Aquatic 'dead zones' contributing to climate change

This alarming missive just in from the: University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

As oxygen-deprived waters increase, they emit more greenhouse gasses into atmosphere

http://blog.nola.com/graphics/deadzone_how061007.gif

Above graphic from NOLA.COM click for details.

Cambridge, Md. (March 11, 2010) – The increased frequency and intensity of oxygen-deprived “dead zones” along the world’s coasts can negatively impact environmental conditions in far more than just local waters. In the March 12 edition of the journal Science, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science oceanographer Dr. Lou Codispoti explains that the increased amount of nitrous oxide (N2O) produced in low-oxygen (hypoxic) waters can elevate concentrations in the atmosphere, further exacerbating the impacts of global warming and contributing to ozone “holes” that cause an increase in our exposure to harmful UV radiation.

“As the volume of hypoxic waters move towards the sea surface and expands along our coasts, their ability to produce the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide increases,” explains Dr. Codispoti of the UMCES Horn Point Laboratory. “With low-oxygen waters currently producing about half of the ocean’s net nitrous oxide, we could see an additional significant atmospheric increase if these ‘dead zones’ continue to expand.”

Although present in minute concentrations in Earth’s atmosphere, nitrous oxide is a highly potent greenhouse gas and is becoming a key factor in stratospheric ozone destruction. For the past 400,000 years, changes in atmospheric N2O appear to have roughly paralleled changes in carbon dioxide CO2 and have had modest impacts on climate, but this may change. Just as human activities may be causing an unprecedented rise in the terrestrial N2O sources, marine N2O production may also rise substantially as a result of nutrient pollution, warming waters and ocean acidification. Because the marine environment is a net producer of N2O, much of this production will be lost to the atmosphere, thus further intensifying its climatic impact.

Increased N2O production occurs as dissolved oxygen levels decline. Under well-oxygenated conditions, microbes produce N2O at low rates. But at oxygen concentrations decrease to hypoxic levels, these waters can increase their production of N2O.

N2O production rates are particularly high in shallow suboxic and hypoxic waters because respiration and biological turnover rates are higher near the sunlit waters where phytoplankton produce the fuel for respiration.

When suboxic waters (oxygen essentially absent) occur at depths of less than 300 feet, the combination of high respiration rates, and the peculiarities of a process called denitrification can cause N2O production rates to be 10,000 times higher than the average for the open ocean. The future of marine N2O production depends critically on what will happen to the roughly ten percent of the ocean volume that is hypoxic and suboxic.

“Nitrous oxide data from many coastal zones that contain low oxygen waters are sparse, including Chesapeake Bay,” said Dr. Codispoti. “We should intensify our observations of the relationship between low oxygen concentrations and nitrous oxide in coastal waters.”

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The article “Interesting Times for Nitrous Oxide” appears in the March 12, 2010 edition of the journal Science.

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175 thoughts on “Aquatic 'dead zones' contributing to climate change

  1. There is seasonal anoxia/dysoxia in arctic areas such as the Barents Sea. In oceans that warm up, these oxygen-deficient waters may become less pronounced and may balance out the effects of increasing coastal “dead zones” in warmer areas.

  2. “…changes in carbon dioxide CO2 and have had modest impacts on climate, but this may change…”
    Grant Forcing?

  3. This is obviously a huge problem and he needs a big grant to study it further. After all, we massive amounts of dead fish along the coast all the time.

  4. On the plus side, with the sun quieting down and cooling coming, even the tiny warming effects from CO2 and N2O will be welcome, and luckily, they are not quite so impotent in the cooling direction as in the warming direction. As the planet cools the atmosphere holds less moisture, making CO2 less redundant with water vapor, boosting its heat trapping effect. Does N20 absorption also ovelap with water vapor? I’m guessing so. Most greenhouse gases do.

  5. Be afraid.
    Be very afraid.
    The Dead Zone will find you.
    I do not know why this is.
    But my mind drifts back to an old Bill Cosby bit:
    THE BLOB.
    Bill is listening to the radio. He hears a report that there is a blob which is eating up everything it contacts. The blob beats with a heartbeat sound. He has a panic. He builds a barricade to protect himself. Finally he convinces himself that the BLOB is right outside his front door. He lights the couch on fire to protect himself.
    I think the Dead Zone is in my closet.
    I feel it creeping up on me. . . . .

  6. Man cannot “control” Mississippi River flooding without destroying tidal zones (marshes, swamps, etc.) and the Mississippi Delta itself. Look at Delta shrinkage over the past 50 years. Evac NOLA and blow the levies if you want to “save” the Gulf.
    Unfortunately, same applies to the Everglades and Atlantic Coastal area along the Intercoastal Waterway. (Nothing is life is free and somethings cost more than you ever imagined.)

  7. Where is any evidence that this natural process is “increasing”, compared to what has been going on near every river mouth for millions and billions of years?
    Ancient Earth’s seas and skies were much warmer, there were as many rivers as today (or even more). How come this process never resulted in disaster?
    They are losing the battle on CO2 grounds, and are desperate to find some other “greenhouse” gas to keep scaremongering and getting grants. Pathetic.

  8. Six ‘mays’ and seven ‘cans’ in this article. As a measure of scientific value such a measure scores a fail in my new assessment system.
    Doug

  9. “When suboxic waters (oxygen essentially absent) occur at depths of less than 300 feet, the combination of high respiration rates, and the peculiarities of a process called denitrification can cause N2O production rates to be 10,000 times higher than the average for the open ocean.”
    But it’s not the open ocean. Making a comparison to the open ocean just inflates their numbers for hysterical effect.
    The problem is silt and fertilizer run-off. Things that are being ignored with all this global warming crap.
    I’m so tired and over all this hyped up science.

  10. These science pieces, with their “reaching” link to “may affect climate change” are continuing to float to the top like the dead fish highlighted in the press release.

  11. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.
    Nitrous = go real fast.
    Collect all the Nitrous you can there is money to be made here.

  12. Small correction: Cosby’s routine was “The Chicken Heart” from his Wonderfulness album. But you have the rest down pat. Cheers –

  13. But, wait, another article blamed these dead zones on global warming (aka “global climate change”).
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/mcclatchy/3444187
    So, these dead zones are caused by global warming and also contribute to global warming? It’s a vicious cycle, It’s worse than we thought. We’re all gonna die.

  14. If the seas will die and the air will set on fire by global warming, why not all of you drink “Armageddon´s specially formulated Kool-Aid” to end all these end of the world stories, once and for all…btw you won´t need any healthcare reform.
    Good idea, don´t you think so?

  15. Last but not least: Nitrous oxide is the “laughing gas”…so fishes die from laughing at armageddon scientists…

  16. Forget CO2, it’s really N2O that we should have worried about and “It’s worse than we thought’. Quote”We should intensify our observations of the relationship between low oxygen concentrations and nitrous oxide in coastal waters.” Unquote.
    Only the application of more grant money can save us from the oncoming disaster – those who took marine science want a piece of the action that climate scientists have been getting.
    Have these guys not heard of the”Boy who cried Wolf ?” . The climate scientists have throughly poisoned the well for doomsayers.Heck, just read their own words ? ” Winter brings respite but spring runoffs start the problem anew”.
    It’s cyclic, not a problem that started last week.

  17. Whenever I see the word “alarming” in some piece of post modern science ‘snip’, I know that I can safely ignore the entire thing.

  18. Luckily our oceans insist in providing wind, waves, currents, tidal flows, convective flows, close contact with atmospheric oxygen, and mass volumetric mixing.
    Just shows how silly some people have become

  19. Wow. So Dr. Lou Codispoti is concerned about nitrous oxide from dead zones ‘exacerbating the impacts of global warming and contributing to ozone “holes”’ And “an additional significant atmospheric increase if these ‘dead zones’ continue to expand.”
    But wait – theres more! “Because the marine environment is a net producer of N2O, much of this production will be lost to the atmosphere, thus further intensifying its climatic impact.” Omigod – we had better do more research to assess this threat.
    And yes – there it is: “Nitrous oxide data from many coastal zones that contain low oxygen waters are sparse, including Chesapeake Bay,” said Dr. Codispoti. “We should intensify our observations of the relationship between low oxygen concentrations and nitrous oxide in coastal waters.”
    Well, he has life’s little expenses, like all of us. He reminds me of a certain Natalia Shakhova, of the University of Alaska:
    http://www.herkinderkin.com/2010/03/methane-alarm-please-fund-my-research-2/
    Tell me, isn’t nitrous oxide also known as “laughing gas”? Heh heh heh…

  20. Note: Not everything is a joke, nor to be made light of without consequence. Think before you laugh too hard, you may just choke to death. AGW sounds like a hoax, smells like a hoax, looks like a hoax, and feels like a hoax. Dead fish and dead seas are not a hoax, don’t smell like a hoax, don’t look like a hoax, and don’t feel like a hoax.

  21. Seemingly balanced article on nitrogen in agriculture by (is it “a” or “an”?) MIT graduate student, published February 23 2010 (found by Google News). There are even brief disparaging comments against biofuels, oh my. Informative, good read. Perhaps commenters more knowledgeable than I on the subject will find something wrong.
    —————
    Mike Abbott (12:26:36) :
    This research says dead zones contribute to climate change. Previous research says climate change contributes to dead zones. (See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100311141213.htm.) Can they have it both ways?

    They have to find those positive feedback loops that lead to catastrophic runaway effects to keep the CAGW hysteria strong. And look, there is another one! We Will All Surely DIE!

  22. For the past 400,000 years, changes in atmospheric N2O appear to have roughly paralleled changes in carbon dioxide CO2 and have had modest impacts on climate, but this may change.
    So it’s been 15 times higher in the past and “had modest impacts”.

  23. Does this mean I won’t have to buy balloons in the parking lot at Grateful Dead shows anymore?
    I’ve been wondering about these “dead zones”. Are they “dead” as in devoid of all life, or merely devoid of species of interest to humans? This article seems to say that this terrifying production of “facecious air” happens by biological activity in the “dead” zones, so I guess it’s the latter. Very reassuring! Thanks, Anthony!
    Best,
    Frank

  24. Science is dead. Why should I believe any of this doomsday propaganda? I think I’ll just go to a movie…and see…more propaganda.

  25. Fortunately, the original thought to be green business of corn ethanol (by this I mean a thinly veiled farm subsidy wealth re-distribution scheme) has drastically increased this dead zone effect in the Gulf of Mexico just as the article states. So much for the well intentioned efforts of the green movement here in Minnesota (pioneering state in the ethanol scam) to save the planet.
    Once a significant portion of the originally local farmer owned ethanol plants were bought up by corporate entities the green tide turned against it to some degree and it is stalled out at this time. Silly as this sounds, this kind of scare article, which the greenies will glom onto with both hands as the next great scare, may help stop the waste of time and money that most bio-fuels are and actually have a positive effect on the environment! I’m betting by that time the greenies will not recall that they began the ethanol movement in the first place.

  26. Like some people who take a circular round of psychotropic drugs because their meds wear off after a couple of months, I’m betting they’ll need just one more gremlin then they can make a continuous cycle, too, consisting of CO2, Methane, NO2 and…, and… ok, Octane. Hey, don’t gasoline fumes cause global warming, either directly or indirectly. Then they’ll have the dirty four of global warming greenhouse gases. And as a jingle, it even rhymes!

  27. Before anyone explodes in sarcasm –
    Not everything is climate change. There are real problems requiring real asnwers and some real thought and discussion. Forget the extension and appeal to the ever popular AGW-Mob, maybe he believes it, maybe he believes the problem is big enough that he had to swallow his pride, couch the piece in “Global Change” crap just to get published.
    Appeal – look at the real problem and don’t make so many jokes.

