More carbon is sequestered by echinoderms than previously thought.

Much more carbon is sequestered by echinoderms than previously thought.

From Nature News

Published online 7 January 2010 | Nature | doi:10.1038/news.2009.1041

Matt Kaplan

Echinoderms are responsible for storing a significant amount of carbon each year.Lebrato, M. et al.

Animals such as sea stars, sea urchins and sea lilies bury much more carbon than anticipated, according to the first study to estimate echinoderms’ contribution to ocean carbon storage.

Studies of biological carbon in the oceans tend to focus on organisms that drift through the shallows, such as plankton, because they are known to store carbon in the form of calcium carbonate, which they transport to the sea floor when they die.

Mario Lebrato suspected that bottom-dwelling animals such as echinoderms also store large amounts of calcium carbonate, and wondered how large a role they might have in the global carbon cycle.

While still an undergraduate at the University of Southampton, UK, Lebrato, now a PhD student at the Leibniz Institute of Marine Science in Germany, set out to study the rates at which echinoderms absorb calcium carbonate and what happens to the carbon when they die. “The funding for this was initially derived from my pocket because nobody believed in the echinoderm [carbon] contribution,” says Lebrato.

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65 thoughts on “More carbon is sequestered by echinoderms than previously thought.

  1. At the end of the article: “One key issue that the research raises is the potential effect that ocean acidification resulting from increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide might have on echinoderms and their carbon-storage abilities….”

    Here we go again. A good paper ruined by AGW nonsense.

  2. Ries and his comments about acidification is wrong. The oceans are still alkali and additional CO2 in the ocean only makes the oceans less alkali. The oceans are not acidic until the ph level of the oceans cross the line between alkali and acidic. More lies being spread by scaremongering scientists.

  3. I see that the obligitory CO2 buildup statement is included at the end. What concerns me is how does the biosphere get the carbon back. Its no wonder we are running out of CO2

  4. Richard deSousa (13:21:04) : “Ries and his comments about acidification is wrong. The oceans are still alkali and additional CO2 in the ocean only makes the oceans less alkali. The oceans are not acidic until the ph level of the oceans cross the line between alkali and acidic. ”

    This has been discussed here a while ago. What they mean by acidification is not that the oceans are now acid but that they are more acidic then before. If the ph of the ocean was 7.6 and it is now 7.4 it is more acidic but still alkaline.
    Technically correct but purposely misleading to the average joe.

  5. Compared with sea and earth dwelling creatures, humans inhabit a flat, two-dimensional environment. Echinoderms, like many other extra-dimensional to us lifeforms, may not know much about the crumbs that fall from our table but they do know what they like!
    If they, like plants, can profit from our profligacy then I say. Good luck guys and prosper!
    To dismiss them as mere Carbon Sinks is a tad disrespectful to my mind.
    Do we think that throwing bread to birds in winter is just a way of getting rid of stale bread?
    If the WWF really cares about all carbon-based lifeforms, other than ourselves, then where is the TV advert to adopt an Echinoderm?
    For only £3 per month!

  6. “”Echinoderms are found in all ecosystems at all depths worldwide and have bodies that can be composed of more than 80% calcium carbonate … so we were almost expecting a result like this,” says Lebrato.”

    You would think that someone studying something, would start out with at least a clue.

    Another example of scientists without a clue.

    You know, it makes you wonder.
    Here we are running around with combustion engines, our medicine is mostly herbs and spices in pretty packages, the only way we can get off this planet is to ignite a bomb in the back of a tube, and almost the entire planet is crisscrossed with wires and pipes…..

    ….yet we know enough to control the climate.

  7. Here’s a compromise solution (that will be rejected by both sides): Use quotes around the word, to indicate it is being used in a specific or peculiar sense, thus:

    Ocean “acidification”

  8. “… to study the rates at which echinoderms absorb calcium carbonate….” Hmm, hey Nature, isn’t it more like “produce” instead of “absorb?”

    One interesting place is “Sand Beach” which is either part of Acadia Natl Park or at least near it. The sand is not pulverized granite, at least not completely, but ground shells and thin tubes that I didn’t recognize. (My Swiss Army knife, purchased when I worked on dot matrix printers, had a 10X hand lens.) It turns out they were sea urchin spines.

