef is being killed by pollution for human waste into the river to the sea and not CO2.

    Its got to the state now that almost all the reports of CO2 pollution [are] misleading and unture.

  110. I have a few aquariums. all of my aquariums have live plants growing in them. To facilitate this growth I inject CO2. The CO2 affects the PH of the tank. Every day the PH in my big tank ( 125 gallon ) varies between 6.8 before the CO2 is turned on in the morning to 6.6 in the evening before lights out. The tank has many shrimp and snails that along with the plants are growing and reproducing very well. By the way the temperature in the tank varies between 75.6 and 77.1 over the course of the day. This doesn’t seem to affect the fish or plants either I remove about 5 lbs of excess plant material every week. In the Discus tank the PH is closer to 6.0 ( solidly in the acidic range ) most of the time, the temp is 82 degrees and the snails are also reproducing quite well. I have seen similar situations in my friends salt water tanks but their PH levels are in the 8 to 8.2 range. They also add CO2 to help filter the wastes and help grow the coral. From my observations ocean acidification is a crock.

  111. I’ve eaten a lot of strange foods. This is allegedly a delicacy in China but IMO, Sea cucumbers are some of the worst food in the world.

  112. MORE CO2 cannot acidify seas around coral reefs. This is basic Chemistry:
    CaCO3 (insoluble) + CO2* + H2O* = Ca(HCO3)2 (soluble)
    Calcium bicarbonate is soluble and ALKALINE. More CO2 will cause the seawater to tend to more alkalinity.
    * combined CO2 and H2O is called carbonic acid – which is a weak acid.
    Remember the old test for CO2 using ‘lime water’ Ca(OH)2 ? First the lime water turned milky as CO2 reacted with the Ca(OH)2 to form a CaCO3 precipitate and water, then, if more CO2 is bubbled through the milky solution/suspension, it turns clear again as Ca(HCO3)2 is formed.

  113. Nick Stokes says:
    “Laww of Mass Action. Sensible people don’t measure pH directly. They measure dissolvedinorganic carbon and total alkalinity. These properties, fairly well consenved, are what actually determines solution of CaCO3. You can derive pH from the equilibria, but it doesn’t help very much. Even direct pH quotes are really based on a calibration equilibrium (bromocresol), and computed from that equilibrium.”
    I have always been awed by the beauty of the ocean’s complexity—I find the simplicity we impose on it with the CO2 narrative an anathema.
    I’ll pass along the most important thing I ever learned– we do not live in a linear world. Never ever ever rely on linearity to describe an ecosystem response.
    Here is my why I believe this- many of these ocean acidification papers relate to near shore conditions as is the case for the sea cucumber paper posted here. As such all bets are off with respect to pH being “simply a calculation of DIN and alkalinity”. Given my understanding of the “cucumber reefs” proximity to a mangrove swamp-the DOC fraction especially organic acids produced by “swamps” can become major players. To make matters more complicated we have the sulfur chemistries at work in the sediment/water column exchanges to deal with. (I won’t even go near the primary productivity issues nor the problems of achieving representative samples) In fact for most shallow lagoons and near shore waters I would put my money on pH being more controlled by terrestrial inputs (nutrients and DON), sediment chemistries (especially the sulfur reactions) and primary productivity mediated by the hydrology more than I would on anything related to a small change in atmospheric pH. And I have no idea how one nets or if you will nets out the impacts of upwellings and changes in ocean state (those known and unknown).
    We are making claims of precision that cannot be made and then we are using the minute changes resulting from these claims to make further claims of attribution and then if this were not a sufficiently unstable house of cards we are claiming the ability to discern or predict a precise biotic response. The only thing simple here- is that this is 3 bridges too far.
    And your comment “sensible people don’t measure pH directly?” That will come as a real shock to many in the field- especially the guys at U of F that are so fond of their spectrophotometric sensors and the people at Scripps who seem to have taken a liking to the DuraFET sensors. Are there inherent problems to every pH measurement techniques- yup- and why I never would claim the ability to ever see a 0.01 pH unit change as meaningful for anything outside of a very controlled lab condition.