  28. “The problem is silt and fertilizer run-off. Things that are being ignored with all this global warming crap”
    That is why organic farming is best… it puts the nutrients back into the earth… including microorganisms and just doesn’t drop NPK (petrol based) on the earth for shallow runoff. Even cow dung worked back into the soil is a good thing… imagine that.
    GMO and excessive ferts on our lands DO NOT and WILL NOT do this wondrous ‘feed the earth’ campaign. In fact, that crap has very little nutrition. You have to eat MORE of a product to get what was once in every piece.
    If you ever have the chance to compare fruit/veg from a true organic farm vs an NPK farm only (with crappy soil) you will notice the difference.

  29. It isn’t that hard to take steps to reduce nutrient releases to waterways. I think we can all agree that reducing “dead zones” and fishkills is a good thing.

  30. A perfectly reasonable argument can be made to try to minimize runoff that creates algal blooms that can then seriously affect ocean aquatic life… right until they use that to say it’s affecting climate change. It’s so sad, they literally miss the point just to say, “oh god, this helps put us over into tipping point, so it must be stopped because of that this imagined fear of total destruction of the biosphere.” They’d get more done if they simply demonstrated what dead areas are like to farmers and jointly looked for a solution.

  31. jorgekafkazar (13:02:42) :
    Science is dead

    Just imagined ♪THRILLER♪ with all those SCIENTISTS-ZOMBIES, James “death-trains” Hansen, Al “Baby” Gordo Gore, etc.etc. dancing over the graves…

  32. They sure are gullible. The risk and drama must be high because the cry for funding is so strong. These guys are kinda stupid. We have cyclones, hurricanes and even tsunamis that stir the water. I am so thankfull that this web site shows some of the drama for what it is. We can see dead spots, some fish kill, decay and the cycle starts over. Aglae grows and creates O2 bubbles and absorbs CO2.

  33. The unknown sink that’s absorbing 20 to 30% of emitted CO2 picked up steam in the late 1930’s. Possibly not coincidentally, that’s when synthetic nitrogen containing fertilizers like ammonia and urea started to become widely available. If there is a link, then one could argue that we’re already geoengineering to mitigate CO2 emissions.

  34. “Even cow dung worked back into the soil is a good thing… ”
    Sorry, but that is incorrect. Animal dung spread on a field is the cause of more eutrophication than the correct usage and application of “chemical” fertilizers. It is a pracitce which is actively discouraged here in the UK.

  35. I can make the case that most of Al Gore’s brain is aquatic and no arguments from me against ‘aquatic dead zones’ in that regard . Is this dead zone trending to ‘normal’ or away from ‘normal’? Which brings up Al again. Is AL normal?

  36. ““The problem is silt and fertilizer run-off. Things that are being ignored with all this global warming crap”
    That is why organic farming is best…”
    Actually it isn’t. The productivity of organic farming is so poor that the need for extra farming land to compensate it nullifies any possible benefits in lower fertilizer run-off – that is, run-off per km^2 may be less, but you need much more km^2s to get the same amount of food.

  37. It’s almost amusing that worrying about CO2 is diverting attention from seas that are little more tha toxic cess pools
    “Tests have shown that some species of Baltic fish have too high levels of dioxin and the EU has called for a ban on sales of fish exceeding permitted levels from July 1.
    Dioxins – cancer-causing toxic chemical compounds caused by burning plastic, fuel and rubbish – are hard to break down once they get into the food chain. They are also found in dairy products, meat and eggs.”
    Don’t think that Baltic fish can’t be sold for human consumption
    “As a result, Sweden and neighbouring Finland have been granted an exemption from the EU directive and can continue to sell the fish on their national markets until the end of 2006.
    A condition of this is that the health authorities of both countries must tell people how much Baltic Sea fish can be consumed without harmful effects.”
    Yummy yummy.
    I seem to recall hearing that there isn’t a safe level of dioxin. There are much more toxic substances in the environment to worry about.

  38. It seems odd that the article didn’t mention algae blooms or red tides (which have been around for a long time). Though the graphic did.

  39. Dead zones increased in part by fertilizer runoff from marginal lands put into production to produce ethanol for bio-fuels.
    Thus the AGW hypothesis has increased the dead zones. Talk about your positive feedback!

  40. S1P (13:10:35) :
    (…)
    If you ever have the chance to compare fruit/veg from a true organic farm vs an NPK farm only (with crappy soil) you will notice the difference.

    Sure I do. When I buy organic, I can feel my wallet hurting more.
    There is an issue with nutrition loss over time. Stuff that is fresh-picked and bought same day at a farmer’s stand down the road, or at a local farmer’s market, can taste better and have more nutrition than what is at the supermarket that was shipped in from Central and South America, whether it is “true” organic or conventionally grown. The tests are in, as found at a supermarket it makes no difference nutrition-wise if you’re buying organic or non-organic fresh produce.
    These “true” organic farms, whatever you are using for a definition, can be small operations that sell locally, versus “normal” farms that often sell to supermarkets and bulk processors. When you head on down to your local farmer’s co-op and buy “true” organic, the differences could be strictly time based. So you better have some reputable studies demonstrating how “true” organic is better that account for time-from-picking in the testing.
    And did you really just make a blanket declaration that genetically modified crops have little nutrition? You better have a lot of reputable research to back that one up. Also, some are modified to grow under harsh conditions where other crops fail. Isn’t some food better than none at all?

  41. I wish some people here would not make sarcastic comments about EVERY thread … this issue of urban and agricultural run off has been a major issue for years. It may have a spurious or real link to some sort of global warming process. I personally am not an enthusiastic supporter of AGW but I have no doubt that man impacts the environment he lives in. I was one of the first engineering graduates from the University of British Columbia Water and Pollution option of Civil Engineering almost 40 years ago. Ocean dead zones were already an issue way back then. I spent a career “mitigating” damages in the development of projects. I try to stay somewhat informed on environmental issues and when I see readers of this blog making denigrating comments about what is probably reasonably good science and an issue of significant concern, I become a bit saddened on behalf of what should be reasoned discussion. I am seeing more and more of the kind of comments on this site that I would expect to see over at RealClimate.
    Everyone should be concerned about our oceans, rivers, lakes, and land. We should be concerned about overfishing, appropriate resource development, health care, chemical and industrial pollution, management of our own wastes and so on. I spent a career doing that. It is sad to see so many resources wasted on bitching about a bit of global warming that for me, increases my hay crop and provides more feed and carbon sequestering potential.
    I like this blog and read it daily when I can, but it would be nice to see a few more positive ideas on how we might provide redirection and solutions instead of sarcasm and denigration.
    The sun is shining outside, the snow will be gone in a few weeks, life is good.
    From the Great White North, Faraway, Alberta, Canada … and yes it is a real place though you won’t find it on most maps.

  42. Dead fish and dead seas are not a hoax, don’t smell like a hoax, don’t look like a hoax, and don’t feel like a hoax.
    But the subject of attributing everything going wrong in the world to AGW is a hoax.
    This killing of ocean areas in the article might be a major issue. But it will be the fact that we are warming our rivers too much with industrial usages and poisoning them with agricultural and industrial run-off.
    The extra CO2 in the air is a blind to raise attention. Pollution is the first enemy.
    For example using nuclear power is often considered “carbon neutral”, but it warms the nearby river more than a coal station. It would be worse from the viewpoint of killing rivers, not better.

  43. US carbon traders fear pink slips
    (THE GOOD NEWS)
    At least one bank with carbon trade assets has already been hit. EcoSecurities, a clean energy project developer and carbon trader, bought by JP Morgan Chase last year has closed its New York-based US office leading to a loss of up to 20 jobs.
    JP Morgan has said a senior carbon trader, who had recently moved to Washington, is leaving the bank this month…
    “It’s like all-out war,” Peter Fusaro, an expert at Global Change Associates in New York, said about the political and market odds stacked against creation of a big carbon market. Many in green groups, banks and the government had hoped the United States would anchor a global market worth up to $US2 trillion ($2.2 trillion) a year by 2020…
    The problems extend to would-be carbon traders abroad. As the world struggles to agree a new pact to fight global warming, prices in the EU’s carbon market have fallen to about half of what they were in 2008. Australia’s national carbon plan is stalled and faces a third defeat in May.
    Without creation of a US market on emissions from tailpipes to smokestacks, the Obama administration must find different ways to meet President Obama’s goal of cutting emissions 17 per cent by 2020 under 2005 levels…
    (THE BAD NEWS) Even if a carbon market fails in the climate bill, the Obama administration could still cut emissions through the Environmental Protection Agency. Some lawyers and traders believe EPA could even craft a limited cap-and-trade program, though the agency’s chief Lisa Jackson said on Monday the agency has not laid out a plan.
    Indeed, Barclays hired Kedin Kilgore, who once managed carbon at JP Morgan, in January to keep it ready in case cap-and-trade prospects swing back. Still, it has kept its US team to just a few.
    And state programs could eventually toughen if the federal plan..
    Prudential has two people in New York focused on carbon.
    Banks such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley would not give details about their teams…
    “I get young people coming to me saying they are looking into oil and gas trading. Carbon jobs just aren’t out there,” said Global Change’s Fusaro.
    http://www.smh.com.au/business/us-carbon-traders-fear-pink-slips-20100312-q2cr.html

  44. Next it will probably be argon, the most abundant inert gas (circa 0.9%) in the atmosphere.
    Is there anything which does not produce ‘global warming’?
    But at 0.3ppm, nitrous oxide levels in our atmosphere are not significant.
    Warmists prefer to report its concentration in ppb (parts per billion) – after all, 280 is a much more scary number than 0.3.

  45. GMO and excessive ferts on our lands DO NOT and WILL NOT do this wondrous ‘feed the earth’ campaign.
    The point of many GM crops is to reduce the amount of fertilizer and pesticide. They are better for the environment than most present crops.
    I don’t call present crops “natural” because not a single one is – every crop raised today is artificial. They’ve all been hybridized and cross-bred to the point where people wouldn’t recognise them from their original stock. Try living on wild wheat!
    The only reason for “organic” farmers to oppose GM crops is because they are, at heart, anti-progress and anti-science. No matter how safe and nutritious GM food is, the organic community is not interested in science. Only the bugbear of “natural”. Yet how many natural rice paddies do you reckon there are?

  46. Doug in Dunedin (12:23:05) :
    Six ‘mays’ and seven ‘cans’ in this article. As a measure of scientific value such a measure scores a fail in my new assessment system
    “said Dr. Codispoti. “We should intensify our observations”
    I think he “May” be looking for grant money so he “Can” fund his research.
    He “May” want a Nobel, “Can” he get one?
    Let’s hope not
    Ben

  47. We’re doomed.
    They tried nitrous oxide in the dentist’s office, but it didn’t work on me.
    Other than the additional fertilizer in the Mississippi outflow, how has that changed in the last ten thousand years?

  48. Gawd I get soooooo weary of all the bright eyed, save the world, do-gooders and their endless prognostications of impending doom if the world doesn’t do what they say. Here’s a little apocalyptic overload for those who feel the need: http://bigthink.com/

  49. B.S. Detector on FULL TILT!
    This “scientific” article is pure BS.
    Full of “what ifs”.
    I suggest contacting Lucinda Basset of the “Fear and Anxiety Institute”.
    She specializes in neutralizing “what if” thinking.
    Max

  50. So we can clean up our industrial agriculture runoff or we can implement a carbon tax …..
    I know which one makes sense and will actually address the problem and I also know which one will likely be done even though it is worse than useless 🙁

  51. Oh, the dead zone story again.
    Just like the first robbin of spring, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science trots out a bay dead zone story.
    Its part of the “bay is dying” repertoire. The similarites between the dead zone predictions and global warming predictions have one thing in common, They are rarely correct. When they predict massive dead zones due to runnoff, it does not happen. Dead zones have not materialized for the past two years.
    Like climate change advocates, the Bay is dying advocates tend to only focus on man made causes such as chicken farm runnoff and crop runnoff, sewage treatment, and home runoff.
    I have read these studies and studies from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and other bay/environmental groups and they never, ever discuss natural causes or natural variability.
    Natural causes are completely ignored. Wind direction and velocity has a huge impact on the Chesapeake bay. Cloud cover and water temperature affect sea grasses. The Susquehanna river contributes 50% of the fresh water to the Chesapeake. Daily flows are measured in the billions of gallons per day, from 2B to 250B gallons per day. I never hear anything about that variabitly. Its always mentiond as the transport mechanism for polutants, but the correlation is weak.
    This natual variabiltiy is virtually ignored, sound familiar?
    Here is the rest of the rest of the bay alarmist repertoire.
    Crabs are dying, Oysters are dying, Striped bass are dying, Submerged Auquitic vegitation is dying.
    If man is to be blamed for the fishery problems, blame overfishing.
    This is what Alarmism funded research gets you.

