Measurements of Carbon in the Arctic Ocean – “Carbon is the currency of life.”

New Study by WHOI Scientists Provides Baseline Measurements of Carbon in Arctic Ocean

Griffith and his colleagues conducted their fieldwork in 2008 aboard the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St. Laurent. At two different spots in the Canada Basin, an area northwest of the Canadian coast, they gathered samples from 24 depths ranging from the surface to the ocean floor 3800 meters (roughly 12,500 feet) below.

Scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have conducted a new study to measure levels of carbon at various depths in the Arctic Ocean. The study, recently published in the journal Biogeosciences, provides data that will help researchers better understand the Arctic Ocean’s carbon cycle—the pathway through which carbon enters and is used by the marine ecosystem. It will also offer an important point of reference for determining how those levels of carbon change over time, and how the ecosystem responds to rising global temperatures.

“Carbon is the currency of life. Where carbon is coming from, which organisms are using it, how they’re giving off carbon themselves—these things say a lot about how an ocean ecosystem works,” says David Griffith, the lead author on the study. “If warming temperatures perturb the Arctic Ocean, the way that carbon cycles through that system may change.”

Griffith’s team sampled suspended particles of organic matter, as well as organic carbon and carbon dioxide (CO2) dissolved into the surrounding water. This is the first time that researchers have focused broadly on measuring multiple types of carbon at the same time and place in the Arctic Ocean—due to its remote location and the challenges of operating in sea ice, few comprehensive carbon surveys had been conducted there before this study.

Griffith and his colleagues conducted their fieldwork in 2008 aboard the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St. Laurent. At two different spots in the Canada Basin, an area northwest of the Canadian coast, they gathered samples from 24 depths ranging from the surface to the ocean floor 3800 meters (roughly 12,500 feet) below.

Collecting samples at those intervals was necessary, Griffith says, because the Arctic Ocean is separated into distinct layers, each with its own unique carbon characteristics. At the surface is a freshwater layer from river runoff and sea-ice melt. Below that is a layer of cold water from the Pacific, and below that is a warm, salty Atlantic layer. The deepest layer is slowly replaced by mixing with overlying Atlantic water.

Measuring the different amounts of carbon in each layer (and determining its source) is an essential step in understanding the flow of carbon through the marine ecosystem, says Griffith: “It’s kind of like understanding how freight and people move in a city. If you don’t know what’s coming in and out, it’s really hard to understand how the city works.”

To analyze the contents of his samples, Griffith turned to Ann McNichol, a WHOI senior researcher and staff chemist. At WHOI’s National Ocean Sciences Accelerator Mass Spectrometer Facility (NOSAMS), she tallied the total number of carbon atoms in each specimen, including carbon-13, a stable isotope of the element. McNichol says that it can be used to determine where a particular pool of carbon originated, and how it may have been utilized by the marine ecosystem.

“Carbon-13 is primarily a source indicator,” she says. “By measuring levels of carbon-13 at different depths, it’s possible to determine if the carbon there was generated by the marine environment, ocean ice environment, or by terrestrial sources.” The team also examined levels of carbon-14, a radioactive isotope that can help determine the age of each sample to further determine its source.

In addition to understanding the basic carbon cycle in the Arctic Ocean, Griffith’s team hopes that the results of this baseline study will help evaluate how Arctic Ocean carbon levels and global climate interact. Griffith says there are several ways this could happen.

As the Arctic gradually warms, it may cause a more intense precipitation cycle over northern Canada, Alaska, and Siberia, generating more rainfall each year. This in turn would cause more runoff from melting permafrost and eroded soil—both rich sources of organic carbon.

One possible outcome of that scenario could be an increase of carbon dioxide in the region. As bacteria in Arctic Ocean use the new influx of carbon as a food source, they may create CO2 as a byproduct. A second possibility, Griffith posits, is that warming temperatures and melting sea ice might boost the production of phytoplankton, tiny plant-like organisms that live near the ocean’s surface and thrive on carbon dioxide in the water. As those phytoplankton die (or are eaten by other organisms and released as waste), they would sink to the sea floor, causing the carbon in their bodies to be sequestered in thick sediments—effectively removing the increased carbon from the environment.