    Without the hand lens, the sand looked and behaved much like normal sand. I filled a film can with it and sent it to my marine biologist sister with no explanation. Her reaction – “Why did Ric send me the Sand Beach sample? I just threw mine out.”

    http://www.nps.gov/acad/naturescience/beaches.htm
    http://beaches.uptake.com/blog/sand-beach-acadia-national-park-maine.html

  9. If the near-surface-seawater becomes more acidic and the water exchange between surface an deep ocean is slow (as assumed by the IPCC), then wouldn’t a higher acidification of the top water layer build up a chemical pressure that would accelerate the water exchange? This would of course topple all of the carbon cycle assumptions.

    If someone wants this idea, examine it in a study and write a paper, run with it.

  10. In yet another inversion of the truth, the scare about ocean acidification is baseless and wrong.
    While adding C02 to the oceans makes for a change to the alkalinity, the C02 does not remain as an acid, but is converted to Calcium Carbonate, an alkaline mineral.
    Scaremongering say the oceans are yet another threat: Life on Earth says bring it on, and thanks for the extra food, buddy. ~ Burp ~

  11. Leon Brozyna (13:28:55) :

    … Science Daily also has a piece on this study that’s a bit more balanced, suggesting that this is a matter in need of additional study.

    They note “Calcifying organisms incorporate carbon directly from the seawater into their skeletons in the form of inorganic minerals such as calcium carbonate.” Much better than the Nature comment.

  12. We’re doomed I tell ya, doomed!

    All this sequestration going on, What’s a carbon based life-form going to do?

    DaveE.

  13. Tilo Reber (13:47:57) :

    What happens when we get a La Nina comparable to 1998’s El Nino?
    In all my perusings on outlier events in Climate Records, whether its precip, temp, tree rings, etc., for every wild event in one direction, there seems to be an eventual counterpart in the opposite direction.
    Do you see what I am talking about, or do you see something else?

  14. Hi All, Quick question: Isn’t a 0.1 measurement of ph a rather large step? In other words an increase or decrease of .1 is hugely significant and under present conditions would take a heck of a long time (?) to reach?

  15. Have a heart. Almost the only way to get a fat research grant nowadays is to tie it up with AGW some way. Me, I think it’s pretty creative to manage to link echinoderms to global warming. And that AGW twist at the end is simply the equivalent of the Lenin quote found in most russian books before 1991.

  16. agenda driven science that would never have been “published” without the last two paragraphs.
    which include the terms: extrapolate, glossed over, might have, concievable, “in fact, maybe”.

  17. “Leon Brozyna (14:53:28) :

    OMG!
    […]”

    Mojib Latif’s work again, and i think that they have a slight misunderstanding,
    from the article:

    Prof Latif “has developed new methods for measuring ocean temperatures 3,000ft beneath the surface, where the cooling and warming cycles start.”

    I don’t think this is correct. AFAIK Latif is a modeler, so he probably has developed a method of MODELING such temperatures. Source data can only come from the Argo fleet, i think.

  18. “Here we go again. A good paper ruined by AGW nonsense.”

    I think it might be difficult the get anything published nowadays unless you pay homage to the powers that be. This type of closing remarks are becoming pretty common. It is a bit scary I think.

  19. This has been discussed here a while ago. What they mean by acidification is not that the oceans are now acid but that they are more acidic then before. If the ph of the ocean was 7.6 and it is now 7.4 it is more acidic but still alkaline.
    Technically correct but purposely misleading to the average joe.

    It’s approaching neutral, so it would be more neutral, not more acidic, wouldn’t it?

  20. When you have volcanoes spewing what amounts to tons of sulfuric acid and blobs of pure liquid CO2 into the ocean every day, I don’t think changing the atmosphere by a few ppm is going to have a lot of impact overall.

    We know less about the surface under the oceans than we know about the surface of the Moon and Mars. We have no idea of the overall scale of undersea volcanism. While the sea must certainly dissolve some atmospheric CO2, I am fairly certain that it also releases CO2 into the atmosphere. We can’t be sure in which direction is the net overall exchange. The oceans might be overall releasing more CO2 to the atmosphere than they are absorbing during periods of increased undersea volcanism.