  52. What a bogus article. Actually I want to say what a crap article. What crap science. Louis Codispoti should be ashamed. Where is the “proof”, where is the careful research, for any one of his claims. I seem to remember “oldwhathisname”, director of NCAR, wants to use dangerous N2O as one of the elements to enforce his dicatorial powers over all science and all public policy — so we all will all know the correct science and do the right things!
    Doug in Dunedin (12:23:05), as well as the other commenters, clearly sees the many problems — the 6 “mays” and the 7 “cans”, e.g.
    Upon close reading, I found:
    7 mays
    3 cans
    4 coulds
    3 shoulds
    3 suggests
    1 are likely
    1 are indications
    “Some MODELS predict a deeper thermocline (lower respiration) as a result of global warming; others [MODELS] suggest the opposite.”
    In his citation list of 17, 4 are from Science Mag, 1 is from Nature.
    1. It [N2O] is also becoming a key factor in stratospheric ozone destruction” — Science, Wuebbles 2009.
    2. “Recent observations and models suggest that marine hypoxic and suboxic regions are likely to expand and shoal….” FN 7-9. 7 is his conclusion; 8 is Science, Stramma ea 2008; 9 is Global Biochem, Oschlies 2008.
    3. “The Gulf of California provides an interesting case study. Here, phytoplankton blooms correlate with runoff from terrestrial fertilizer applications….” Nature, Beman ea 2005.
    4&5. “Observations suggest an increase in eastern boundary upwelling and thermocline shoaling.” Science, Chan ea 2008; Science, McGregor ea 2007.
    I don’t think Science or Nature can be trusted. What about the other publications. Are they all on the take, too?
    No more time, but I imagine others can be more precise than I. Latitude (12:25:16) expresses my thoughts: ” But it’s not the open ocean. Making a comparison to the open ocean just inflates their numbers for hysterical effect.
    The problem is silt and fertilizer run-off. Things that are being ignored with all this global warming crap.”

  53. Most of our greatest environmental problems – we pay to create via subsidies. If one was truly interested in controlling eutrophication we could do a couple of things that would actually save us money.
    -First cut off the more outrageous agriculture subsidies– rice, sugar and ethanol (The source of much of the Phosphorous and Nitrogen loadings)
    -Allow for more genetically engineered crops (higher yield less land less fetilizers)
    -And perhaps most importantly irradiate our food supply- it could double the food supply by reducing the massive losses in storage and transport due to mold insects etc. The result would be significantly reduced food prices and/or a massive reduction in the amount of land needed for agriculture (the number one source of water pollution)
    The perversity of most environmental problems is the “cure” comes by spending less money not more…..But if you are on the receiving end of the spending why would you ever fix the problem? Problems become more economically valuable than any solution.

  54. First it was CO₂ that was gonna get us, then CH₄. Now it’s N₂O. Can’t anyone do real science without invoking the AGW bogeyman? The matter of agricultural run-off with its attendant problems are deserving of attention; including the standard global warming talking point diminishes this.
    And for other schools out there, you too can have your very own mini-IPCC — just call it something along the lines of Center for Environmental Science and all your activists can gather there to launch their very own crusade to save the planet.

  55. Well they should just get the nitrogen out of the atmosphere; that’s the source of the problem.
    How many millions of lightning strikes are there every single day on earth converting nitrogen into fertilizer.
    somebody in Washington state (I believe) is suing the EPA to get the State of Washington to stop the acid sea water they have off the sate of Wshington.
    In a related story, the San Jose Murky News, has “Local News” story today; March 12 reporting on the immediate inundation of the Farallon Islands sea bird rookeries, 30 miles off San Francisco.
    John Fitzpatrick, Executive director Of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology says “There are a significant number of Birds that are facing real, immediate threats.”
    Heading says:- Scientists: Rising seas expected to inundate habitat.”
    The story is under Paul Rogers’ byline, the environmental editor for the Murky News.
    OK, Scientists, given the “immediate threats” why don’t you tell us, by sundown today; what you plan to do about those threatened birds. Well hell, it’s a weekend coming up; Monday Morning will do.
    Tell you what Mr Fitzpatrick, why don’t we give you till the end of this year to make good on your prediction, as to those immediate threats.
    Last time I checked, the atmosphere extends all the way down to the water, and/or all the way down to the land, so birds; specially sea birds, are quite capable of exiting the atmosphere, any where such an interface occurs.
    If Peregrine Falcons can nest every year on a ledge on San Jose’s City Hall, and Spotted Owls can nest in the illuminated letetrs on a K-Mart Store; what is the likelihood that sea birds, can find a place to land and nest, that is above water.
    I have two words to describe such Scientific predictions:-
    “Criminally Insane.”
    Paul Rogers is a Democrat Party shill who masquerades as a climate expert on the San Jose Mercury News Local News pages; he also show up on the weekend Democrat conflab on PBS local stations, with his latest political issues to harangue us with.
    Is there some reason why fishes don’t discharge Nitrogen or Phosphorous Wastes in the ocean like sea birds do.
    Anybody know what the principal natural product of Niue Island in the South Pacific is; sea bird shirt is what it is.
    So don’t blame humans, blame the sea birds, and the fishes.

  56. ” Mooloo (14:05:27) :” – You can’t be serious.
    1) The point of many GM crops is to reduce the amount of fertilizer and pesticide. They are better for the environment than most present crops.
    Then why are more herbicides being used than ever before?
    Why are superweeds appearing in GMO based agriculture?
    2) I don’t call present crops “natural” because not a single one is – every crop raised today is artificial. They’ve all been hybridized and cross-bred to the point where people wouldn’t recognise them from their original stock. Try living on wild wheat!
    You obviously have no idea of the huge differences in cross breading and genetically modifying crops.
    3) No matter how safe and nutritious GM food is,
    They only do minimal tests on them because they were ASSUMED to be “substantially equivalent”. The only tests that are done were done by the companies. Like Monsanto “proving” that RBGH was safe for milk production because any residuals were destroyed by pasteurization temperatures. Except they “pasteurized” them for 30 minutes! That is like baking a turkey for 2 weeks!
    4) the organic community is not interested in science.
    It is Monsanto that is not interested in science when it comes to safety testing.
    http://www.seedsofdeception.com/Public/MediaCenter/index.cfm
    One last question for you. If GMO foods are so safe and great why not label foods that have GMO ingredients and let the consumers make a choice? You know that free market thing that only gets lip service from companies like Monsanto.

  57. Peter Miller (14:05:06) :
    Next it will probably be argon, the most abundant inert gas (circa 0.9%) in the atmosphere.
    (…)

    Oh No! Argon is used as a shielding gas for many types of arc welding, thus it is tied to warming (the metal gets very hot).
    The Argon will kill us all!

  58. One wonders how much nitrogen runoff there was when there were tens of millions of buffalo roaming the plains, dumping in every river and creek…

  59. Re: Wayne Delbeke (13:57:43) :
    Everyone should be concerned about our oceans, rivers, lakes, and land…
    How much, exactly, I “should be” concerned? Just a little? Greatly? Or “should I” run in circles, screaming and shouting?
    Who decides, how much “everyone should be concerned” about this or that? You? Politicians? Green fanatics?
    And what if I am not going to be concerned as ordered? What are you going to do? Tax me more and more at the point of a gun?
    Is this — taxing people against their will at the point of a gun — is what you are trying to sell as a moralistic reproach?

  60. Wayne Delbeke
    Quote: ” but it would be nice to see a few more positive ideas on how we might provide redirection and solutions instead of sarcasm and denigration.”
    Easy enough
    Stop all this CO2 ‘settled science’ that’s taking up all the time, money, and attention.
    I’m sure you’ve noticed since all this started there has not been one word about real pollution, real problems, or real solutions.

  61. “every crop raised today is artificial. They’ve all been hybridized and cross-bred to the point where people wouldn’t recognise them from their original stock”
    Yes, we do naturally cross via pollination and the like… of course. Injecting animal dna into plant dna is NOT quite the same.
    GMO = AGW… same shite. Obviously you don’t know anything about Monsanto, or you work for them. It has NOTHING to do with nutrition and everything to do with profit and control.
    GMO is fun and games, experimentation and profit. Before GMOs food was just fine; funny how non-gmo eaters are now anti-science as you would say… LOL. That is funny. Do you know rockefeller and his ilk were experimenting with animal/plant gmos in the 1940s? It is NOT new and it is NOT about bettering the human.

  62. “We should intensify our observations of the relationship between low oxygen concentrations and nitrous oxide in coastal waters.”
    Yep. Grant Forcing.

  63. Pascvaks (12:49:09) :
    “Note: Not everything is a joke, nor to be made light of without consequence. Think before you laugh too hard, you may just choke to death. AGW sounds like a hoax, smells like a hoax, looks like a hoax, and feels like a hoax. Dead fish and dead seas are not a hoax, don’t smell like a hoax, don’t look like a hoax, and don’t feel like a hoax.”
    We have red tide that kills LOTS of fish. Totally natural. We have the Floridian trench that upwells from time to time. Lots of dead fish. Dead fish are not a hoax, but the “We’re-all-going-to-die” disaster porn most definately IS.

  64. When I read that: “…waters can elevate concentrations in the atmosphere, further exacerbating the impacts of global warming and contributing to ozone “holes” that cause an increase in our exposure to harmful UV radiation.” I wanted to stop reading. I wish I had.
    Has anyone told Dr. Codispoti that NO2 and other NOx are sinks for chlorine so they would be acting as “reducers” of the infamous ozone hole? Obviously the Gravy Train that runs on the old Grant Rail Road Line is behind all this junk.

  65. The obvious thing in common with NO2 and CO2 is the O-oxygen. We must remove oxygen from the environment.
    Oxygen is obviously a dangerous pollutant. It should be banned.

  66. Peter Miller (14:05:06) :
    Next it will probably be argon, the most abundant inert gas (circa 0.9%) in the atmosphere.
    It’ll never catch on. Too many folks will wonder how a Lord of the Rings character can influence the climate…

  67. Can anyone tell me why NOx is an ozone depleting substance in the stratosphere yet considered the primary reactant for creating ground level ozone?

  68. OTOH, we find other studies such as
    “Fish kills in the floodplain billabongs of Magela Creek in Kakadu have been caused by the inflow of natural acidic water with high aluminium concentrations. This results from the acid sulphate soils in the
    catchment. The high acidity mobilises naturally occurring aluminium which is absorbed onto the gills of fish, interfering with their ability to breathe. Other coastal plains with acid sulphate soils are likely to experience fish kills from this cause.”
    See http://www.nt.gov.au/nreta/publications/natres/pdf/FishKills.pdf and quite a few similar references.
    This process is natural and is reported in formal literature from the early 1980s. I have not looked at the literature in depth, but have seen early rainfall fish kills in the wild in the 1970s.
    The early papers that I have read did not mention global warming.