“Those are just a few aspects of what might happen. But for every one that we think about, there could be 10 others that drive the system in a different direction,” says Griffith. “We don’t yet have the kind of data to say anything definitive about how the Arctic would be affected by warming climate—but what we do have is a very important baseline of data to help evaluate changes that will happen in the future. Without that, you‘re unfortunately just guessing at how things change over time.”

Also collaborating on the study were WHOI geochemist Li Xu, Fiona McLaughlin and Robie Macdonald of the Institute of Ocean Sciences, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Kristina Brown of the University of British Columbia, and Timothy Eglinton of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

This research was funded by the WHOI Arctic Research Initiative, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Canadian International Polar Year Office, and the U.S. National Science Foundation.

Source: http://www.whoi.edu/main/news-releases?tid=3622&cid=137709

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55 Responses to Measurements of Carbon in the Arctic Ocean – “Carbon is the currency of life.”

  1. RayG says:

    It is unfortunate that the researchers start with an a proiri premise that: “As the Arctic gradually warms, it may cause a more intense precipitation cycle over northern Canada, Alaska, and Siberia, generating more rainfall each year.” They use the conditional tense when they state that warming may cause a more intense precipitation cycle but there is no similar caution about the Arctic gradually warming. As it is said, cite your data.

  2. hopaulius says:

    “If warming temperatures perturb the Arctic Ocean, the way that carbon cycles through that system may change.” If cooling temperatures perturb the Arctic Ocean, will that affect carbon cycles too? Or is that just an inconceivable thought for someone dependent on government funding?

  3. hopaulius says:

    “If warming temperatures perturb the Arctic Ocean, the way that carbon cycles through that system may change.” Is it also possible that cooling temperatures might perturb the Arctic Ocean? Or is that just inconceivable?

  4. “We don’t yet have the kind of data to say anything definitive about how the Arctic would be affected by warming climate—but what we do have is a very important baseline of data to help evaluate changes that will happen in the future. Without that, you‘re unfortunately just guessing at how things change over time.

    We are creating this kind of baseline data far too slowly IMO. And there is still far too much speculation in the absence of data in climate science. But its refreshing to read about scientists who just went out and measured stuff.

  5. SirCharge says:

    WHOI, pronounced like hooey?

  6. Mike Busby says:

    I read the article with a fairly open mind and found it was pretty well balanced apart from the starting point of the Arctic Heating. I applaud their making of the study but possibly not the dire conclusions the come to. At least they were not scared to say there could be dozens of separate scenarios even if they did take the doom and gloom options.

  7. Dave Wendt says:

    RayG says:
    May 21, 2012 at 8:10 pm
    It is unfortunate that the researchers start with an a proiri premise that: “As the Arctic gradually warms, it may cause a more intense precipitation cycle over northern Canada, Alaska, and Siberia, generating more rainfall each year.” They use the conditional tense to when the state that warming may cause a more intense precipitation cycle but there is no similar caution about the Arctic gradually warming. As it is said, cite your data.

    The notion warmer temps and more open water in the Arctic would lead to more precipitation has always seemed at least somewhat plausible to me. but I’ve been following this site very regularly for well over two years.

    http://tinyurl.com/cca3mbg Drought Monitor

    Although the timescales available for the maps only go back three years from the time I first encountered the site the northern reaches of Greenland have had a big red splotch indicating exceptional drought at all timescales which suggests well below normal precipitation for well over five years. I haven’t found anything that explains why this is so, but the fact that it appears to be so suggests that once again something that the “consensus” assumes to be “known” is at odds with what the data show

  8. Donald Mitchell says:

    I was very pleasantly surprised by this posting. By the time I got to the “Continue reading” link on the home page, I was expecting to be very annoyed. Too many authors use “carbon” when they really mean “carbon dioxide”. I am very fond of carbon. Neglecting the water, calcium, and oxygen, I suspect that the majority of my body mass is carbon. The polyethylene baggie I put my lunch in is about 85% carbon by weight. Neglecting the metals and oxygen, I suspect that the vast majority of the mass of the computer I am writing this comment on is carbon. It may be in the plastic of the keyboard and display, the epoxy in the fiberglass of the pc boards, the insulation of all of the wires and cables (PCV insulation is only about 38% carbon due to much higher weight of chlorine), or the materials encapsulating the electronic components, but it is there. It might be possible to build a carbon free computer using silicon based polymers, but it would not be easy without a complete rebuild of the many of our industries. I suspect that the energy needed to synthesize the silicon based polymers would give a computer which did not contain any carbon a far bigger carbon footprint than the one I am using now.