  21. “crosspatch (15:17:52) :

    When you have volcanoes spewing what amounts to tons of sulfuric acid and blobs of pure liquid CO2 into the ocean every day[…]”

    From the abstract:

    “The site, named Champagne, was found to be discharging two distinct fluids from the same vent field: a 103°C gas-rich hydrothermal fluid and cold (<4°C) droplets composed mainly of liquid CO2"

    How apt!

  22. Oh, and I would suggest downloading the paper I linked to above at 15:17:52 as there are some interesting things there, to include pictures of mussel beds crawling with crabs only tens of meters from a vent of pure liquid CO2. It sort of puts the entire scare of “increased ocean acidity will dissolve all of our shellfish” in an entirely different light.

  23. Leon Brozyna (14:53:28) :

    And likely to be what’s going to happen for the next cycle of ocean phases.
    And no doubt the C02 alarmists will try thier best to link the cooling phase to their models. All they will succeed in doing is earning a pitchfork and torch parade guest-of-honor status.

  24. rbateman (14:07:48) :
    In yet another inversion of the truth, the scare about ocean acidification is baseless and wrong.
    ************************

    baseless ha ha, I saw what you did there.

    I have an idea brewing. Maybe I should’ve posted this on the wacky geoengineering thread.

    First I need to know how much calcium hydroxide you can buy for … errrmmmm …… let’s say a hundred billion dollars ??

  25. philincalifornia (15:50:32) :

    First I need to know how much calcium hydroxide you can buy for … errrmmmm …… let’s say a hundred billion dollars ??
    …Which it is obtained by calcining lime with carbon or oil, decomposing it from CaCO3 to CaO,….that neutralization would be compensated by the CO2 production BEFORE using it.
    Everything about CO2 is simply stupid.

  26. “The funding for this was initially derived from my pocket because nobody believed […]” says Lebrato.

    …and yet plenty of $ for nonsense, whether economic, political, “scientific”, or whatever…

  27. Does anyone know anything about the CCD or carbonate compensation depth. If I understand rightly, CaCO3 dissolves into the seawater in the depths of the ocean.

    I live in the midwest on top of a lot of limestone. It’s hard not to conclude that through deep geologic time an awful lot of CO2 that was once in the atmosphere now is safely sequestered in limestone waiting to be subducted for later release as volcanic CO2 or gradually weathered away. It seems that there is something very strong at work in the carbon cycle tending to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

  28. philincalifornia (15:50:32) :

    Yes, that was intentional. Science would give the current ocean pH, and also let everyone know how far away from neutral that is. It would then go on to show the range of pH from 0 to 14, and the percentage of claimed change to the ocean pH towards neutral. It would never stoop to swapping a change of a base pH of 7.4 to 7.2 (for example) as proof of the oceans becoming acidic.
    That dirty deed is the work of half-truthers and propagandists.
    Good science would also cite many independent measures of ocean pH over time, and especially seek out measurement outside of it’s associated circle.
    It would end with a range of uncertainty.
    The AGW polyscience is in the business of selling policy cherries.
    Sour policy cherries. Requires a ton of sweetener to swallow.
    Blecch.

  29. It seems that there is something very strong at work in the carbon cycle tending to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

    And if left to its own devices, the atmosphere would continue to lose CO2 until the plants died. So along comes man who actually takes some of that sequestered CO2 and puts it back into the atmosphere to enrich it with the gas that gives plant life an extended period of time to exist. Eventually the CO2 will be gone and there will be nothing we can do about it but in the meantime, digging up some of that CO2 and putting it back into the atmosphere isn’t such a bad idea, really.

  30. “philincalifornia (15:50:32) :
    I have an idea brewing. Maybe I should’ve posted this on the wacky geoengineering thread.
    First I need to know how much calcium hydroxide you can buy for … errrmmmm” ……

    No phil, you are not going to get up a kalk drip!

  31. crosspatch (15:17:52) says:

    When you have volcanoes spewing what amounts to tons of sulfuric acid and blobs of pure liquid CO2 into the ocean every day, I don’t think changing the atmosphere by a few ppm is going to have a lot of impact overall.

    They claim it produces only about 0.1% of MOR Carbon fluxes … although they do conclude, if I have read it correctly, that the CO2 comes predominantly from magma degassing.