  69. Haven’t had a chance to read all the comments yet so if this has already been mention, if so I am sorry.
    The insanity of the politicians is increasing by leaps and bounds. The mega-corporations and the USDA/FDA food “safety” hoax is now pushing “sterile farming techniques modeled after the drug Good Manufacturing Practices. It is called HR 2749: Food Safety’s Scorched Earth Policy.
    This is going to cause major run off problems effecting river delta areas as the grass filter strips and hedge and tree wind breaks are removed down to bare earth to form a 30 foot “sterile” barrier around farm fields. This will allow topsoil and fertilizer to run straight into the rivers. On my farm I have seen one rain storm remove four inches of top soil in a couple of hours. Even if it does not become law the mega-corporations are using contracts to require this type of practice from the farms they buy from.
    “HR 2749 is being rushed through Congress, and the house may look to suspend the rules and fast track the bill at Obama’s request….
    Invisible to a public that sees only the headlines of the latest food-safety scare – spinach, peppers and now cookie dough – ponds are being poisoned and bulldozed. Vegetation harboring pollinators and filtering storm runoff is being cleared. Fences and poison baits line wildlife corridors. Birds, frogs, mice and deer – and anything that shelters them – are caught in a raging battle in the Salinas Valley against E. coli O157:H7, a lethal, food-borne bacteria. (Lochhead, C.)
    In fact, in the fierce battle to sanitize the earth, one thing has been overlooked:Â
    Some science suggests that removing vegetation near field crops could make food less safe. Vegetation and wetlands are a landscape’s lungs and kidneys, filtering out not just fertilizers, sediments and pesticides, but also pathogens. UC Davis scientists found that vegetation buffers can remove as much as 98 percent of E. coli from surface water. UC Davis advisers warn that some rodents prefer cleared areas. (Lochhead, C.)Â
    Dick Peixoto planted hedges of fennel and flowering cilantro around his organic vegetable fields in the Pajaro Valley near Watsonville to harbor beneficial insects, an alternative to pesticides.
    He has since ripped out such plants in the name of food safety, because his big customers demand sterile buffers around his crops. No vegetation. No water. No wildlife of any kind.
    “I was driving by a field where a squirrel fed off the end of the field, and so 30 feet in we had to destroy the crop,” he said. “On one field where a deer walked through, didn’t eat anything, just walked through and you could see the tracks, we had to take out 30 feet on each side of the tracks and annihilate the crop.”
    In the verdant farmland surrounding Monterey Bay, a national marine sanctuary and one of the world’s biological jewels, scorched-earth strategies are being imposed on hundreds of thousands of acres in the quest for an antiseptic field of greens. And the scheme is about to go national. (Lochhead, C. )….”
    http://farmwars.info/?p=1284

  70. “And did you really just make a blanket declaration that genetically modified crops have little nutrition? You better have a lot of reputable research to back that one up. Also, some are modified to grow under harsh conditions where other crops fail. Isn’t some food better than none at all?”
    Sorry, I meant when farming on depleted soil there isn’t the proper nutes in the soil and therefore cannot be taken up via the plants. I’ve grown many plants and there is a difference in the quality of the food. I bet if I give my children veggies, raw milk, fruit, homemade foods from organic sources or, as you say, non-organic sources–with high contents of nutes already in the non-depleted soil, and you raise your children on McDonald’s and little debbie, I wonder who will be the more healthy child.
    What do you call reputable? How about many studies that are NOT funded by the agencies doing the dirty (like agw)… in the US we are starving ourselves by eating too much :). Maybe I shouldn’t have made such a statement since Monsanto’s reports and the MSM tend to say it is completely safe to eat.
    All this food research isn’t free and they aren’t giving away food to the hungry for free, even if it seems like the UN does so. The patenting of organisms WAS ONCE illegal, why do you think corporations and their benevolence wanted that changed? So they could help everyone afford higher quality foods? No, of course not.
    Anyway, this is not the place for this discussion at length… the real problem with the US is not using a precautionary principle and using the opposite first and foremost, then covering up the mistakes, then blame some political party, then maybe, maybe correct the problem.
    I do use the local farmers market whenever possible… one more question: Why is it that many countries don’t allow GMOs for import, are illegal and others DEMAND GMOs have a label on them and the US does not, but allows fraudsters like gore to promote junk science without consequence for profit?

  71. “Wayne Delbeke (13:57:43) :
    Everyone should be concerned about our oceans, rivers, lakes, and land. We should be concerned about overfishing, appropriate resource development, health care, chemical and industrial pollution, management of our own wastes and so on.”
    Wayne, you’re absolutely right, but it would be nice to hear some good news on the environmental front occasionally.
    I grew up in South Wales, next to the River Taff. In those days it ran black from coal pollution and other industrial run-offs. If you’d cast a fishing line into the river the only thing you would reel in would be an occasional diseased eel or a lump of something which would be more at home in a Sci-Fi movie. It was a dead river. Now it is clear!

  72. kadaka (12:55:34) :
    Seemingly balanced article on nitrogen in agriculture by (is it “a” or “an”?) MIT graduate student, published February 23 2010.
    I scanned the article quickly and it seems to hit the correct points. As a farmer and a chemist I would consider nitrogen a bit more dangerous than CO2. I see no downsides of CO2 except for frost burns or smothering at very high concentrations. CO is the killer in fires since it bonds with hemoglobin and only blood transfusions get rid of it in bad cases of smoke inhalation.
    Nitrogen has scientifically verified problems.

  73. Tim (14:34:17) said
    ” Mooloo (14:05:27) :” – You can’t be serious. …
    One last question for you. If GMO foods are so safe and great why not label foods that have GMO ingredients and let the consumers make a choice? You know that free market thing that only gets lip service from companies like Monsanto.’
    Tim. You name me any food not harvested from the sea and eaten by man that is NOT genetically modified.
    Doug

  74. Jeremy (13:15:45) : said
    “…They’d get more done if they simply demonstrated what dead areas are like to farmers and jointly looked for a solution.”
    Responsible farmers who care about their land try to use good farming practices. Unfortunately farmers got conned by the Committee for Economic Development.
    “…CED determined that the problem with American agriculture was that there were too many farmers. But the CED had a “solution”: millions of farmers would just have to be eliminated…. CED complained that “the excess of human resources engaged in agriculture is probably the most important single factor in the “farm problem'” and describes how agricultural production can be better organized to fit to business needs…” http://www.opednews.com/articles/History-HACCP-and-the-Foo-by-Nicole-Johnson-090906-229.html
    This is the real reason behind the “Green Revolution” and why the USDA started introducing the poor farming practices of monoculture chemical intensive farming.
    No I am not an “Organic Farmer” I use chemicals, sparingly as needed. There are good practices from both schools and I use what ever optimizes my yield and minimizes the damage to my land.
    People really need to start paying attention to what is happening in farming. It is being attacked by the same idiotic type of propaganda as the energy industry. The goal is the same regulations that will result in the transfer of wealth from your pocket to the mega-corporations.

  75. Stephen Brown (13:33:44) :
    “Even cow dung worked back into the soil is a good thing… ”
    Sorry, but that is incorrect. Animal dung spread on a field is the cause of more eutrophication than the correct usage and application of “chemical” fertilizers. It is a pracitce which is actively discouraged here in the UK.”

    There is a BIG difference between spread on the top of a field and worked into the soil so it is near the roots. If it is placed on the top you are correct it will wash away. Also here in the USA, at least with chicken and pig manures they are placed in a covered containment area, composted and then applied to the fields otherwise they will “burn the plants.

  76. In 2005 Maryland passed a “Flush Tax” to clean up the bay. This $30 per year per house tax was supposed to pay for bonds to upgrade sewage treatment plants.
    70% of that money now goes to pay for winter cover crops, and no Sewage plants have been upgraded yet.
    The Flush Tax might have been a good idea, but as usual, the money gets funneled off by powerful lobbies, like the farm lobby.
    Nutty Science distracts the politicians from the real issues.

  77. ““As a result, Sweden and neighbouring Finland have been granted an exemption from the EU directive and can continue to sell the fish on their national markets until the end of 2006.
    A condition of this is that the health authorities of both countries must tell people how much Baltic Sea fish can be consumed without harmful effects.”
    Yummy yummy.
    I seem to recall hearing that there isn’t a safe level of dioxin. There are much more toxic substances in the environment to worry about.”
    But pickled Baltic herring is so yummy especially with the first new harvest potatoes, butter and fresh dill (+ some ice cold vodka & lager)!
    Actually it is assumed that eating reasonable amouts (once or twice a week) baltic fish is healtier than not eating any fish at all. Furhermore, the risks can be minimized by avoiding the oldest samples of the catch (largest salmons, baltic herrings longer than 20 cm etc.)
    It should be also noted that the actual level of toxicity of dioxin is yet unknown and that the rat tests in this case seem to give inaccurate results. After all, the fatalities and diseases caused by Seveso disaster seem to be far from estimates and Yushchenko did not die despite of presumeably fatal dose of dioxin.

  78. Those that are overly concerned about GM foods don’t seem to appreciate how a lot of the non GM crops were developed. Plants were zapped with radiation to cause random mutations and they chose those showing some beneficial aspect.Or different seed types were artificially fused together – a we don’t have any idea what is going to happen process. Some I am somewhat confused why the splicing of some particular genes that we have some idea what they do is of concern while the purely random process is not.
    The only reason this conversation occurs is that those involved are not hungry.
    We are being told not to to use GM, not to irradiate the food supply, while at the same time use less fertilizer, less pesticide, less land, less water and feed the world. We can’t and those that try to impose this irrational belief put everyone at great risk. I
    Last point we don’t have to worry about ocean Nitrites if the ocean acidity increases– the lack of alkalinity will shut the nitrification process down. It always the same- you can’t have it all- you either get ocean acidification or nitrites— you can’t have them both—-if nothing else its just greedy.

  79. BBC, give it up:
    12 March: BBC: Matt Walker Earth News: Climate change ‘makes birds shrink’ in North America
    However, there is little evidence that the change is harmful to the birds.
    Details of the discovery are published in the journal Oikos..
    Quite why this happens is not clear, but it prompted one group of scientists to ask the question: would animals respond in the same way to climate change?
    To find out, Dr Josh Van Buskirk of the University of Zurich, Switzerland and colleagues Mr Robert Mulvihill and Mr Robert Leberman of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Rector, Pennsylvania, US decided to evaluate the sizes of hundreds of thousands of birds that pass through the Carnegie Museum’s Powdermill ringing station, also in Pennsylvania…
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_8560000/8560694.stm

  80. Ecospeak 204 (ozone & NO2):
    9. How to ring the alarm —
    Align terms in any order from the following list but always keep your sentences short and to the point. Term number one should always appear someplace in all assignments.
    – we should intensify our observations
    – present in minute concentrations
    – further exacerbating the impacts of global warming
    – microbes produce N2O
    – human activities may be
    – marine environment is a net producer of N2O
    – key factor in stratospheric ozone destruction
    – increased frequency and intensity
    – shallow suboxic and hypoxic waters
    – process called denitrification
    – volume of hypoxic waters
    – increased amount of nitrous oxide (N2O)
    – waters can increase their production of N2O
    – low-oxygen (hypoxic) waters
    – low oxygen waters are sparse
    – negatively impact environmental conditions
    – greenhouse gas nitrous oxide increases
    – low-oxygen waters
    – half of the ocean’s net nitrous oxide
    – ‘dead zones’ continue to expand
    – increase in our exposure to harmful UV radiation
    – phytoplankton produce the fuel
    – nitrous oxide is a highly potent greenhouse gas
    – had modest impacts on climate
    – terrestrial N2O sources
    – ocean acidification
    – future of marine N2O production
    – far more than just local waters
    – further intensifying its climatic impact
    – decrease to hypoxic levels
    – rates are higher near the sunlit waters