    I am pleased to see that someone who is looking into the carbon cycle is including its incorporation into life forms from the simplest to bacteria, plants, and possibly up to those disgusting forms, such as myself, who like carbon. I could not get along without it.

  9. pochas says:

    Trying to capture these vectors will be like trying to herd cats.

  10. Chuck Nolan says:

    Philip Bradley says:
    May 21, 2012 at 8:19 pm
    “We don’t yet have the kind of data to say anything definitive about how the Arctic would be affected by warming climate—but what we do have is a very important baseline of data to help evaluate changes that will happen in the future. Without that, you‘re unfortunately just guessing at how things change over time.”

    We are creating this kind of baseline data far too slowly IMO. And there is still far too much speculation in the absence of data in climate science. But its refreshing to read about scientists who just went out and measured stuff.
    ————————————-
    So, now these dedicated scientists will give their data to the modelers so it can be fed into all of the global warming models. They will then select the one that best shows the man made global warming they know is there.

    Hey, maybe Dave and Ann will find the missing heat hanging out in the depths of the Arctic.

  11. Mike Wryley says:

    The funding for the project was predicated on the assumption of a warming arctic, so the level of integrity is already questionable. I wonder what the projected timeline is supposed to be between these measurements ? It would seem to me that anything more frequent three to five years would oversampling a system with significant hysteresis and a waste of money.

  12. Henry says:

    At least they didn’t mention the term “acidification”. That’s a plus…….

  13. Streetcred says:

    I’m an avid marine aquarist … propagate stony coral and keep marine fish species.

    One of the techniques that we use for water maintenance is to dose different carbon sources into the display water, sugar, vinegar, and vodka … this encourages the bacteria that control nitrate and nutrients and feeds the corals.

    No carbon in the ocean = no life in the ocean. BTW, it was bacteria that cleaned up the Exxon oil spill most successfully, not the chemicals. Areas where chemical clean up was undertaken have been slower to recover. Carbon is king.

  14. Urederra says:

    “The currency of life” I love it.

    Also, on field measurements, wow. Real empiricial data, take that, RIchard Branson and co. What did you do in the south pole, appart from breaking some ice?

  15. Graeme W says:

    I’m a little confused by one part of the report:

    The team also examined levels of carbon-14, a radioactive isotope that can help determine the age of each sample to further determine its source.

    My understanding of radiodating theory is that a living organism will absorb carbon-14 during its lifetime, but once it dies there will no longer be a replenishment, so the rate of decay can be used to estimate a time since death.

    How does that apply to the samples they’ve taken? Given that it’s water samples, I would presume that a reasonable amount of the material in those sample will be from living creatures, and hence radiodating the carbon is problematic.

    Of course, my understanding could be wrong….

  16. “Carbon is the currency of life. Where carbon is coming from, which organisms are using it, how they’re giving off carbon themselves—these things say a lot about how an ocean ecosystem works,” says David Griffith, the lead author on the study. “If warming temperatures perturb the Arctic Ocean, the way that carbon cycles through that system may change.”
    —————————————————–
    ““If warming temperatures perturb the Arctic Ocean…”
    I got the feeling that that is CYA; something that must be said in order for science to be allowed to be practised.

    Almost implicit in that statement are its unspoken alternatives. I have no idea who this guy is or what his agendas are, and maybe I am just being hopeful, but it is as if there is a real scientist there yearning to do real science, but politic enough to say the right words so he won’t be stifled by the warmunist establishment.

    Maybe the real scientists are starting to escape from behind the warm curtain.

    Mr Gore-bachev, open this climategate!
    Mr Gore-bachev, tear down this wall of lies!

  17. David, UK says:

    ““Those are just a few aspects of what might happen. But for every one that we think about, there could be 10 others that drive the system in a different direction,” says Griffith. “We don’t yet have the kind of data to say anything definitive about how the Arctic would be affected by warming climate…”

    Hahahahahaha! It’s so predictable and funny! Translated this means: “The research has told us that this could happen, that could happen, and some other things we haven’t yet thought of – or don’t understand – could happen. But we just don’t know. We still need more data funding.”