    That suggests that it doesn’t contribute much.

  32. crosspatch (16:21:59) :

    If Vulcanism ceases on Earth, eventually all the carbon will be frozen out, and life with it. My understanding of planetary science is that it’s Earth’s level of vulcanism that has kept the carbon-cycle going (and it’s atmospheric component). On Mars, it ceased, and any life on that planet perished along with the liquid water and atmosphere. Venus, being too close to the Sun, has too high a level of vulcanism, and so is polluted out.
    This is a warning not to interfere with Earth’s climate through carbon-sequestration. It is both deadly and unnecessary.
    The biosphere is fully capable of handing many times the amount of C02 than is now present. It has done so repeatedly in the past.
    A dearth of C02 would be more like a mass-extinction event. Only small footprint creatures and plants would be able to survive it.

  33. “They claim it produces only about 0.1% of MOR Carbon fluxes”

    And I claim that they have no idea. We have no idea how many undersea volcanoes there are, how often they erupt or even how many are erupting right now. We just happen across them once in a while.

    Since we know that 2/3 of the surface is under water, it would seem reasonable to take all known measurements of all known surface volcanoes and multiply by 3 to get some general ballpark. But what if there is MUCH more volcanic activity under water such as at spreading centers? You could have what amounts to thousands of miles of nearly constant activity. We just don’t know.

    Here is the thing … an eruption on land of a force that would cause a plume of ash thousands of feet into the air can happen under water and go completely unnoticed because of the pressures involved. You get some sooty water, blobs of CO2 gas, and sulfuric acid. Nobody has any clue as to how much CO2 is being vented into the sea. And there are possibly huge beds of CO2 hydrates just like there are methane hydrates. An earthquake could be enough to destabilize them as would a slight increase in geothermal temperature. Basically these are beds of CO2 frozen in a slush of frozen fresh water.

    We measure the amount of CO2 emitted on Hawaii but what about Loihi? Loihi is the next Hawaiian island that is being built South of Hawaii and is still some 1000 meters below the surface of the sea.

  34. Smokey (13:30:17) :

    Ocean pH has varied widely in the past: click

    The CO2 levels in this graph show the levels to be roughly flat with the pH varying considerably. How de do dat if CO2 is the devil?

    Ray Donahe (14:41:31) :

    Hi All, Quick question: Isn’t a 0.1 measurement of ph a rather large step? In other words an increase or decrease of .1 is hugely significant and under present conditions would take a heck of a long time (?) to reach?

    Ray, I will bet no on has taken the time to calculate the amount of CO2 needed to change the volume of the ocean by a pH of 0.1 units.

  35. Oceans are alkaline, freshwater (rivers lakes) are acidic (or less alkaline).
    If less alkaline is BAD for shelled critters, how come lots of shelled critters live in freshwater?

  36. Jeff Alberts (15:09:28) :

    (This has been discussed here a while ago. What they mean by acidification is not that the oceans are now acid but that they are more acidic then before. If the ph of the ocean was 7.6 and it is now 7.4 it is more acidic but still alkaline.
    Technically correct but purposely misleading to the average joe.)

    “It’s approaching neutral, so it would be more neutral, not more acidic, wouldn’t it?”

    Changes in ph can be considered going from more to less or less to more depending your reference point and how you want to say it. You can say ph 7.2 is more acidic than 8.0 You could also say 7.2 is less alkaline than 8.0 Just because something is more or less than a chosen reference point doesn’t necessarily tell us if it is an acid or not. It all depends on which side of the fence you want to be on and which idea you are trying to push.

  37. I have so much respect for science, I really do. I can only say that the hubris of science in recent years is so very. . . .unscientific. Science used to have a tremendous respect for the idea of how large was the volume of “we don’t know what we don’t know yet”. Somewhere in the last 30 years many scientists have lost that respect. They look back at the last 100 years and are so impressed by the gains we’ve made that they no longer have a proper appreciation for how little that is in the universe of what is yet to be discovered.

  38. It would appear that palaeoceanographer Justin Ries of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill does not know anything about the physiology of living things. Support structures are dependent on stress not enviromental chemistry. All life will compensate for minor or slow changes in nutricianal chemistry.