  114. Gary Pearse says:
    December 26, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    I’m always forced to educate biologists who twist chemistry to meet their requirements. The cuke lives in the sea and thus can not create excess acid without without creating a compensating equal alkalinity. Sea creatures’ chemical activities are constrained to be neutral – changes have to come from outside the ocean as a system and it surely does with CO2 but ya know, inorganic carbonates are abundant in land and sea, too, and they are busy buffering any acidification that comes along.

    Thanks, Gary. If that were the case, then you’d never have to check the pH in your aquarium … but you do have to check it. What am I missing here? If the life in the aquarium can’t change the acid/base balance, how does the aquarium pH go bad?

    In addition, it is well known that coral reefs are net producers of CO2. As a result, they tend to neutralize the slightly basic ocean waters. This leaves the water over the reefs at a slightly lower pH than the surrounding ocean water. If life can’t change the pH of the ocean water as you claim, then … how do those clever corals do that?

    w.

  115. In an aquarium environment isn’t a closed loop. The aquarist needs to replace the chemicals used up by the tanks inhabitants. In the real world these things are supplied by the rest of the environment. My tanks go through a lot of fertilizer.

  116. Lazyteenager,

    I was under the impression that iron rusting was referred to as oxidation and not corrosion.

  117. Lazyteenager,

    On the 90 – 10 law (which I also have seen as 80 – 20), I haven’t seen it used in the context you illustrate. Whenever I’ve seen it it has referred to the observation that organizations often expend 80 – 90 percent of their energy or effort on 10 – 20 percent of what they are involved in. In otherwords people end up spending an inordinate amount of time on problems, verses what goes right.

    Not saying your use is incorrect – just that I haven’t heard it used that way.

  118. re post: Pat Moffitt says: December 27, 2011 at 10:13 am

    I have always been awed by the beauty of the ocean’s complexity—I find the simplicity we impose on it with the CO2 narrative an anathema.
    I’ll pass along the most important thing I ever learned– we do not live in a linear world. Never ever ever rely on linearity to describe an ecosystem response….

    BINGO!

  119. Science is about precision – and that includes terminology. Obviously on comment posting folks often don’t take the time to ensure that they’re using exactly the right phrase or wording – but it does get important when we start talking about the basics (no pun intended!).

    You’re never acidifying a solution until or unless you are adding sufficient acid to bring that solution to an acidic state – e.g., under pH 7.0. You may very well be adding an acid to the solution, but so long as the solution is basic, by the proper terminology you quite simply aren’t acidifying in any sense of the word. If you are adding enough acid or diluting enough to go to a pH 7.0, then you are neutralizing the solution. If you are lowering pH, but are still above 7.0, then you aren’t acidifying, you are reducing alkalinity or moving towards a neutral solution.

    Corrosion, on the other hand, is relative and not specific to pH, even though we typically think of a corrosive solution as one that is most likely acidic. Alkaline substances can be just as highly corrosive however. Whether something is corrosive or not all depends on the system it is in, and the various physical and chemical reactivities of the substances present. For example, water, through the process of erosion, corrodes rock. You can conceivably have an alkaline substance that is corroded by another alkaline substance, all based on the particular structure and reactivity of each, and just how much difference there is in the level of alkalinity of each substance.

    But you’re never acidifying a solution so long as it will remain above a pH of 7.0.

  120. Pat Moffitt – “Those who deny global warming, climate change…….”

    Link to the page where that is written. You’ll find it not by me. More smokebombs Pat?

    philincalifornia – ” I say “I know barely anything about ocean acidification”. You even cut and paste the quote but have come to the conclusion “If you are an expert as you claim”.

    Let me refresh your memory. Above you wrote :

    “Could you please explain to this Ph.D. chemist…….”

    “Yes Rob, a Ph.D. chemist with 200 peer-reviewed publications, 50 issued patents, and a current profession that involves cutting through bullsh!t science…..”

    “Go on, ask me a chemistry question. I’ll educate you”

    -“I know barely anything about ocean acidification, but it’s still more than you know”

    I have asked a very simple question that anyone with some basic knowledge on this topic could answer, yet you a ‘supposed’ PhD chemist can only offer bubkes. It’s because you aren’t what you claim to be are you?

  121. re post: LazyTeenager says: December 26, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Nup. Used in this context acidify means decrease the pH. Chemical and biological processes could not give a rat’s a–e about whether the water is above or below pH = 7, which is the definition of acid you are thinking of. That definition of acid is largely a convention for human terminlogical purposes. Chemical and biological processes care about hydrogen ion concentration. There is no magical threshold at pH 7 that causes chemical process to be different above 7 and below 7.