  18. Geoff Sherrington says:

    As a chemist, before seeing the manuscript, I would hope that the sulphur cycle is studied alongside, just as intensively. In many ways, sulphur is just as important a nutritional player as carbon-based compunds. Sulphur dioxide concentrations in the air change as population, land use and industry change and SO2 can alter the pH of water. Unfortunately, it has a different atmospheric absorption spectrum to CO2 and is the poor cousin of the duo because it’s harder to use in the blame game.

  19. Steve C says:

    “By measuring levels of carbon-13 at different depths, it’s possible to determine if the carbon there was generated by the marine environment, ocean ice environment, or by terrestrial sources.”? I thought that alarmist claims about the “anthropogenic fingerprint” of C12/13 ratios had been debunked, and that the 12/13 ratio we’re seeing now was merely typical of any warming period?

    Still, if they do their job it’ll be a baseline to work from. It never fails to amaze me how minuscule the amount of climatic data we have is, and how short its timescale, compared to the minimum we need to start understanding how it all works.

  20. richardscourtney says:

    Chuck Nolan:

    At May 21, 2012 at 9:17 pm you say;

    So, now these dedicated scientists will give their data to the modelers so it can be fed into all of the global warming models. They will then select the one that best shows the man made global warming they know is there.

    Sadly, I can confirm that you are right.

    Below, I quote from a previous post I made that reported the confirmation. I posted it during the excellent discussion in the thread at
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/05/06/the-bern-model-puzzle/

    Incidentally, I commend reading all that discussion by anyone interested by the above report.

    Richard

    richardscourtney says:
    May 8, 2012 at 1:29 am

    [snip]

    And never forget the power of confirmation bias powered by research funding.

    In 2005 I gave the final presentation on the on the first day of at a conference in Stockholm. It explained how atmospheric CO2 concentration could be modelled in a variety of ways that were each superior to the Bern Model, and each gave a different development of future atmospheric CO2 concentration for the same input of CO2 to the air.

    I then explained what I have repeatedly stated in many places including on WUWT; i.e.

    The evidence suggests that the cause of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 is most probably natural, but it is possible that the cause may have been the anthropogenic emission. Imortantly, the data shows the rise is not accumulation of the anthropogenic emission in the air (as is assumed by e.g. the Bern Model).

    A representative of KNMI gave the first presentation of the following morning. He made no reference to my presentation and he said KNMI intended to incorporate the Bern Model into their climate model projections.

    So, I conclude that what is knowable is less important than what is useful for climate model development.

    Richard

    emphasis added

  21. Bloke down the pub says:

    As other commenters have said, it’s good that they are trying to lay down a baseline which can be compared to any future situation following a change in temperature. The only trouble is that, if instead of a warming Arctic they get a cooling one, the ice breakers wont be able to get back to take new measurements.

  22. Annie says:

    I seem to recall, from the days of my youth (a long time ago!), that the study of the chemistry of carbon was actually termed “organic chemistry” was it not?

  23. CodeTech says:

    I wonder how many years it will be before these people look back on this and ask themselves, “What were we thinking???”

    Really, that’s what was going through my head as I read this. The apparent belief that there IS warming ought to be the first clue that something is wrong. The attempt to determine what WILL happen as the “warming” continues is the second.

    One sentence rings true: Carbon is the currency of life. I personally like carbon. I depend on it.

  24. Geoff Sherrington says:

    RichardCourtney re different views.
    As a student of English, you might appreciate this as much as I did. Heard on the radio this morning –
    “There is always doubt. There is no doubt about that.”

  25. Buzz B says:

    hopaulis — Woods Hole is a private, independent non-profit. In other words, this research is not supported by government funding.

    RayG and others — To research the question of what-would-a-warming-Arctic-do-to-the-ocean-carbon-cycle is a legitimate research question. As others have noted, it’s a small brick in the wall of trying to better understand the climate as a whole. It’s not presupposing AGW. It’s gathering data to form a baseline to evaluate the effect that any changes in the arctic temperatures have on the carbon cycle. I just don’t understand the level of disdain for basic scientific research expressed by so many on these boards who are skeptical of AGW theory … it’s like they’re afraid that the results may somehow support the theory.

  26. Will says:

    “Carbon is the currency of life”

    Of course it is the currency of live. And any limits on human emissions are in effect a limit on human life.