  81. A couple of points:
    The dead zone at the mouth of the Mississippi has always been there but both flood control and agriculture have greatly increased the affect.
    Proper use of chemical fertilizer actually reduces the problem compared with some of the modern methods of handling animal wastes. Dairy farms,chicken farms and hog farms often store the waste in large pools allowing it to decompose partly before it is applied back onto/into the soil. Many of these pools leak which provides a concentrated stream of run-off. Also the decomposition in the pools increases the nitrogen concentration which is a great benefit to the farmers if it can be absorbed into the soil. The problem is to get the manure applied and the soil tilled immediately to mix and trap as much as possible before rain washes the very soluable nitrates away.
    Having been a farmer and also trying organic farming I can say from my experience it doesn’t work all that well compared to more commercial type agriculture. I think the big difference many people see is actually as stated above by kadaka the freshness is often improved by the supply line of organic foods. The yield from organic crops without using excess manure which would not be available for large commercial enterprizes is small compared to modern chemical based practice.
    Anyway, there is a real problem. I don’t know if it is dramatic but indeed we could at least do what we know work to reduce the impact without destroying our agriculture base. I kind of doubt there is any danger of runaway nitrous oxide warming though.
    Just my thoughts on the matter.
    Barry Strayer

  82. Nitrous oxide makes viagra work. So who will be complaining? A dip in the ocean in stead of a blue pill?

  83. An earlier “thread” on WUWT discussed biochar, and by extension, Tera Preta, the dark earth of the Amazon. These are biologically active soils that tend to chelate phosphates and nitrogen compounds.
    If most of the corn in the corn belt was planted on such organically positive soils, it is likely that the Dead Zones would be much smaller. Fertilizer elements incorporated in composted manures are a, unfortunately expensive, source of slow release fertilizer.
    One wonders how long we will get away with abusing our farmlands. The Indians have a phosphate rock-manure compost called PROM, for phosphate rich organic manure. It actually has a much higher nutrient efficiency than DAP, Di-Ammonium Phosphate. see http://www.promsociety.net/profile.htm

  84. IIRC, the “dead zone” in the Gulf is about 200 to 300 miles offshore, and at the BOTTOM of the gulf, not on the surface. Part of the problem is that the Gulf has very little in the way of “normal” ocean turnover, where upwelling cold currents exchange nutrients and oxygenate deep waters. The problem IS growing, and it’s serious, but I think this article does a disservice to what is actually involved.
    About a third of the amount of sediments the Mississippi USED to carry now is captured by dozens of locks and dams that allow river commerce. This has reduced the growth rate of the Mississippi delta, and is part of the problem with the Port of New Orleans – and the city. Without the constant replenishment of sediments that occurred before the levees were built, New Orleans sinks at a rate of about a half-inch a year (I wouldn’t bet money on that last statement – I can’t remember the exact rate of sinking from an article I read several years ago – but that should be close.).
    One thing that drives the greenies crazy is that offshore drilling actually helps to disperse the dead zones nearer to shore, as well as offering a place for fish and shellfish to breed. More drilling would actually help the situation.

  85. Re: rick d (Mar 12 15:00),
    Can anyone tell me why NOx is an ozone depleting substance in the stratosphere yet considered the primary reactant for creating ground level ozone?
    Different oxides. The ozone producers at ground level are higher oxides (NO2, NO, N2O4). N2O is not so reactive at ground level, but important at high altitude.

  86. I’ve already contributed my £10 to these excellent scientists to help them study this potentially huge problem further. Obviously we don’t know enough about this topic to draw any firm conclusions either way at this moment in time, but using the precautionary principle. it would be better if we take firm action NOW to re-oxygenate the water in these dead zones; perhaps by throwing trees into them.
    Thanks for listening!

  87. Wayne Delbeke…Latitude..
    Great comments Latitude and I hope Wayne read them. He is concerned with man-made pollution and and has the background to comment on it. I think most reasonable people are concerned but, the folks who are trying to make a buck off of fears are now only concentrating on cap and trade. We will have to suffer through it I guess. At least Wayne we have this site to vent our frustrations.

  88. I love this kind of “science”, short on facts and long on “may” and “could” and “might”. They cite the IPCC WG1 Chapter 2, but fail to note that the IPCC said (p. 131):

    Nitrous oxide continues to rise approximately linearly (0.26% yr–1) and reached a concentration of 319 ppb in 2005 …

    Reading that, I wondered just what the nitrous trend looked like. Here’s the longest record I could find:

    Figure W1. Nitrous record from Barbados ALEGAGE.
    I had to make the linear trend line 1 point wide, and the N2O record 3 points wide, just so you could see the N20 record. Yeah, I’d call that linear.
    Now, the authors cite (“Science” Magazine, subscription req’d)that the “dead areas” have increased over the last quarter century. But this has not had any visible effect on the rate of N2O increase. Doesn’t stop Dr. Codispoti from pushing the panic buttom.
    Science Magazine just keeps sinking to new lower lows …
    w.

  89. Mooloo (14:05:27) :
    “…The only reason for “organic” farmers to oppose GM crops is because they are, at heart, anti-progress and anti-science. No matter how safe and nutritious GM food is, the organic community is not interested in science. Only the bugbear of “natural”. Yet how many natural rice paddies do you reckon there are?”
    There are the anti-progress types that you mention but there are also those like me who are not opposed to the IDEA of GMO but are opposed to releasing GMO crops into the market without proper testing to make sure they are safe AND with protection for farmers who do not WANT GMOs.
    My big problems with GMO
    1. Horizontal Gene Transfer from GMOs Does Happen
    “Genetic engineering creates vast arrays of transgenic DNA that could spread, not only through cross-pollination with the same or related species, but also through the direct uptake of the transgenic DNA by cells of unrelated species, a process called horizontal gene transfer….” http://www.i-sis.org.uk/horizontalGeneTransfer.php
    2. Stealing genes from third world countries and then suing the farmers who actually developed the strain. See the Global diversity treaty:
    http://www.bioversityinternational.org/publications/pdf/1144.pdf
    3. Contaminating naturally developed varieties with GMO: see Corn in Mexico http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Outlawed+GMO+corn+shows+up+in+Mexico.+%28Environmental+Intelligence%29-a082014411
    4. The progressive encroachment on a farmers freedom to grow food.
    1961 – PVP is the Plant Variety Protection: The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants: Gave seed companies a monopoly on only the commercial multiplication and the marketing of seeds. Farmers remained free to save seed from their own harvest to plant in the following year, and other breeders could freely use any variety, protected or not, to develop a new one.
    By 1991 the PVP monopoly has applied to seed multiplication and also to the harvest and sometimes the final product as well. Previously unlimited right of farmers to save seed for the following year’s planting has been changed into an optional exception. Only if national government allows, can farm-saved seed still be used, and a royalty has to be paid to the seed company even for seeds grown on-farm. http://www.grain.org/seedling_files/smar2002.pdf
    The FAO supports “harmonization of seed rules and regulations in Africa and Central Asia in order to stimulate the development of a vibrant seed industry…”
    5. The Terminator gene that can crosses with naturally developed varieties and makes everything sterile.

  90. Gail Combs (15:20:37) :
    I scanned the article quickly and it seems to hit the correct points. As a farmer and a chemist I would consider nitrogen a bit more dangerous than CO2. (…)

    Thank you.
    The article did point out something that I hadn’t made the connection to before. As I had been hearing, crude oil was a feedstock for fertilizer production, thus with fertilizer runoff the theme of “dirty fossil fuels, leave them in the ground” was continued. But in this article it was pointed out that we used to mine the nitrogen, as old guano deposits, however now the nitrogen is extracted from the air, and it is not coming from oil. So from that perspective, ignoring the relatively minuscule amounts involved, we are doing a better job controlling the amounts of nitrogen released than we were.
    Of course, come to think of it, with vehicles NOx emissions have been a long-standing issue, yet I haven’t heard of anyone touting new gasoline formulations or completely different fuels that reduce those by having less nitrogen in the fuel. Lack of nitrogen in petroleum products should have tipped me off that they weren’t getting the nitrogen for fertilizer from the crude oil.
    Dang those confusing eco-mentalist statements!

  91. One thing that I have always thought a little strange is that so called dead zone of yours (and after all it won’t ever be the Oh zone or the no go zone.)
    What ever, but if the so called dead zone is a zone deprived of oxygen or a oxygen deprived zone, it pretty much means the same thing — no friggin oxygen for the fish’.
    How come there’s all these various fish’ living in a zone deprived of oxygen? I’m just asking due to me diving experience.

  92. Keith Guy –
    There are lots of positive things happening in the world but it doesn’t sell news.
    I guess I didn’t say it but in 40 years in the engineering business, I have seen tremendous improvements all around the world. It used to be that the bay in Hong Kong was BLACK from printers ink flowing out of the streams, the Thames had no salmon, there were people all over the world that couldn’t drink the water out of their rivers. A few sand filters and a bit of education has improved things greatly in a multitude of areas. In 1968 I made a trip across the Atlantic and was shocked at the amount of garbage floating in the ocean. Sadly, this in an area that 40 years later has not improved from what I can see. And it really wouldn’t be that hard to improve things with little cost. Just stop throwing all the garbage overboard at 3 am like they used to in the 60’s.
    There are a multitude of items like that and I agree with others who have comment here that David Suzuki (from whom I took classes) and his ilk have accidentally caused HUGE damage to their views on pollution issues by jumping on the AGW band wagon thus deflecting attention from things that we could actually do something about. For example, Bjorn Lomborg might believe in AGW but he is smart enough to know that our money can be better invested elsewhere to provide much more benefit than investing in AGW reduction.
    Course that might be my engineering economics speaking – but we should spend the money where it will do the most good, tilting at windmills and end of the world scenarios accomplishes little.
    A few simple sand filters to treat drinking water can enhance living conditions in the third world much more than thousands of hours of health care … and AGW is completely irrelevant to those folks (unless IPCC says they can get money to build those filters from claiming damages from industrialized countries.) Oops … falling into my own trap.
    We still have a long way to go but I wouldn’t trade living now for living 100 years ago. I live in a wood heated ranch house with geothermal secondary and propane water back up and one foot thick insulated walls. As a child I lived for a while on a ranch in a log building where there was often frost on the inside of the log walls winter mornings and no running water.
    Now I sit behind argon filled panes of glass watching the sunset and sending messages out on the Internet by satellite while horses paw for grass through the snow on the fields outside.
    I need oil for my tractor, I need fuel for my truck, I am not about to go back to harvesting using horses, and I am not going to let some AGW type tell me I can’t burn wood in my highly efficient masonry fireplace that heats my house for 12 hours on one burn at 20 below C. ( I maintain my own woodlands and have more than I can use to heat two houses.)
    Life is darn good.
    “Stay calm, be brave, wait for a sign” – Dead Dog Cafe

  93. What, pray tell, is the effect on hypoxic waters of the photosynthesis in the algal blooms?

  94. Oh, for the love of…[sigh].
    Whatever next? One can only hope that this truly ridiculous “research” will only add to the growing awareness of the general public that the whole thing is one big multi-governmental con. I thought we’d already passed the point where it could not get any more farcical. Clearly I was wrong.

  95. Took one look at the headline and thought “I have to reread Greg Benford’s Timescape again”.
    Published in 1980, dead zones kill everyone by 1998…
    Top SF, won a Nebula and a J.W.Campbell.

  96. Good (and humorous) stuff in the posts above!
    The only thing that must be killed ASAP is our tax funding of all this CAGW baloney. The sooner the better. The recession/depression has started that nicely already and has partly been brought about by all the massive, mandated public and private “green” investments that do not & will never pay out. Fortunately, hard money economics will force self-correcting results.
    When the doomsayers discover (no doubt to their great surprise) that LIFE goes on anyway, the bulk will be forced by economics to snap back to reality (or poverty, one). Perhaps then they will start to do some real productive work that creates true benefits for (gasp!) people!