  39. crosspatch – 16.51.29: {So along comes man who actually takes some of that sequestered CO2 and puts it back into the atmosphere to enrich it with the gas that gives plant life an extended period of time to exist}

    Here’s my loopy way of seeing some of this stuff:
    Man is within nature, as nothing can be outside of nature, therefore man is natural. Therefore what man does is natural. CO2 could very well disappear as may have happened on Mars. Therefore it is within nature for man to replenish this valuable gas to keep life living. The “trick” is to not allow the atmosphere to get to be “obese” on this CO2!

    :)

  40. I have to guess that “modern” “scientists” must not have played any poker or bridge in their “growing years”. Don’t seem to know about the law of random distributions, or the law of probability. So here is a bit of a clue: It is quite rare to be dealt a royal flush, but it does happen. Variance within a degree Celsius means nothing, but when weather events combine to cause large losses of crops which can’t be harvested (Fall of 2009, US) or huge amounts of snow in winter (which has to melt in spring, adding to spring rain runoff) make for a very late date to plant crops, this winter so far, and the first month of winter still has almost 2 weeks left) widespread famine is always the result.

    I’m “jest a country boy”, ejumikated in one of those there little one-room school houses in rural Iowa, by one of them there schoolmarms, so I am gonna grow lots of vegetables. I do like to have enough food to eat at a price I can afford. Good thing I live in Phoenix, lovely weather we are having here.

    “Scientists” arguing madly over less than 1 degree Celsius, while Hell is freezing over.

  41. The subject of AGW gives me heartburn, so we could use some more calcium carbonate from those echinoderms anyway for the antacids we all take.

  42. I notice that the weather forecasting folk said when temps in Sioux City were going from about 5 degrees F to -27 degrees F, “tomorrow will be much COOLer” Indeed! And after some 2 weeks of brutally cold temperatures, it is still being called a cold “snap”.

    In my book, when the temperature is near the freezing point of water, it is darn well COLD out. When the temp hovers around 0 degrees F for days, it is brutally COLD, and when temps hit -25 degrees F, it is “Arctic”, and well beyond brutally COLD.

    Some people prate propaganda long enough, they start believing their own propaganda, and don’t realize that others, more knowledgeable, see them as the fools they are.

  43. ” londo (15:04:35) :

    “Here we go again. A good paper ruined by AGW nonsense.”

    I think it might be difficult the get anything published nowadays unless you pay homage to the powers that be. This type of closing remarks are becoming pretty common. It is a bit scary I think.”

    It is very scary because it is the same type of “science” as was seen in the USSR. It is also proof of how badly science the world over has been compromised by a political agenda. One wonders how much other “science” has been compromised.

    Someone suggested looking at how many papers were rendered useless because they depend on “homogenized” temperature data and references to the Climategate con-artists. The addition of the AGW blurb to papers should also be tallied.

  44. LarryOldtimer (00:16:35) :

    … Variance within a degree Celsius means nothing, but when weather events combine to cause large losses of crops which can’t be harvested (Fall of 2009, US) or huge amounts of snow in winter (which has to melt in spring, adding to spring rain runoff) make for a very late date to plant crops, this winter so far, and the first month of winter still has almost 2 weeks left) widespread famine is always the result…. so I am gonna grow lots of vegetables. I do like to have enough food to eat at a price I can afford.”

    That is what I am suggesting too. I live in sunny North Carolina and just woke up to 10F Brrr…

    You forgot to mention the USDA, FDA and the US Congress attempts to outlaw farming in the USA with their idiotic “Food Safety” bills. Surprise, Surprise, the last one was sponsored by Congressman “Cap and Trade” Waxman.

    The Festering Fraud Behind Food Safety Reform: http://www.foodsafetynews.com/contributors/nicole-johnson/

    “Scientists” arguing madly over less than 1 degree Celsius, while Hell is freezing over.” You forgot the “gun-toting types” tar, feathering and running the politicians out of town next fall, metaphorically speaking of course. I have already checked who has voted for the “Cap and Trade” and “Food Safety” bills and am campaigning against those incumbents.

  45. I was watching one of those BBC nature shows recently (the recent one with that Ian Stewart guy as presenter) and he was talking about the carbon cycle.