    Just what in the world do you think pH is a measurement of, Lazyteenager? Of course chemical and biological processes don’t ‘care’ what the pH happens to be – they’re not sentient. Whether chemical and biological processes occur at all, or function properly, however, is quite often directly dependent on the pH of the solution. Of course there’s no ‘magic threshold’ – there’s just a spectrum across which reactions in solution either work or don’t based on the pH of the solution. Try taking a few organic chemistry, biochemistry, and medical classes, and then tell me how pH doesn’t matter to these processes. Explain to me why our blood pH level is so incredibly tightly regulated, by multiple redundant systems no less. How redox reactions don’t ‘care’ what the pH happens to be. Don’t go all schizophrenic on the issue either – you can’t say reactions don’t care what the pH of the solution is, only the hydrogen ion concentration within that solution – that’s a total non sequitur.

  122. Just for clarification, in my previous comment I am referring to no evidence for corrosive seawater during times of prolonged high CO2 levels. This is because of the slicate/carbonate weathering process, the slow wearing away of rock surfaces by weather, supplies alkalinity back to the ocean. This doesn’t happen under geologically rapid CO2 releases, such as today.

  123. re post: Rob Painting says: December 27, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Just for clarification, in my previous comment I am referring to no evidence for corrosive seawater during times of prolonged high CO2 levels. This is because of the slicate/carbonate weathering process, the slow wearing away of rock surfaces by weather, supplies alkalinity back to the ocean. This doesn’t happen under geologically rapid CO2 releases, such as today

    An argument I’ve heard before, but really isn’t logical. If you have long term elevated levels of CO2, you would have to have correspondingly high rates of rock weathering to continually make up for it, using this logic. Only problem is that if those long term high weathering rates are possible, then it could also occur sufficiently to counter a rapid shift from ‘low’ CO2 levels to ‘high’ CO2 levels as in the present times. This becomes even more true considering that present day ‘high’ levels are still significantly lower than those postulated long term elevated levels – levels which have occurred in the past history of our world during times when both land and ocean life was apparently flourishing.

  124. Now I understand why the AlGoremists use the doublespeak word “acidification” instead of the scientifically correct “neutralization”. Because the following scary headline just wouldn’t work:

    The ocean’s pH is becoming increasingly neutralized, and very soon will be extremely neutralized to the point of catastrophic neutralization!!!!

  125. re post: LazyTeenager says: December 26, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Smokey says; And there is no empirical, testable measurement that shows ocean pH changing due to human emitted CO2. To even imply that is ‘Bad Science, bad, bad.’

    ———-
    Depends on what kind of evidence you find acceptable. If you don’t want to accept it then I am sure you could come up with some quibble at every stage of the chain of evidence.
    Let’s start with basic chemistry. We know the composition of sea water, we know the change in atmospheric CO2 concentration. Then it’s just a matter of calculating the change of pH using well known chemical laws. But I am sure that is not enough for you. Then there are direct measurements of changes on sea water pH. But that won’t be enough for you either. And then we can compare the results of calculation with measurement to see if they agree. But that won’t be enough either….

    Bad, bad, bad, is right, right, right. LazyT, measurements without context, meaningful history, or controls are moot, and don’t provide any sort of scientific evidence. You can’t say, scientifically, that something has changed when you don’t even have a solid initial state for comparison. Problems with global ocean pH are far worse than global temperature measurement problems.

    Meanwhile, trying to foof off on everyone that it’s a matter of ‘basic chemistry’ (or ‘simple physics’ as is commonly seen in non-scientific arguments re CO2’s atmospheric action) goes beyond absurd. Such claims can only be made by those who have no understanding of science, the scientific method, and the complexity of the system(s) being studied. ‘Basic chemistry’ as you describe it simply cannot begin to cover the issue in any meaningful fashion.

    If you really want to go down that path, however, then you might try reading some of the actual science that has modelled some of the biggest chemical reaction components involved in the atmospheric CO2 to ocean ‘acidification’ equation. See below for an example.

    GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 33, L10605, 3 PP., 2006
    doi:10.1029/2006GL026305

    Modern-age buildup of CO2 and its effects on seawater acidity and salinity
    Hugo A. Loáiciga, Department of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara, California, USA

    The impacts of increases in atmospheric CO2 since the midst of the 18th century on average seawater salinity and acidity are evaluated. Assuming that the rise in the planetary mean surface temperature continues unabated, and that it eventually causes the melting of terrestrial ice and permanent snow, it is calculated that the average seawater salinity would be lowered not more than 0.61‰ from its current 35‰. It is also calculated –using an equilibrium model of aqueous carbonate species in seawater open to the atmosphere- that the increase in atmospheric CO2 from 280 ppmv (representative of 18th-century conditions) to 380 ppmv (representative of current conditions) raises the average seawater acidity approximately 0.09 pH units across the range of seawater temperature considered (0 to 30°C). A doubling of CO2 from 380 ppmv to 760 ppmv (the 2 × CO2 scenario) increases the seawater acidity approximately 0.19 pH units across the same range of seawater temperature. In the latter case, the predicted increase in acidity results in a pH within the water-quality limits for seawater of 6.5 and 8.5 and a change in pH less than 0.20 pH units. This paper’s results concerning average seawater salinity and acidity show that, on a global scale and over the time scales considered (hundreds of years), there would not be accentuated changes in either seawater salinity or acidity from the observed or hypothesized rises in atmospheric CO2 concentrations

  126. re post: Rob Painting says: December 26, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Pat Moffitt – “we don’t know whether or not the ocean are a sink or a source. How does that work?

    Where do you suppose half of our fossil fuel emissions vanish to? I don’t know the “we” you allude to, but science is pretty clear that almost half of our fossil fuel emissions to date have been absorbed by the oceans and resulted in the decrease of ocean pH. Google “Henry’s Law” for starters

    Gee, I guess that increased growth of plant life, forests, etc., due to the extra CO2 plant food couldn’t possibly have a thing to do with it. You may want to try listening to Freeman Dyson on this very issue:

    Then consider the surprising findings of the Japanese satellite global maps of CO2 levels. Along with earlier findings of a global increase in biota over the past 30 years or so. In other words, it’s far from ‘clear’ that ‘half our fossil fuel emissions have been absorbed by the oceans’ and it’s also far from clear that there has been any decrease in global ocean pH over the past 50 or more years. The current state of science simply doesn’t begin to support either of those claims.

  127. re post: LazyTeenager says: December 26, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Pat Moffit says Everything is caused by tiny changes in CO2. Who knew it was that simple?

    ——–
    Well no one is saying that. It’s a given that the system is complex.

    Sounds like you were singing a different tune in your December 26, 2011 at 4:00 pm post when you took issue with Smokey’s claim that there isn’t evidence of man created CO2 causing any decrease in ocean pH levels. There you said:

    Let’s start with basic chemistry. We know the composition of sea water, we know the change in atmospheric CO2 concentration. Then it’s just a matter of calculating the change of pH using well known chemical laws. But I am sure that is not enough for you. Then there are direct measurements of changes on sea water pH. But that won’t be enough for you either. And then we can compare the results of calculation with measurement to see if they agree. But that won’t be enough either….

    LazyT continued:

    But considering some of the other claims you have made I’ll observe that many systems, no matter how complex, are subject to a 90% 10% law. That is to say: including 10% of the components of a system will capture 90% of it’s behavior. So producing quibbles by enumerating every single thing that might/maybe have an effect is a great way to be obstructive, but it is not a great way of understanding how the system works. In fact your position sounds suspiciously similar to the “we don’t know everything therefore we know nothing” logical fallacy

    Talk about logical fallacies. What did you pull that ‘law’ out of? Describe to us just how one picks which 10% of a system to capture? Then tell me how that is done with a system that has a huge number of unknowns. Tell us how a ‘system’ is even defined such that this ‘law’ can be applied. Give us some real life system examples where your ‘law’ is used in a complex system, with the specifics showing that your ‘law’ was actually used, and details of the 10% captured and decisions necessary to select the appropriate 10%.

  128. re post: beng says: December 27, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Now I understand why the AlGoremists use the doublespeak word “acidification” instead of the scientifically correct “neutralization”. Because the following scary headline just wouldn’t work:

    The ocean’s pH is becoming increasingly neutralized, and very soon will be extremely neutralized to the point of catastrophic neutralization!!!