  97. University of Maryland is always complaining about runoff from the eastern shore of the Chesapeake bay. They mostly blame chicken farms. This is more complete nonsense. The fish on the eastern shore are just fine. It’s the western shore which releases untreated sewage from Baltimore and the surrounding communities where the fish are unhealthy. These guys have a consistent bias of missing the point and blaming rural influences instead of city folk that have money and lawyers.
    Nitrous oxide has a half-life of <10 minutes in biological systems. These guys are so full of crap, it's not funny. The reason nitrous oxide doesn't change much in the atmosphere is that every living organism can metabolize it. What crap. Can someone ask these guys to show some measurements? From their article "Net N2O production in the open ocean is ~1.4 x 1011 mol (6 Tg of N) per year." This is production in the ocean, not how much survives. It was stated in such a way as to mislead and was also unreferenced.
    Also, the reference that N2O is a "potent" greenhouse gas comes from IPCC4. Can someone look up pp. 129-234 and see what those jokers give as evidence? Seriously, 100+ pages of a defective review article isn't evidence.
    See P. Forster et al., in Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, S. Solomon , Eds. (Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, 2007), pp. 129–234.
    Another howler from their article: "An increase in horizontal respiration rate gradients toward low-oxygen oceanic eastern boundaries could also increase N2O production. Some models predict a deeper thermocline (lower respiration) as a result of global warming; others suggest the opposite (13)." Well, that science is settled. Either way, it requires more funding. I'm not saying nitrous oxide isn't interesting, I'm saying that they don't make a good case with this short note. Maybe they're serious, but, this article isn't helping their case. Maybe they want to do a guest post on WUWT?

  98. Nature abhors a vacuum. Some algae eating animal who can tolerate freshwater and low Oxygen will come in and “clean up” and within a few years it will be clean for the whole food chain to return. And this time the clean up animals, having found a great new home will not leave but stay and life will continue.

  99. These guys may be right. Atmospheric laughing gas content must have spiked just after the UEA E-mails were released, because I’ve been a lot happier since then. 🙂

  100. Just been assaulted by BBC1 with a long Government advert about how we need to reduce our water usage. From what I could make out, this piece of propoganda was state financed by DEFRA. So much for an advert-free corporation funded solely by license payers and nobody else!
    Naturally, the self depracation involving Man Made Catastrophic Climate Change was brought to the fore. My license is up in June. I’ve just cancelled my Virgin Media package. As much as I’ll miss some TV, I just can’t continue funding the despots that have now taken over the asylum.

  101. Pascvaks (13:10:21) :
    Before anyone explodes in sarcasm –
    Well put. Excess nutrient runoff does pose a problem for oceans and water tables. These are the problems the billions of climate change dollars SHOULD be going to.

  102. Re: Mike Abbott (12:26:36) :
    This research says dead zones contribute to climate change. Previous research says climate change contributes to dead zones. (See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100311141213.htm.) Can they have it both ways?
    Of they can have it both way! Just look at David Suziki in Vancouver, lack of snow was climate change….Al Gore… large snow in Eastern USA climate change, so of course they can have it both ways!!

  103. JDN (17:40:30) :
    “Nitrous oxide has a half-life of <10 minutes in biological systems. These guys are so full of crap, it's not funny. The reason nitrous oxide doesn't change much in the atmosphere is that every living organism can metabolize it. What crap."
    THX
    I'm glad someone said this! Since I scanned this article at work this morning I've been wanting to post this fact. But, being at work, I did not have the time. My co-workers already think that I'm nuts because I am more interested in fish then my job as a test engineer/software architect.
    The truth is I have always been more interested in aquatic ecosystems then electronics, so much so that I have spent a great deal of time studying it. And by studying I mean experimenting with real data collection and analysis, not just relying on some whack-jobs lefty-biased papers for knowledge. I got interested in estuary ecosystems during the late 80's. I had a house full of brackish tanks that I worked with. I also spent a lot of time stomping around in the delta. I learned a lot of stuff that you will not read in any peer-reviewed paper. I could go on and on about the nitrogen cycle (and other cycles for that matter) in estuaries. The bottom line is that for them to be healthy, they need a lot of fluctuations.
    This article had no supporting research, no data, nothing that could be called science, just some guy with a PhD. talking out of his aspirations. He is trying to use natural phenomena to scare the greenies, just like some B movie witch-doctor convincing the protoliberals to sacrifice the virgin in order to bring the sun back from a total eclipse.

  104. I am going to try to restrain myself, but it will be hard in the face of such a poorly conceived idea …. I will try, but it won’t be easy – I have had my fill of these political activist scientists which are ruining all of science & are becoming a net drag on society as a whole.
    So, we get algal blooms…. and algae are made of what ??? largely CO2 sequestered via photosynthesis- and the CO2 comes from where ??? the ocean / atmosphere system – and it is safely sequestered where ??? – the bottom of the ocean. (see the provided illustrations at the top of the post)
    And given these facts, no attempt was made to quantify the benefits of CO2 removal from the system, only the harm done by emission on N2O. And what would that equation of balance look like? Is it possible that there may even be a net benefit by removal of CO2, in terms of GHG forcing? Evidently, we’ll never know from this work. We’ll just jump to the conclusion that Mankind is bad & should be punished. Folks, This is religion, not science!
    The fact alone that the net GHG effect was not addressed is astounding. Anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of atmospheric science would have thought to address this, but evidently it did not occur to these authors. Only 2 conclusions can be reached – either they didn’t have the talent to figure that out (in which case this paper should be dismissed out of hand) or the idea that Mankind must be negatively impacting the World was a foregone conclusion (in which case the paper again must be dismissed in that this is not how true science is conducted).
    Clearly the authors have no concept of where CO2 from human emissions is coming from – fossil fuels ! The process described in the paper is basically how oil generating source rock shales are formed – yes, we are recycling carbon by this process back into the form it originated – as an organic rich ooze on the sea floor. Evidently it is OK when Nature does this (which Nature has done abundantly since the Cambrian , 540 million years ago) it is OK, but if mankind helps create the same events, it is then an evil act.
    Evidently they also aren’t familiar with those who suggest we should induce algal blooms via iron fertilization of the ocean – with the explicit purpose of sequestering carbon at the bottom of the ocean. ….or maybe they are familiar with this & aren’t really interested in doing good science at all – but are really just politicos disguised as scientists… or maybe they are just desperate scientists trying to extort a grant from the government. How much so-called “research” falls into this category? Having been through a graduate level science program, I would say much more than the academics would care to admit. The bottom line – None of the scenarios have any redeeming qualities.
    As I stated at the top, people like this are literally ruining science. As a society which depends largely on science & technology, we can not afford to have science ruined. Authors like this need to get a conscience & publish unbiased, high quality research. The same goes with all organizations which publish research. The standards for unbiased research need to be raised much higher for the benefit of all in society.
    BTW, Nice pitch at the end “We should intensify our observations of the relationship between low oxygen concentrations and nitrous oxide in coastal waters.” Why dont you just come out and say “I need a research grant” & get rid of all the BS? I will answer that – probably because the reality is this research has no value to society & you would have no chance of getting funded without some good scare tactics & appealing to the green politicos which would be happy to hand out some more unearned government money (which I worked my ass off for, paying the taxes where that money came from) for a worthless cause. You wonder why people are riled up about paying taxes? This is a prime example why.
    …. sorry for the rant – I knew it would be hard to control myself on this one…

  105. Gail Combs (15:53:20) :
    Stephen Brown (13:33:44) :
    “Even cow dung worked back into the soil is a good thing… ”
    Sorry, but that is incorrect. Animal dung spread on a field is the cause of more eutrophication than the correct usage and application of “chemical” fertilizers. It is a pracitce which is actively discouraged here in the UK.”
    There is a BIG difference between spread on the top of a field and worked into the soil so it is near the roots. If it is placed on the top you are correct it will wash away. Also here in the USA, at least with chicken and pig manures they are placed in a covered containment area, composted and then applied to the fields otherwise they will “burn the plants.
    ==============================
    Gail, of course, you’re right. Every intelligent farmer knows that it’s necessary to incorporate the organic manures in some type of a plow-down manner, whether by tiller or actual plow. (Who owns a plow these days?) And since all surviving farmers in the USA are both intelligent and computer-literate, this bit of the obvious is understood. After all, plow-down is the fastest way to improve soil structure and promote future root growth. The nitrogen burn from raw manure has ended many a 4-H project. The fact that there isn’t enough manure to produce the crops which America demands seems to be overlooked.
    I wonder what our croplands would look like if the farmers could actually AFFORD to use as much surface-contact fertilizers as the “run-off analysis” has suggested that they do.
    But, what do I know. I started life as “just a Quaker boy from Illinois.”
    Regards, Henry.

  106. Now this is just downright freaking nutz. Every year nearly a quarter million caribou migrate between summer and winter grounds. They cross a lot of rivers and streams. The world is well acquainted with fertilizer drifting out to sea and has been for a very long time.
    Now let’s toss in migrating whales and other aquatic mammals, fish and mollusks that poop it the sea daily, musk ox, deer, elk, lemmings, and bears that actually go doodoo in the woods, and you have a lot of fertilizer heading down stream or is already in the sea. It’s anyone’s guess how many dead mammoth remains are swept off to sea each year – recall they were early victims of global warming when their habitat melted. Not to drag out this meme too far, but before the flyover states were black with Black Angus beef they were black with bison and there were no fences then. They pretty much “go” where they want, and where they went was ultimately flooded down stream to NOLA. In fact the whole French Quarter is probably old bison poo sediment given that the entire inland drainage system passes through NO. There’s just nothing new under the sun regarding what floats down stream.
    I don’t know how many of you have been to Alaska, but the state bird is the mosquito. There are tons, no, megatons of them. They too drift off to the great white sea. There is just no shortage of stuff heading out to sea each and every year that smaller and yet smaller things live on. We should think of algae blooms as the grout that fills the gaps in the ocean’s floor.
    But wait, there’s more – all those Russian larches so much in the news, the spruce, the, well, you name it flora, drop dead or drop needles and a huge amount of that is swept off to nature’s garbage dump – the world’s oceans.
    Lordy, the very floor of the oceans is the natural dumping ground for nature’s greatest threat, CO2 and methane. And wait just one damn minute, the vilest villain of the green house gases is what, again? Water! Keep that out of the oceans and this will be a long lived and greening world for generations to come. It’s that dam water – there’s your problem.

  107. Wayne Delbeke (13:57:43) :
    Well spoken – dont take my my last comments as lack of care for the environment. Quite the opposite – “research” as represented in this paper is a threat to truly protecting the environment – we cant properly allocate research dollars to true problems if everything is disingenuously pitched as a “crisis” , which looking at the last paragraph of the post, clearly this is just a poorly conceived pitch to get another grant. I would concur there are true problems out there to be concerned about, although this paper leaves me highly unconvinced that N20 as it relates to AGW is one of those problems.

  108. M. Simon (12:10:41) :
    We need to undertake a massive project to get the nitrogen out of the environment. No fertilizer for farms. Unless it is dead fish.
    —————-
    Reply:
    I suppose that, even though the atmosphere is 78% nitrogen, we could figure out a way to get rid of it. Hmmmm…. Still figuring. 😉

  109. The whole problem with this posting is that it began with “{blah blah} contributing to climate change”. Anything “{blah blah} contributing to climate change” is BS (bad science). The heap pile of BS (bad science) that includes “{blah blah} contributing to climate change” is too high to be sustainable.