    Carbon credits traded on the stock markets are in effect a trade in human rights. A slave trade.

  27. Kelvin Vaughan says:

    hopaulius says:

    May 21, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    “If warming temperatures perturb the Arctic Ocean, the way that carbon cycles through that system may change.” If cooling temperatures perturb the Arctic Ocean, will that affect carbon cycles too? Or is that just an inconceivable thought for someone dependent on government funding?

    If you are on Government funding you are not allowed to mention the C word!

  28. richardscourtney says:

    Geoff Sherrington:

    re. your comment to me at May 22, 2012 at 3:50 am.

    Yes, I did appreciate it. Thankyou.

    Richard

  29. Mr Lynn says:

    Buzz B says:
    May 22, 2012 at 3:58 am
    RayG and others — To research the question of what-would-a-warming-Arctic-do-to-the-ocean-carbon-cycle is a legitimate research question. As others have noted, it’s a small brick in the wall of trying to better understand the climate as a whole. It’s not presupposing AGW. It’s gathering data to form a baseline to evaluate the effect that any changes in the arctic temperatures have on the carbon cycle. I just don’t understand the level of disdain for basic scientific research expressed by so many on these boards who are skeptical of AGW theory … it’s like they’re afraid that the results may somehow support the theory.

    The study itself sounds interesting, and potentially valuable. What folks here are objecting to is the obeisance to the ‘global warming’ mantra:

    [This study] will also offer an important point of reference for determining how those levels of carbon change over time, and how the ecosystem responds to rising global temperatures. . .

    Maybe this is just obligatory to get the research grant, but the assumption of “rising global temperatures” has become the conventional currency of the scientific establishment—and of course of the enviro-whackos. Here, for instance, is a blurb for a video presentation posted on an e-list in our town (Framingham, MA):

    Transition Framingham, the Framingham Sierra Club and the Center of Light
    will present “In Transition 2.0″ at 7pm on Tuesday, May 29. The inspiring
    hour-length film about Transition Town initiatives around world – including
    that of Wayland, MA, explores ways in which a town can become more
    resilient and better able to cope with economic and climate instability
    brought about by the twin challenges of dwindling oil supplies and global
    warming.
    There will be a discussion following the movie and refreshments
    will be served. This will be a wonderful opportunity to meet like-minded
    neighbors. For more information on Transition Towns, you can watch the film
    Transition 1.0 on http://vimeo.com/8029815 once you become a Vimeo member
    (free).[my emphasis]

    Most people who read this blog know full well that the Earth is not warming appreciably (nor are oil supplies “dwindling”), but for most of the educated world these are not just working assumptions but conclusions, settled, taken for granted.

    We’ll know when the tide has shifted when authors of serious studies like the one in question no longer can throw up the ‘global warming’ mantra without asking whether it has any basis in fact.

    /Mr Lynn

  30. kramer says:

    Carbon is the currency of life.

    I’m sure the big bankers, who have their carbon derivatives ready to go for the estimated $20 trillion dollars a year global carbon market are aware of this.

  31. Mike says:

    I take umbrage to a prior comment, I’m a professional cat hearder. Yes this profession exists, and I say give me more doom and gloom . The entertainment level is priceless. You can’t imagine the boredom of watching Wiskers sniffing a favored twig for the umpteenth time. the good thing is that we only ever cover about 10 – 15 acres at a time. Plus we get a lot of nap time.

  32. Latitude says:

    David, UK says:
    May 22, 2012 at 12:06 am
    ===============================
    …and David, for your hard earned money….you’ll get “if this trend continues”

  33. fhhaynie says:

    The Arctic is the big sink for atmospheric CO2. The sink rate is a strong function of the area of exposed sea surface, water temperature, and biological activity at the surface. All these natural processes change significantly within a year. Mass spectroscopy data as a function of depth, time, and latitude would go a long way in understanding where and how fast the CO2 goes in that sink.

  34. higley7 says:

    ” It will also offer an important point of reference for determining how those levels of carbon change over time, and how the ecosystem responds to rising global temperatures”

    Ouch. The first paragraph and their credibility has already left the building.

    At least we know they will continue to get funding. With a pat money phrase like that, they could go for years.