    LOL!! Hum… for argument’s sake, if we assume that the ocean pH actually is dropping, I suppose they could then accurately state that atmospheric CO2 is causing the ocean to evolve into a less basic state, as we reduce the caustic nature of the seas. Only somehow the associated innuendo with that phrasing might actually sound like a good thing too – Darwinianism of the oceans, mankind helping to speed up evolution of ocean life and the oceans themselves! {g}

  129. Rob Painting says:
    December 27, 2011 at 3:04 pm
    ====================================

    I’m sorry Rob, when it comes to strawmen …..

    ….. I just say NO

    They duped you once on global warming, and that’s shame on them, but being duped twice, that’s shame on you. More so if you’re a scientist.

  130. It looks like Rob Painting and Lazy Teenager were lured to this post by see cucumbers and led into a debate where they were handed their ass. Better to stick with the see cucumbers and leave the technical discussions to others.

  131. LazyTeenager says:
    December 26, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Smokey says

    And there is no empirical, testable measurement that shows ocean pH changing due to human emitted CO2. To even imply that is ‘Bad Science, bad, bad.’
    ———-

    Depends on what kind of evidence you find acceptable….

    The way I look at it, from the viewpoint of someone who raised livestock and used corrals only to herd cattle into, it would be difficult even for less discerning people to prove that “human-emitted CO2” has any impact and that it can be in any way be separated from the impact of the 97 percent that come from natural sources.

    I cannot think of anyone at all who would be capable of providing evidence of that distinction that would be acceptable even to himself. To repeat Smokey, “To even imply that is ‘Bad Science, bad, bad.’”

  132. Only acids are corrosive? Let me just pop you in a bath with caustic soda bath salts, LT.

    Did you ever study basic science at high school? That’s where I learned about acids and bases, at age 14. ‘Acid’ doesn’t mean what you think it means.

  133. TomRude @ December 26, 2011 at 10:22 am
    I thought your comment very quick, if not crutch-grabbing.

    Perhaps you could encourage the Moore Foundation to fund education of young women so they may be able to speak up or find employment and escape FGM (femal genital mutilation) or at the very least decent hospital services with anaesthetics/pain relief for young men in the developing nations. Those nations that still require and practice on young men (not babes) to endure home/community-based initiation using the rusty kitchen and bathroom cutlery (circumcision and sub-incision). Or where the govts subsidise and medicare pays for flights (inc elder escort) and hospitalisation of these young men to be circumcised. occurs……. as a collective ritual.

    Perhaps the 60% interest in the media on the Bobbitt case could be transferred to the 60% of the youth population (girls and boys) that endure such torture in developing nations?

    http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/criminal_mind/sexual_assault/severed_penis/index.html

  134. In my educational days, “corrosion” was associated with a volume reduction of a solid, caused by a chemical mechanism. Rusting of iron is an example.
    OTOH, “erosion” is a reduction in volume by a physical mechanism. Sand blasting of iron is an example).

  135. Mr. Watts, in this all too brief time of good will towards man(not Mann) I would like assurances that no warmists were harmed in the production of that picture included with this article.

  136. Rational Debate – “If you have long term elevated levels of CO2, you would have to have correspondingly high rates of rock weathering to continually make up for it, using this logic. Only problem is that if those long term high weathering rates are possible, then it could also occur sufficiently to counter a rapid shift from ‘low’ CO2 levels to ‘high’ CO2 levels as in the present times”

    You did so well with the first sentence, but blew it with the second. It is the rate of change that is important. Now if you were to watch a rock, how long do you suppose it might take for it to be worn down? Do you think the rate of weathering would be fast enough to counter the rate of fossil fuel burning over the last 2 centuries?

    Consider this: volcanic activity has pumped trillions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere over time. And yet CO2 is still measured in parts per million. What happened to all that CO2?

  137. philincalifornia – “I’m sorry Rob, when it comes to strawmen …..”

    Phil, is this some game where up means down? You claimed to be a chemist, a highly published one at that, and yet have not grasped the basics. I still await an answer, and you’ve had plenty of time to google it.

    eyesonu – that’s the up-is-down thing again isn’t it?