    So as I see it, it works like this;

    CO2 absorbed by sea water.
    Plankton feeds on the absorbed CO2
    Plankton dies and falls to the sea floor
    Plankton turns to rock
    Rock is subducted as tectonic plates move
    CO2 is returned to the atmosphere by vulcanoes.

    Right…so my question is this.

    If Plankton feeds on CO2, wouldnt an increase in CO2 be beneficial to all sea life since more CO2 means more plankton which means more food for them endangered Whales etc?

    Unless of course Whales start dieing because of over eating? :)

    Regards

    Mailman

  46. This article is from Nature – a biased, crackpot, unscientific journal. Take anything they publish with a grain of salt.

  47. The soil heterotrophs and fungi play the same role on land.

    No one has yet looked at carbon isotopes in soil.

  48. Mailman (07:16:22) :

    Unless of course Whales start dieing because of over eating? :)

    All that fat can’t be good for their hearts.  :-)

     

    Mike Ramsey

  49. Ocean acidification is sort of the last stand for AGW promoters.
    They have failed at warming, having to rebrand as ‘cliamte change’.
    Storm predictions have failed embarassingly.
    Arctic ice is not cooperating, and the fal back on that, ‘ice quality’ is just not holding up well.
    Acidification is tough to disprove, complex, and easily mis-stated by warmers to keep people confused a long time.
    They know if they lose on OA, there is nothing else to hold back the skeptics.

  50. Untold billions of tons of calcareous marls are being precipitated on the ocean floor. As soon as someone develops a fudge factor, existing data can be coaxed to relate this tonnage to the MPG attained from new car models.

  51. crosspatch (17:41:42) :

    “They claim it produces only about 0.1% of MOR Carbon fluxes”

    And I claim that they have no idea. We have no idea how many undersea volcanoes there are, how often they erupt or even how many are erupting right now. We just happen across them once in a while.

    Since we know that 2/3 of the surface is under water, it would seem reasonable to take all known measurements of all known surface volcanoes and multiply by 3 to get some general ballpark. But what if there is MUCH more volcanic activity under water such as at spreading centers? You could have what amounts to thousands of miles of nearly constant activity. We just don’t know.

    I’ve read that the US Navy has minutely surveyed all the floors of the oceans to assist the navigation of its submarines. I bet they have a clue about the major volcanoes, although not about the numerous small fumaroles that may emit much more stuff. Possibly the Navy might part with its volcano data?

  52. Mailman – Too focused on plankton. There are a lot of unknowns in the deep sea carbon budget. Snot houses also have had recent surprises. Also, CO2 is not only returned by erupting volcanoes, there are slower magma-fed hot areas which are probably leaking carbon through more subtle methods. Look at the chemistry in the rocks around a hot vent.

  53. Average annual pH reconstructions and measurements from various Pacific Ocean locations:

    60 million to 40 million years ago: 7.42 to 8.04 (Pearson et al., 2000)
    23 million to 85,000 years ago: 8.04 to 8.31 (Pearson et al., 2000)
    6,000 years ago to present: 7.91 to 8.28 (Liu et al., 2009)
    1708 AD to 1988 AD: 7.91 to 8.17 (Pelejero et al., 2005)
    2000 AD to 2007 AD: 8.10 to 8.40 (Wootton et al., 2008)

    The low pH levels from 60 mya to 40 mya include the infamous Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM); a period in which large scale subaerial and submarine flood basalt eruptions probably dislodged a massive volume of methane hydrates into the Atlantic Ocean, causing a shoaling of the lysocline (AKA ocean acidification). Even then, the oceans did not actually “acidify;” the lowest pH was 7.42 (still basic). PETM CO2 levels have been estimated to have been 1000 to 3000 ppmv from pedogenic carbonates… But fossil plant stomata suggest that CO2 levels in North America were not much different than today (300 to 400 ppmv).

    The flood basalts associated with the PETM were more or less the culmination of a long period of flood basalt eruptions that had started in the late Cretaceous. These eruptions probably killed off most, if not all, of the dinosaurs a few million years before the Chicxulub impact event. Even after more than 10 million years of nearly continuous, massive flood basalt eruptions… The oceans did not become acidic.