  35. cotwome says:

    “Griffith and his colleagues conducted their fieldwork in 2008 aboard the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St. Laurent. At two different spots in the Canada Basin”

    …Arctic ice area (maximum) was higher every year after 2008 (according to NORSEX). I would like to know more specifically when they did the measurements; I guess we should assume Arctic summer, but, they still needed an icebreaker! September arctic ice (minimum) in 2008 and 2011 were very similar, but 2009 and 2010 had much more ice then the baseline year of 2008. The jury is still out on 2012. I wonder what the current preliminary results look like?

    “It will also offer an important point of reference for determining how those levels of carbon change over time, and how the ecosystem responds to rising global temperatures.”

    …What would global temperatures have to do with that specific region or that regions ecosystem? That specific region had one of there coldest winters on record this year!

  36. DD More says:

    Buzz B says: May 22, 2012 at 3:58 am
    hopaulis — Woods Hole is a private, independent non-profit. In other words, this research is not supported by government funding.

    A quick check on your statement leads to
    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=woods%20hole%20research%20center%20government%20grant%20amounts&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CFMQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.whrc.org%2Fsupport%2Fpdf %2F2008_A-133.pdf&ei=SKe7T5PYL4itsAL34dGfDQ&usg=AFQjCNHRcLIYENMxnrdfuszR3bRoD_McDA

    Which has WHOI Accounting for 2007&08. Over half their revenue is from Government.

    If this is so important, why did they only do 2 areas?
    At two different spots in the Canada Basin, an area northwest of the Canadian coast, they gathered samples from 24 depths ranging from the surface to the ocean floor 3800 meters (roughly 12,500 feet) below.

  37. Gail Combs says:

    I had hopes for this study because in 2003 Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution made this statement (among lots of CAGW rhetoric)

    ….This new paradigm of abrupt climate change has been well established over the last decade by research of ocean, earth and atmosphere scientists at many institutions worldwide. But the concept remains little known and scarcely appreciated in the wider community of scientists, economists, policy makers, and world political and business leaders. Thus, world leaders may be planning for climate scenarios of global warming that are opposite to what might actually occur. http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=83339&tid=3622&cid=9986

    That was until this assumption was made.

    “Carbon-13 is primarily a source indicator,” she says. “By measuring levels of carbon-13 at different depths, it’s possible to determine if the carbon there was generated by the marine environment, ocean ice environment, or by terrestrial sources.”

    The subject of C13 was discussed recently at WUWT: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/04/19/what-you-mean-we-arent-controlling-the-climate/

    And then there is the get out of peer-review free statement.

    “We don’t yet have the kind of data to say anything definitive about how the Arctic would be affected by warming climate—but what we do have is a very important baseline of data to help evaluate changes that will happen in the future. Without that, you‘re unfortunately just guessing at how things change over time.”

    With luck the blindfold will not be too tight and some neutral science will get done. However any papers will be written to support CAGW.

  38. Gail Combs says:

    Buzz B says:
    May 22, 2012 at 3:58 am

    …..I just don’t understand the level of disdain for basic scientific research expressed by so many on these boards who are skeptical of AGW theory … it’s like they’re afraid that the results may somehow support the theory.
    _______________________________
    No we are afraid that Lysenkoism. Something completely different from science. CAGW has all the earmarks of Lysenkoism.

  39. Bruce Cobb says:

    In addition to the other excellent responses to Buzz, WHOI has a slew of governmental agency “Partners and Sponsors” featuring the following – all who follow the CAGW line pretty closely:
    NSF DOD NOAA NASA USGS DOE NIH and EPA.
    So, the financial incentive for bias is certainly there. True scientists would simply want to know what carbon is doing in the ocean, regardless of why. But, they seemingly already “know” the why, and that is because they simply assume it’s a response to warming. They are practicing pseudoscience.

  40. DonS says:

    @Geoff Sherrington says:
    May 22, 2012 at 3:50 am
    Please don’t do that again without adequate warning. I believe I’ve pulled a couple of stitches.

  41. Matt says:

    Two semi random and inane comments.

    WHOI is bad grammer, it should be WHOME.

    Isn’t “organic carbon” redundant?

  42. Frank Kotler says:

    Do not confuse the Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institute with the Wood’s Hole Research Center! Completely different outfits. The former is a fairly reputable organization, the latter not so much.