    Rational Debate – no point linking to Freeman Dyson, he’s no expert on ocean acidification. At least I’ve never come across a peer-reviewed scientific paper by him on the topic. I trust you’ll point one out should it exist.

    You also do not understand what Dalton’s law of partial pressure and Henry’s Law stipulate. It has absolutely nothing to do with increased plant growth on land. Together they mandate the absorption of CO2 by the ocean as the partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere increases. Kind of the basics really, and something that both philincalifornia and Pat Moffitt know nothing about.

  138. Rob the Science Kop Painting,
    It has been my experience that those without a background in chemistry simply throw out “peer reviewed” papers as evidence of some belief because they have neither the understanding not the experience to discuss the particular details.

    Lets use a police analogy- something closer to your work experience. Lets say we have a cop that has walked the beat for 30 years and we have a young Ph.D. who has done a sociological model on how police are supposed to interact in any given situation. We arrive at a crime scene and shooting breaks out- who are you going to trust- the cop who has been trained to handle these situations and has lived it for 30 years or the Ph.D that has been sheltered in his ivory tower? What if the cop also has a PhD but chose to use that knowledge in applied field of actual police work? You would have us to believe that we should pay no attention to the cop who may have been through this many times because he has never written a theoretical paper on the subject. I’m sure there would be many police officers that would beg to differ

  139. Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 27, 2011 at 12:50 pm
    Gary Pearse says:
    December 26, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    “What am I missing here? If the life in the aquarium can’t change the acid/base balance, how does the aquarium pH go bad?”

    The aquarium is a very artificial system in which you have selected a tiny portion of an ecology with no symbiotic partners and to which you add a high proportion (in volume terms) of food from outside to the aquarium. It is not the “life” in the aquarium but rather the death and eutrophication in the absence of other “clean-up” partners that acidifies the water through bacterial action and release of CO2, H2S, etc.

    http://oceanacidification.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/acidification-of-subsurface-coastal-waters-enhanced-by-eutrophication/

  140. Gary Pearse- Willis-
    Life can absolutely change the pH. Ammonia is a product of fish respiration which is then nitrified by bacteria consuming alkalinity. Denitrification will at best give you half of it back. A better example perhaps is fill you aquarium with bog plants and they will actively drive pH down with the active sequestering of Ca and other processes. However I do agree no lab or aquarium system can duplicate the more complex real system. But bog communities are a real world example that higher life (other than bacteria) can change the pH.

  141. Gary Pearse says:
    December 28, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    The aquarium is a very artificial system in which you have selected a tiny portion of an ecology with no symbiotic partners and to which you add a high proportion (in volume terms) of food from outside to the aquarium. It is not the “life” in the aquarium but rather the death and eutrophication in the absence of other “clean-up” partners that acidifies the water through bacterial action and release of CO2, H2S, etc.

    I appreciate your reply, Gary. However, I don’t understand. You say that life in the ocean can’t change the pH. I give you the example of coral reefs, where life definitely changes the pH. I also mention the aquarium.

    In your reply, you are arguing against yourself. Your claim now is that when the pH goes wrong in the aquarium, it is because the aquarium is missing living “clean-up” partners … beings whose job is to RESTORE THE pH … so how do those “clean-up” creatures manage to change the pH of the water?

    You also say that “eutrophication” can change the pH. However, eutrophication is the overgrowth of life due to unlimited nutrients. So it seems to me that in eutrophication is assuredly is life that is changing the pH.

    You say that there are underwater processes that can change the pH, but that underwater life can’t change the pH. Why not? Why is life somehow forbidden from doing something that happens by chemistry.

    Finally, you did not comment on coral reefs. Coral reefs are a net source of CO2. This leaves them generally with a slightly lower pH than the surrounding open ocean waters. If life can’t affect the ocean’s pH, how do they do that?

    Thanks,

    w.