    If oceans managed to remain alkaline through the PETM, mankind’s piddling 3% addition to the Earth’s carbon budget is not going to acidify anything.

    The pH of the oceans has fluctuated in the same range since at least the Miocene… 7.8 to 8.5. It has been asserted that the average pH of the oceans has declined from about 8.2 to about 8.1 since the mid-1700’s.

    What’s the mid-point of 7.8 to 8.5? It’s 8.15.

    What’s the mid-point of 8.1 to 8.2? It’s 8.15.

    Oceanic pH fluctuates over a ~50 year cycle that correlates very well with the PDO (Pelejero et al., 2005). I’ll bet a good bottle of Far Niente Cab that 20 years from now, the Chicken Littles will be squawking about global cooling and ocean alkalinization… Right up until the PDO switches back to positive mode around 2033.

  54. I said before, as I watched the US hearings a few months ago concerning Climategate, that “acidification” is the new big thing for the anti-industry movement.

    It’s been filtering into the literature for a few years, and has been ratcheted up now that AGW is approaching collapse. It’s really elegant in it’s derivation, too. As the ocean cools it’s ability to store CO2 increases… more dissolved CO2 equals higher pH.

    If they can transition the fear to ocean acidification from AGW then the attack on cheap energy will continue at a steady clip.

  55. While I read WUWT daily and commend Mr. Watts for an excellent site. The site moves quickly on. So here I’m commenting on a post that may only be read by the moderator – I hope you like it Mr. Moderator.

    The subject of Ocean acidification is another “here we go again”. The pH of the Oceans is dropping – who says so? Let me see the data. How do measure the pH Ocean-wide? There is something greater than 600 X 10 to the 12th cubic meters of ocean.

    I have read and believe that the oceans have a nearly infinite capacity to buffer acid and the pH can only be changed locally and temporarily. I found the following explaination (without source):

    Alkalinity, total hardness, carbonate hardness, pH, carbon dioxide, the carbonate-bicarbonate system, and calcium carbonate are all terms used to describe some component or process that is part of the buffering system present in seawater. – Seawater contains many mineral salts. These salts are present as ions of the elements that compose the salt, such as positive ions (cations) of sodium and negative ions (anions) of chlorine that form the salt, sodium chloride.

    Seawater also contains carbon dioxide gas. When dissoved in water, carbon dioxide reacts with the hydrogen of water to form a weak acid, carbonic acid (H2CO3). if excess carbon dixoide is in the water, carbonic acid levels increase beyond the point where it can be quickly utilized in the carbonate-bicarbonate system, and pH levels drop. if too much carbon dioxide is taken from the water, carbonic acid decreases and pH levels quickly rise. Addition or deletion of carbon dioxide beyond atmospheric equilibrium temporarily changes pH but does not change the alkalinity (carbonate composition) of the water. Carbonic acid forms negatively charged carbonate (CO3 to 2nd -) and bicarbonate (HCO3-) ions.

    Carbonate in turn joins with calcium to form calcium carbonate (CaCO3). The chemical reactions that form bicarbonate, carbonate, and calcium carbonate are equilibrium reactions; that is they can go back and forth depending on conditions such as increase or decrease of carbon dioxide, pressure, and temperature.

    Under normal physical and biological conditions, the carbonate-bicarbonate ions act as a bank that automatically takes up excess carbonic or other acids, or forms more carbonic acid if carbon dioxide is lost. This is the buffer system that maintains the normal pH of seawater at about 8.2. Bicarbonate is most important in the normal pH range of seawater. Calcium is an important element present in seawater and is part of this system. Calcium is improtant for building strong coral skeletons, mollusk shells, and algal support, and has numerous other biological uses as well. –

    As calcium carbonate is removed from seawater by chemical and biological processes (mostely utilized in the shells of tiny planktonic animals), more bicarbonate forms from carbonate, more carbon dioxide is assimilated into the buffer system, and pH remains constant. In the sea, carbon dioxide flows into the system in areas of high biological activity and water run off from land, accumulates in the depths, and is released back into the atmosphere in areas where deep sea waters well upward to the surface. The carbonate-bicarbonate buffer system equilibrates back and forth and pH stays relatively constant.

    Someone with credibility needs to step up and stop this insanity of Ocean acidification before it becomes the next global warming.

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