  110. RockyRoad (20:10:16) :
    M. Simon (12:10:41) : We need to undertake a massive project to get the nitrogen out of the environment. No fertilizer for farms. Unless it is dead fish.
    —————-
    Reply: I suppose that, even though the atmosphere is 78% nitrogen, we could figure out a way to get rid of it. Hmmmm…. Still figuring. 😉
     —————-
    The Alchemy of Air: A Jewish Genius, a Doomed Tycoon, and the Scientific Discovery That Fed the World but Fueled the Rise of Hitler
    “At the dawn of the twentieth century, humanity was facing global disaster. Mass starvation, long predicted for the fast-growing population, was about to become a reality. A call went out to the world’s scientists to find a solution.
    This is the story of the two enormously gifted, fatally flawed men who found it: the brilliant, self-important Fritz Haber and the reclusive, alcoholic Carl Bosch. Together they discovered a way to make bread out of air, built city-sized factories, controlled world markets, and saved millions of lives. Their invention continues to feed us today; without it, more than two billion people would starve.
    But their epochal triumph came at a price we are still paying. The Haber-Bosch process was also used to make the gunpowder and high explosives that killed millions during the two world wars. Both men were vilified during their lives; both, disillusioned and disgraced, died tragically. Today we face the other un­intended consequences of their discovery — massive nitrogen pollution and a growing pandemic of obesity.”
     

  111. S.E.Hendriksen (12:24:29) :
    Hereby the latest example of algae bloom…. just in one single day because of flooding in Southern Spain.
    Actually that’s 1 year and 1 day.

  112. Pat Moffitt (14:29:43) :
    Most of our greatest environmental problems – we pay to create via subsidies.
    ————–
    Indeed! Overfishing has largely been a result of government-subsidized fishing industries: the factory trawlers, for example, were not built by the industry, but through government grants. Governments subsidized the modernization of the fleet from sail to steam, or subsidized the construction of large-scale fish processing plants, or used subsidies to allow one nation’s fishery to undercut that of its competitors.

  113. Henry Phipps (19:58:30) :
    (…)
    But, what do I know. I started life as “just a Quaker boy from Illinois.” (…)
    Yeah, so? Nixon was a Quaker.
    I suppose I could dig up a better example, besides William Penn. But hey, Nixon was worthy of being memorialized with an ancient Vulcan saying! That counts!

  114. Gail Combs (15:07:03) :
    The insanity of the politicians is increasing by leaps and bounds. The mega-corporations and the USDA/FDA food “safety” hoax is now pushing “sterile farming techniques modeled after the drug Good Manufacturing Practices. It is called HR 2749: Food Safety’s Scorched Earth Policy.
    —————-
    The practices you describe are truly frightening – these so-called sterile strips sound like the recipe for a dustbowl, not to mention enormous food waste and loss of habitat. Obarmy and his ilk are out of their collective trees – and where is Greenpeace and the EPA on this issue?

  115. S.E.Hendriksen (12:24:29) :
    Hereby the latest example of algae bloom…. just in one single day because of flooding in Southern Spain.
    —-
    You presume too much. There is nothing in the write up regarding algal bloom. Neither do I think one would develop in a single day during a flood when mean temperatures are 44 to 50 degrees F. But if one were developing, wouldn’t it be more in evidence with a color change from the blue range to the green range (various other satellite photos at NASA specifically identifying algal blooms show a green color range) as flood waters leave the wetlands and enter the warmer ocean waters?
    As it is, the blue range appears to be a combination of water depth and siltation. Further, evidence of it being siltation appears in the flood waters further out in the ocean, where rather than a growing bloom, the opposite — a dispersal via sedimentation and the area showing as a darker blue — is the case.

  116. I’ve consulted with the European GHG credit aggregators on mitigation of nitrogen oxide, and was surprised to find that, by far, the great majority of N2O is generated by nitric acid production. It generated a nice price for credits due to its supposed greater impact upon GW.
    At least the complexity of atmospheric chemistry is getting some new attention. Thanks, Anthony, this is good information to disseminate.
    And cheers to Mr. Wayne Delbeke, I agree with your post. I’m a skeptic of the shoddy “science” that the folks from the climatology community keep shoveling at us, but there are also legitimate and pressing environmental problems mixed in with the garbage.
    Agricultural runoff is a big one, we are killing off all the estuaries, fisheries and oyster beds with the effluent from factory poultry farms, over-fertilized fields and the like. Not much really being done about that, either.

  117. Does seaweed have “tree-rings”, we could study ancient seaweed “tree-rings” to discover that such “dead-zones” were an infrequent occurance in the past until about the 1850s, when the would have suddenly increased with a terrifying exponential curve… for one reason or another…I just can’t think of it right now…

  118. This is getting way OT but one last reply about the GMO issue and its parallels with the AWG movement then I’ll desist.
    ” Doug in Dunedin (15:33:07) :
    Tim. You name me any food not harvested from the sea and eaten by man that is NOT genetically modified.”
    Most processed foods in North America do contain it because they rely on the cheapest junk fat and carbs to provide “value” to their customers. You can get a complete list of products that are GMO free a thttp://www.nongmoproject.org/ and the list is growing quickly (some are even cheaper than their GM alternatives much to my surprise).
    If you avoid corn, cotton, soy & canola you can avoid a lot of it. Right now those are the highest (75+ %) GM market penetration. Several others like alfalfa were ordered off the market by the courts because they found the USDA negligent in doing any reasonable environmental impact assessments.
    I do not oppose GMOs but I am not a lab rat. They were rushed to market without proper testing and are now through “accident” spreading even in countries that have banned them. They are the classic double edged sword that science gives us. Great potential and great danger.
    Right now we are polluting the very DNA of our world so greedy, control freak corporations who want to control the entire planet’s seed stocks can make profit. All done with nothing more than “trust us, we’re scientists and we know what we are doing” attitude that strikes me as very much in the same vein as AWG proponents. Sorry but science is NOT based on trust. It is based on repeatable experiments that get consistent results and open data access to name a few things that both the pro-AWG & pro-GMO groups seem hellbent against. That makes me suspicious right away.
    I think the equivalent to this one for the GMO debate is http://www.seedsofdeception.com and until the AWG crowd address the issues raised here and the GMO crowd address the issues raised there I think they are hiding a lot of shoddy research and justifying their existence at the expense of others.

  119. Wouldnt the dying algeal bloom draw co2 out of the atmosphere? This has been proposed already as a solution to global warming, no mention of creating anorobic conditions back then though!

  120. Jimbo (23:40:11) :
    [from the recent Methane panic de jour thread]
    “I posted this comment at Real Climate just yesterday evening GMT.
    ———
    #89 “From Co2 to methane, then what?
    Water Vapour, 40,000 parts per million.
    CO2, 360 parts per million
    Methane, 1.7 parts per million
    Comment by Jimbo — 7 March 2010 @ 6:25 PM”
    Here’s your answer – N2O! 300 parts per billion!

  121. Here is an executive summary:
    Lou Coddswallop, Miss Conditionality et al. 2010:
    “can negatively impact … can elevate … further exacerbating the impacts of global warming … ability to produce … we could see … if.
    appear to have … but this may change … may be causing an unprecedented … may also rise substantially … these waters can increase.
    can cause N2O … what will happen? … We should intensify our observations”
    Not one shred of evidence or data.
    We’re back in the dark ages.

  122. Tim (22:16:02) : Said
    ” Doug in Dunedin (15:33:07) :
    Tim. You name me any food not harvested from the sea and eaten by man that is NOT genetically modified.”
    Most processed foods in North America do contain it because they rely on the cheapest junk fat and carbs to provide “value” to their customers. You can get a complete list of products that are GMO free a thttp://www.nongmoproject.org/ and the list is growing quickly (some are even cheaper than their GM alternatives much to my surprise).
    Tim
    That outfit is of no assistance at all. Your reference is just a blog pushing its own products.
    Anyway you miss the point. All food that has been in cultivation since man began selecting and breeding plants and animals for food has been genetically modified. All that has happened over the years is that the techniques to achieve genetic modification have changed. You are just riling against ‘big business’.

  123. Ed Scott (17:34:14) :
    SENATE EPW MINORITY RELEASES REPORT ON CRU CONTROVERSY
    Ed, what a wonderful job they have done and so much quicker than the UK Comittee and UEA.
    Perhaps Anthony could do an article on it.

  124. In relation to the changing Earth orbit, remember there are other orbiting bodies that change the shape of our orbit. The Earth’s orbit is becoming more elliptical each year as influenced by the outer planets.
    The next ice age is where we are heading.

  125. Another problem is identified, more calamities predicted. $billions for additional research must be granted and spent. Only the collection of additional $trillions in tax dollars will avert the calamity. This will be Al Gore’s source material for “An Inconvenient Truth Part II”

  126. I have an unscientific take on these types of ‘science’ articles ____
    “The increased frequency and intensity of oxygen-deprived “dead zones” along the world’s coasts can negatively impact environmental conditions in far more than just local waters.”
    First sentence — Key word here is ‘can’, stop right there. What if we filled the whole of Chesapeake bay with oil, CAN that make a dead zone — The article infers about fertilizer pollution, N2O, and changes quickly into the notion pollution causes global warming. The mixing of the two is to try and blur the lines, to get people to accept ‘pollution causes global warming’. This is becoming more prevalent as the temperature record and lack of substantiated CO2 forced global warming science fails, and in general the fossil fuel driven global warming theory takes more hits.
    Isn’t it true that no one wants pollution, in any form.
    It’s worth noting — One of the biggest travesties in human history, the junk science of DDT — In the old days, Rachael Carson convinced people that DDT was going to kill off nature in her hoax book Silent Spring. Over 35 million African children died of malaria because of this hoax. After over 30 years of trying by the UN-WHO they found nothing tangible about DDT. Later in late 2006 the UN-WHO allowed DDT to be used once again.
    I also think that the CFCs-Ozone hole theory needs a serious re-looking as well. The Sun UV-A and UV-B produces and destroys ozone in the upper atmosphere …..

  127. This is like an environmental destruction enchilada it rolls the AGW scare, the Ozone hole scare, and the oceans are dieing scare into one delicious meal.
    It seems like all these AGW scare studies were in the pipeline before the AGW hoax blew up. We’re going to continue to see these for awhile kinda like how atmospheric CO2 concentration increase lag behind temperature increases.
    Anyway it’s always darkest before the dawn.

  128. *******
    Mooloo (13:57:54) :
    For example using nuclear power is often considered “carbon neutral”, but it warms the nearby river more than a coal station. It would be worse from the viewpoint of killing rivers, not better.
    *******
    The esteemed EPA doesn’t allow major power plants (nuclear, coal, gas, etc) to directly use river-water (open cycle) for cooling anymore — all stations have to use closed-cycle cooling towers that discard the heat to the air (the big steam-plumes from the cooling towers you see).

  129. “If you build it he will come”
    Translation – If we allow this issue of ‘pollution’ to be passed off to the Goreistas they will make it their own and nothing will be done to rectify actual dead zones where they do exist and are becoming bigger. Gore&Co. don’t fix problems, they make money off them, and they simply make the problem worse by dropping everything into the toilet of AGW.
    The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, and Doctor Lou Codispoti, may already be in Gore’s pocket, and only out to get a couple million in tax money to study “something” to death and buy a new boat or two before asking for a lot more money to do it all again, but bigger. I don’t know them from Adam.
    I got a real earfull form all the comments. I learned a lot. Thanks!

  130. Pascvaks (12:49:09) :
    Note: Not everything is a joke, nor to be made light of without consequence. Think before you laugh too hard, you may just choke to death. AGW sounds like a hoax, smells like a hoax, looks like a hoax, and feels like a hoax. Dead fish and dead seas are not a hoax, don’t smell like a hoax, don’t look like a hoax, and don’t feel like a hoax.

    So true. Fish would be living hundreds of years without this problem. Thus the health care costs for fish are rising unsustainably. I believe a government program is in order.

  131. Frank Kotler (13:01:40) :
    Does this mean I won’t have to buy balloons in the parking lot at Grateful Dead shows anymore?

    Time travel much?