  142. Willis,
    Eutrophication is too often used improperly like acidification- being marketed now as synonymous with pollution. I’m sure you know its not either an “overgrowth” nor necessarily nutrient related and were just using it as an example. Eutrophication being simply the increasing rate in the supply of organic carbon to an aquatic ecosystem.
    Don’t mean to nit-pick here but in the middle of an important fight over a local estuary where the press is spinning some “scientists” claims that the Bay’s eutrophication is proof of nutrient enrichment when the real stressors are the loss of grazers (oysters), inlet modifications that changed the tidal prism and perhaps a silica deficiency promoting a proliferation of the more noxious pico-nano-phytoplankton.
    Eutrophication has no value judgement assigned to it and can be a consequences of any number of parameters of which nutrients are only one possibility. Eutrophication does not even require a change in trophic state. (Although some at NOAA are trying like hell to change the accepted definition in pure regulatory self interest so as to limit all causes to nitrogen in keeping with the new Nitrogen Cascade crisis. NOAA’s new Asset model assumes all eutrophication is nitrogen caused- even when its not.)

  143. Willis,
    You’ll love the Asset Model- it first assumes every change in an estuary is caused by Nitrogen and the allows the modeler to make a projection of what the future of an estuary will be like without nitrogen controls and derive a factor that is then to adjust the current data! The future now controls the present and I wish this was hyperbole. http://ian.umces.edu/neea/pdfs/assets.pdf
    Nitrogen is the new CO2. They are just replacing one molecule that is necessary for life and cycle in complex ways with another.
    Any scientist that dares speak up is being smeared in the Press by the NGOs.
    If you want to read a really unsettling report look at the recent Science Advisory Report prepared for EPA on the uses of nitrogen regulations. http://yosemite.epa.gov/sab/sabproduct.nsf/67057225CC780623852578F10059533D/$File/EPA-SAB-11-013-unsigned.pdf
    I’m now convinced Nitrogen is actually more dangerous than CO2 in regulatory hands and unfortunately EPA has all the regulatory authority it needs to wield it like a weapon. The Bay that I am working on if they succeed will be used to justify crippling emission standards.

  144. re post: Rob Painting says: December 28, 2011 at 3:12 am

    You did so well with the first sentence, but blew it with the second. It is the rate of change that is important. Now if you were to watch a rock, how long do you suppose it might take for it to be worn down? Do you think the rate of weathering would be fast enough to counter the rate of fossil fuel burning over the last 2 centuries? Consider this: volcanic activity has pumped trillions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere over time. And yet CO2 is still measured in parts per million. What happened to all that CO2?

    And you manage to miss the point entirely. Rob, if you were to watch a rock, tell me just how that rock is going to have its ‘rate of change’ as you put it, alter so radically that weathering would be able to keep up with constant high atmospheric levels of CO2 over millions of years, higher CO2 than present day levels? Conversely, if rock weathers so rapidly that it would manage to buffer extended high levels of CO2, then tell me why we’ve got any CO2 remaining in our present day atmosphere? Remember, I’m playing devil’s advocate here using YOUR logic.

    As to your final question – don’t you think that we would have to have shown, scientifically, just where naturally occurring CO2 sources and sinks actually exist, not in a static picture either, but in our very complex and dynamic system (including atmosphere, biosphere, bodies of water, land masses/rocks, space interactions, etc) before proclaiming what happened to volcanic CO2 (or other) releases? You’re championing handy little theories, each of which has merit in the lab, but aren’t anything close to the complete picture once you actually include all of the players in the system – nor is there currently a body of comprehensive science available to support your claims.

  145. re post by: Rob Painting says: December 28, 2011 at 3:30 am

    Rational Debate – no point linking to Freeman Dyson, he’s no expert on ocean acidification. At least I’ve never come across a peer-reviewed scientific paper by him on the topic. I trust you’ll point one out should it exist.

    You also do not understand what Dalton’s law of partial pressure and Henry’s Law stipulate. It has absolutely nothing to do with increased plant growth on land. Together they mandate the absorption of CO2 by the ocean as the partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere increases. Kind of the basics really, and something that both philincalifornia and Pat Moffitt know nothing about.

    Now you are really displaying your blatant bias, lack of objectivity, and unscientific mindset. Why don’t you try actually listening to the Dyson video before spouting off? It’s all of a whopping 6 minutes long, what have you to lose, other than your talking points?

    As to who understands what about Dalton and Henry – you first try explaining to me how the atmospheric CO2 level has suddenly become completely uncoupled to biota, ok? When you can show us how the amount, mass, and growth of plants has nothing to do with atmospheric CO2 levels, then I’m sure you’re in for a Nobel and we’ll all really perk up when you start talkin’.

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