  43. George E. Smith; says:

    So is this oceanic carbon in the form of graphite or diamond, or perhaps Buckyballs? I’m not very familiar with other forms of carbon. Well I use some fly fishing rods made of carbon fibers, but I’m not sure whether that is graphite; even though they do refer to these as graphite rods. But we don’t break a lot of them these days, so you probably won’t find a lot of bits of busted carbon fly rods in the Arctic ocean.
    I happened to watch a rather interesting TV news program last night; actually early this morning, all about climate change and the resulting disaters that happen as a result. It was on the Communist Chinese TV News network, which broadcasts its propaganda 24 hours a day to the rest of the world. One climate change event, they reported on in a story called “Before the Tsunami, Part 1 ” was about a volcanic eruption that occurred about 2002, in The Congo, giving several days or weeks of warning of its imminence. When It finally erupted, it sent a river of lava flowing towards this community of about a half million people, mostly agricultural, as the volcanic soil of the area was very productive. The lava river flowed down for 4 or five days, burning everything in its path including forests andf farms, and houses and cars. Finally with about five minutes of warning, the people took off running away from the arriving firestorm. Luckily only a hundred or so peoploe got incinerated. But everything is back to normal now, with rebuilding on top of the new lava, and the mountain is down to a constant flow of CO2 and sulphur dioxide, which leads to acid rain. As a result, the one mountain puts out twice as much total atmospheric pollution as the entire nation of France. That is sort of fortunate, because a group of apparently French vulcanologists are now monitoring the mountain, and twice a month they climb the mountain to check out the lava lake. Well on the most recent climb, those rocket scientists climbed on the windward side of the mountain so when they got to the top, they were in a constant up to 100 km/hr blast of sulpur dioxide fumes, which they stood around in with no protective garmentry or masks, until they decided they couldn’t see the lake anyhow, so they returned to the safety of the town on the lava flow. With such disastrous climate change events, it is surprising that some folks never learn.
    One other climate disaster area is Bangladesh, which is half at sea level and has the highest population density on earth. Of course that conjugation is purely accidental; but then Bangladesh is one of those Heinz 57 countries where polygamy is a natural part of the social culture. So those horn dogs keep plenty busy, maintaining the population of those countries. About 20 years or so ago, there was a Typhoon, wnet up into Bangladesh, and wiped out over 150,000 people. The devastation was such that it took the UN about ten days to get in there to see if any help was needed. Amazingly, the population of Bangladesh, did not go down. The natural birth rate replaced the people faster than they could recover and count the bodies of those killed by climate change. Well there were some other examples, too many to relate here; but you would be amazed at what things are regarded as human caused climate change; like cutting down every single tree, in a large area of Haiti to make charcoal for people to burn to keep warm. When it rains, then all those nude hillsides flow down as mud rivers, on top of all the people who live below those hills (for a while).

    Amazing what you can learn on CCTV.

  44. fhhaynie says:

    For non-governmental organizations like Woods Hole, that are funded by contract research, this press release is considered “project development”. I haven’t read the paper, but I doubt that wording like “global warming” and other speculations are included. “Climate change” would be more likely. That would cover both warming and cooling.

  45. kuhnkat says:

    WHOI.

  46. Urederra says:

    Matt says:
    May 22, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Isn’t “organic carbon” redundant?

    Calcium carbonate is considered “inorganic”.

  47. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    Geoff Sherrington says:

    As a chemist, before seeing the manuscript, I would hope that the sulphur cycle is studied alongside, just as intensively.
    +++++++++

    Agreed, Geoff. Some associates have been measuring atmospheric H2S from coal combustion in urban areas and there is a lot of new science in Sulphur. It is quite reactive and involved in lots of atmospheric things. There are even lifeforms that live on it. It is in just about everything. Our noses are not very sensitive to much, but extremely sensitive to H2S. Why? What is in it for us?

  48. mitchel44 says:

    Dave Wendt says:
    May 21, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    “Although the timescales available for the maps only go back three years from the time I first encountered the site the northern reaches of Greenland have had a big red splotch indicating exceptional drought at all timescales which suggests well below normal precipitation for well over five years. I haven’t found anything that explains why this is so, but the fact that it appears to be so suggests that once again something that the “consensus” assumes to be “known” is at odds with what the data show”

    It’s the top of a glacier, cold air holds less moisture. It does snow there, but seldom melts and if a view of the Antarctic was shown you would see much the same.

    http://www.summitcamp.org/status/webcam/

  49. clipe says:

    This research was funded by the WHOI Arctic Research Initiative, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Canadian International Polar Year Office, and the U.S. National Science Foundation.