  132. Dioxins – cancer-causing toxic chemical compounds caused by burning plastic, fuel and rubbish – are hard to break down once they get into the food chain. They are also found in dairy products, meat and eggs.”
    But wait. Dioxins are also created by forest fires. And fires are supposed to be good for some forests.
    It looks like no matter what we do we are doomed.
    Perhaps a dioxin capture program is in order. We can pump it into old oil fields.

  133. From what I understand a lot of GM food has been introduced into my diet in the last few decades.
    I do notice over the years that I have been getting older.
    I blame GM foods.

  134. it would be better if we take firm action NOW to re-oxygenate the water in these dead zones;
    Huge fish tank bubblers powered by nuclear power plants on the ocean floor. That is my solution.

  135. Today we face the other un­intended consequences of their discovery — massive nitrogen pollution and a growing pandemic of obesity.
    Yeah. Rich people used to be fat and poor people used to be skinny. Now it is the opposite. Such a tragedy.

  136. Ref – M. Simon (08:23:19) :
    Pascvaks (12:49:09) :
    “Note: Not everything is a joke…”
    So true. Fish would be…
    _________________________
    As I know you are well aware, George Washington said:
    “Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”
    I wasn’t talking about government, I was talking about dead fish and dead water. We’re more alike than you know:-)

  137. Pascvaks (10:06:52) :,
    Yeah. I like that quote too. But it has been brought to my attention that Washington didn’t actually say it. The earliest reference is 1902.
    And I’m not convinced that every natural disaster is a function of man. As some one pointed out up thread. The amounts of N compounds in the water and the amounts used for fertilizer don’t match. And then some one pointed out buffalo. So maybe our fertilizer is just making up in small part for the missing buffalo.
    Maybe dead fish and dead water are natural occurrences. And the cause IMO? Sh*t happens. Naturally.

  138. @ Pascvaks: So, what, in your opinion, has caused this Deathfish crisis lately then? I mean, we know the world has been very gradually warming century by century since the end of the last ice age. Is it just that we’ve reached one of those “tipping points” then?
    Maybe you could offer some thoughts on the Incredible Shrinking Birds too?
    Or maybe you could get real, my friend.

  139. Ref – M. Simon (10:18:44) :
    Pascvaks (10:06:52) :,
    _____________
    Agree. The biggest piece of the mess I see since Katrina was, is, will be NOLA. I more I learned about the city In-The-Way and the once big Delta the more I blamed The Army COE and the Mississippi diversion and flood control system for the biggest piece of the Gulf Dead Zone. I still think Katrina II or III or IV is going to wipe the place out, that it’s only a matter of time (and a lot of taxpayer money down the drain). For my tax money, I’d just as soon rename Baton Rouge or Mobile as “New” Orleans and call it quits in the delta for the next million years.

  140. @vigilantfish ‘Indeed! Overfishing has largely been a result of government-subsidized fishing industries:’
    Personally I think it’s rather what the government didn’t dare to say by law. That industrial size fishing should be subjected to same logic that deforest on industrial size, i.e. replenish with a factor of 10-100 for every single harvest. How expensive can it be, really, to fertilize 100 fish eggs of the most fished species that doesn’t really require any special fishy attention afterwards and still yield a statistical 1-1 ratio?
    Usually people think about farmed salmons when they’re thinking about replenishing the sea, but that’s more like the naz- way of doing stuff and at the same time being amongst the most expensive ways. It’d be cheaper to make sure to fertilize 10-100 more eggs up river, and it would employ more people, fishing, in the end as well. For instance the most cheapest way to replenish the north sea from fish to whale, apparently, and at the same time actually doing good by the polar bears, is to up the amount of krills, so how hard is it to make baby krills?

  141. Just thinking out loud here (I am not a scientist – so I guess that makes me qualified to make outlandish claims about the environment) — the “scientists” claim these dead zones are the result of nutrient rich run off from upriver farms. Lots of algae is produced, they die, float to the bottom, leading to the death of other sea life, which then floats to the bottom.
    If this has been happening for millions of years (forget the farm run-off nonsense) wouldn’t that be an ideal condition for forming hydrocarbons (i.e oil)? Could that explain why the Gulf of Mexico is so rich in oil?
    I am not expert (in this, or anything else, for that matter) but it seems like there might be a connection.
    Just curious.
    Any experts out there?

  142. ” Doug in Dunedin (01:22:21) :
    http://www.nongmoproject.org
    Tim
    That outfit is of no assistance at all. Your reference is just a blog pushing its own products.”
    – The Non-GMO Project is a 3rd party verification program that identifies products compliant with a uniform, consensus-based definition of non-GMO and provides labeling for products that pass.
    – If you had actually read the page listing the participating companies you would see that most compete with each other. They are not “pushing their own products”.
    http://www.nongmoproject.org/consumers/search-participating-products/
    More than 75 different companies with 1716 products that compete against each other in the marketplace.
    “Anyway you miss the point. All food that has been in cultivation since man began selecting and breeding plants and animals for food has been genetically modified. All that has happened over the years is that the techniques to achieve genetic modification have changed.”
    – No it is you who are missing the point. If you think that cross pollination and gene splicing cross species (animal to plant) with a 22 caliber shotgun is in any way related. There are barriers that nature has put up so animal genes and plant genes don’t mix. That you are ignorant of this simple fact is obvious.
    “You are just riling against ‘big business’.”
    – No I am riling against LIES from any source. Government, scientists or businesses, large or small. If they want to call it science then they need to follow the scientific method. That has been absent from the pro AWG and pro GMO groups so far.

  143. From Tim (20:31:32) (emphasis added):
    If you think that cross pollination and gene splicing cross species (animal to plant) with a 22 caliber shotgun
    At this point I see you stringing together two things in a supposedly alarming-sounding way, which ends up describing a rare curiosity used for “miniature” target shooting, utilizing a cartridge possibly suited for killing rats at close range provided they are not the NYC-type behemoths I’ve heard about. Heck, my father had told me how he and his brothers had a target shooting “game” involving .22 shot shells and bumblebees.
    If you meant to indicate using a rare device of limited accuracy and questionable efficacy, whose operation really doesn’t match up to the modern gene splicing techniques as I have read of them, then please confirm such. Until then, well, I have grave doubts you know much at all about what you’re complaining about, and are just saying alarming-sounding things you heard that got you worked up.

  144. Here is a story I just found on El Reg that is perfect for this thread.
    March 11 2010:

    Mutated genetic supertrout developed in lab
    Belgian ‘blue cow’ biotech produces: Das Überfisch
    After ten years of tinkering with DNA in a Rhode Island lab, a top fish boffin claims he has created a genetically enhanced mutant supertrout.
    “Our findings are quite stunning,” says Professor Terry Bradley, an expert on trout, salmon, flounder and tuna. “The results have significant implications.”
    Bradley says he has managed to modify the genetic pattern of rainbow trout so that the tasty fish become hugely more muscular and powerful than normal. Apparently the process is similar to that which occurs in a type of “double muscled” blue cow produced in Belgium.
    “Belgian blue cattle have a natural mutation in myostatin causing increased muscle mass, and mice overexpressing myostatin exhibit a two-fold increase in skeletal muscle mass. But fish have a very different mechanism of muscle growth than mammals, so we weren’t certain it was going to work,” says Bradley.
    (…)

    Interesting reading, highly recommended.

  145. 1DandyTroll (16:11:56) :
    @vigilantfish ‘Indeed! Overfishing has largely been a result of government-subsidized fishing industries:’
    Personally I think it’s rather what the government didn’t dare to say by law. That industrial size fishing should be subjected to same logic that deforest on industrial size, i.e. replenish with a factor of 10-100 for every single harvest. How expensive can it be, really, to fertilize 100 fish eggs of the most fished species that doesn’t really require any special fishy attention afterwards and still yield a statistical 1-1 ratio?
    Usually people think about farmed salmons when they’re thinking about replenishing the sea, but that’s more like the naz- way of doing stuff and at the same time being amongst the most expensive ways. It’d be cheaper to make sure to fertilize 10-100 more eggs up river, and it would employ more people, fishing, in the end as well. For instance the most cheapest way to replenish the north sea from fish to whale, apparently, and at the same time actually doing good by the polar bears, is to up the amount of krills, so how hard is it to make baby krills?
    _____________________________
    If only it were that easy. What you describe – either placing fertilized eggs or hatched fish into waterways or even the ocean – is the Victorian era solution to overfishing. Unfortunately, this method is expensive and not terribly effective. For the northern cod, the average mature female (over 8 years old – lays 5 million eggs each season – it takes that many to have one or two cod survive into the next generation.
    Problems with seeding fertilized eggs into streams and oceans include the fact that hatchery eggs and fry are somehow less ‘robust’ than naturally hatched fish. The real problem is that you would need to capture enormous numbers of fish to create enough eggs to make a difference. I note that there is some idea of releasing eggs in locations where mature fish of the same species are not present, so as to improve the chance of survival. However, any improvements to fish stocks would be incremental, when what is needed is a massive increase in fish populations – in many cases over one hundred fold, to begin to approximate even the heavily-fished populations that existed in the 1960s, before most of the major stock collapses occurred.
    Another problem is with the loss of species such as cod, haddock hake, etc as the top predators, other, less desirable species have replace them (e.g. jellyfish) and so the ‘ecosystem’ has been altered to (possibly) become less favourable to the survival of the more desirable species.
    Fish hatcheries have worked well for ponds and localized fish farming, but are not viable for open ocean species. Historically, the only way that overfished populations have been restored is through the restriction of fishing. So much is still unknown about fish life-histories, natural mortality rates, responses to changing environmental conditions, or even what oceanographic conditions favour successful spawning to create a strong year class, that there is not enough information to create any sound policy for open sea fish population augmentation aside from restricting access to the fish stocks.

  146. I’m surprised no-one seems to have mentioned the Black Sea, the bottom of which is apparently anoxic, with large amounts of Methan Hydrate and Hydrogen Sulphide.
    There are some funny things that live down there. See:-
    http://www.genomenewsnetwork.org/articles/08_02/without_oxygen.shtml
    Curiously, this piece forgets to mention that all this is 90% certainly the fault of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming. Perhaps we now all know to take that as read, seeing that everything else under the sun is also the fault of Catastrophic etc etc etc…..(Yawns, Falls asleep)

  147. “”” vigilantfish (09:38:01) :
    1DandyTroll (16:11:56) :
    @vigilantfish ‘Indeed! Overfishing has largely been a result of government-subsidized fishing industries:’ “””
    Well I think overfishing has been the result of people eating more fish; and in addition the “Omega-3” snake oil scam.
    These shysters go out and net thousands of tons of bait fishes; like menhaden for example; not to use for people food; not even for cat food; and they certainly then aren’t available for the food chain of game and food fishes; no they are the modern substitute for Cod-Liver Oil; the Omega-3 idiocy. In some areas, they simply catch everthing they can of any kind or species, and use it for fertilizer; maybe to grow corn (maize).
    It oughta be illegal to fish for any species of fish, that is not sold as fish either whole or filleted to consumers for human consumption. So this doesn’t impair sardine or anchovy fisheries that end up in cans; or even tinier fishes like “white bait” that are used to make white bait fritters.
    But killing bait fish stocks for voodoo “medicine” for people with more money than sense, is what is disrupting the ocean food chain.
    There are other examples of course. The killing of Bluefin Tuna over 500#; even over 1000# ; in other words, the big spawning females necessary to replenish the stocks, to satisfy the sushi fad; just makes no sense.
    Well I’m not going to waste time on other examples; but if you eat fish; don’t look for any culprit to replace yourself; until you have cleaned up your own act.
    And as for fish hatcheries in fresh water; they are not the panacea, they are cracked up to be. Those brain dead hatchery fish get loose to crossbread with wild fish, and the whole population goes downhill in a hurry.

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