    It’s highly unlikely that the present day government of Canada would fund anything but science.

  50. michael hart says:

    Annie says:
    May 22, 2012 at 2:24 am
    “I seem to recall, from the days of my youth (a long time ago!), that the study of the chemistry of carbon was actually termed “organic chemistry” was it not?”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Yes, Annie. Organic chemistry is one of three or four divisions of Chemistry commonly seen in University Chemistry Departments.

    The origin is usually traced back to the experiments of Wohler in 1828. At that time, Organic Chemistry [i.e. the chemistry of carbon-based living organisms] was often thought as being not the same as that derived from inorganic or mineral matter [probably due to it appearing so much more difficult to do and understand].

    But, despite existing as an scientific academic discipline for nearly 200 years, those of us who have specialised in Organic Chemistry appear not to be taken very seriously in this debate. Some climate-change scientists appear quite convinced that they already know everything that is important about carbon chemistry.

  51. richardscourtney says:

    Crispin in Waterloo:

    At May 22, 2012 at 3:32 pm you ask;

    Geoff Sherrington says:
    “As a chemist, before seeing the manuscript, I would hope that the sulphur cycle is studied alongside, just as intensively.”
    +++++++++

    Agreed, Geoff. Some associates have been measuring atmospheric H2S from coal combustion in urban areas and there is a lot of new science in Sulphur. It is quite reactive and involved in lots of atmospheric things. There are even lifeforms that live on it. It is in just about everything. Our noses are not very sensitive to much, but extremely sensitive to H2S. Why? What is in it for us?

    With respect, you answer your own question when you say “It is in just about everything”.

    Sulphur (S) is essential for living things (e.g. it provides chemical bonds that hold muscle fibers – including your heart – together). And almost all sulphur compounds are very water soluble with the resulting solution including dilute H2S.

    So, rotting things release sulphur and adjacent atmospheric water vapour gains H2S. Thus, bad food smells bad. And eating bad food can kill you, so not eating bad food increases life expectancy.

    Hence, natural selection has provided our noses with sensitivity to water-soluble sulphur compounds

    And almost all bad smells (e.g. skunk emissions) are unpleasant because they provide much sulphur to our noses.

    Richard

  52. Lady Life Grows says:

    The researchers themselves made plenty of sense. Among other things, they comment that for every possible effect they noted, there could be ten they had not imagined (ok 1000 would be more likely, but they get the point).
    A baseline is good.

    But the screamers are going to look at whatever changes in a mere 5 or 10 years and howl that mankind has damaged the environment. There are certain to be changes, magnitude and kind unpredictable. The changes in the deeper levels can only reflect events of centuries ago but the screamers have nothing to do with real reasoning or science. The change is BAD, it is DRASTIC, it is more serious than anything that ever happened before, yada yada. The only protection carbonaceous being like us have against all this is to predict it right now, and point fingers at them when they indeed make fools of themselves in a few years.

  53. George E. Smith; says:

    “””””” Urederra says:

    May 22, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Matt says:
    May 22, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Isn’t “organic carbon” redundant?

    Calcium carbonate is considered “inorganic”. “””””

    The hell you say; so what is the inorganic origin of all the “limestone” rocks and oceanic deposits like the White Cliffs of Dover ??

  54. Brian H says:

    Collecting data is dangerous to an agenda; it may not snuggle into its designated slots properly. I’ll be interested to see how soon and “transparently” the data collected here is archived and opened for examination.

  55. Zeke says:

    “Carbon is the currency of life.”

    Funny the authors should mention “carbon” and “currency,” since banks would love to have a carbon trading market and governments would love to have a method of regulating personal energy use by putting a Smartmeter on homes. And of course there is the carbon tax. Romney is a carbon tax candidate by the way. It’s in his books, in his past policies as governor, and in recent statements. And considering no Republicans voted for the Obamacare bill, how did republicans get a candidate who both penned Romneycare and said it would make a good model for the country? And is running on the platform that it is a good plan for its state, though it is running billions over projected costs?

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