The Total Myth of Ocean Acidification: Science! Edition

Guest myth-busting by David Middleton

From the American Association of Science of America [1]…

Ocean acidification could boost shell growth in snails and sea urchins

By Katie Camero Jul. 23, 2019 , 2:00 PM

The world’s oceans are acidifying rapidly as they soak up massive amounts of the carbon dioxide (CO2) released from burning fossil fuels. That’s bad news for tiny marine critters like coral and sea urchins that make up the base of the ocean food chain: Acidic water not only destroys their shells, but it also makes it harder for them to build new ones. Now, scientists studying sea snails have discovered an unexpected side effect of this acid brew—it can help some of them build thicker, stronger shells by making their food more nutritious.

Often called climate change’s “evil twin,” acidification happens when the ocean absorbs atmospheric CO2. As CO2 dissolves, the process releases hydrogen ions, lowering the water’s pH and increasing its acidity. That acidic water…

[…]

To find out what is happening in the wild, Sean Connell, an ecologist at the University of Adelaide in Australia, and colleagues traveled to underwater CO2 vents off the coast of New Zealand’s White Island (Whakaari). Water near the vents is about as acidic as most of the ocean is predicted to be by the end of the century. The researchers collected five sea snails (Eatoniella mortoni), along with five samples of turf algae, a staple of the sea snails’ diet.

[…]

Despite the idea that some marine organisms can resist the dangers of climate change, Riebesell says biodiversity is still decreasing, especially at CO2 vents, and that could make ecosystems less resilient. “Even if some organisms benefit from warming and acidification, there are still losers,” Riebesell says, “and evolutionary adaptation is not fast enough to compensate for the loss of these losers.”

Science! As in, “she blinded me with…”[2]

The phrase “ocean acidification” was literally invented out of thin air in 2003 by Ken Caldiera to enable liberal arts majors to sound sciencey when scaring the bejesus out of the scientifically illiterate masses. The geochemical process has been well-understood for about 100 years… But didn’t get a crisis-monger nickname until 2003.

When the pH of seawater decreases, calcium carbonate dissolves.  In warm, shallow seas, at a pH of about 8.3, dissolution of aragonite and calcite particles by inorganic processes is almost nonexistent.  However, since the classical studies of the Challenger expedition, it has been known that the proportion of calcium-carbonate particles in seafloor sediments decreases as depth of water increases (Table 5-1).  Such decrease is particularly rapid at depths between 4000 and 6000 m.  Although the reasons for this decrease have been debated, the evidence suggests that calcium carbonate dissolves because the COconcentration increases with depth.  The control on COappears to be part biological; it results from biological oxidation of organic-carbon compounds.  Also, the water masses at greater depth were derived from the polar region; their temperature is lower and the water contains more dissolved CO2. Increased concentration of CO2 is in turn reflected by lower pH, which leads to calcium carbonate dissolution.  However, the increase of pressure with depth may also be involved; such increase affects the dissociation of carbonic acid (Eqs. 5-11 and 5-12).  The depth at which the calcium-carbonate decreases most rapidly is known as the carbonate-compensation depth, defined as the depth at which the rate of dissolution of solid calcium carbonate equals the rate of supply.

Friedman and Sanders, 1978, pages 133-134
Friedman and Sanders, 1978, pages 133-134
Friedman and Sanders, 1978, pages 133-134

Why do you think the Science! journalist is a Liberal Arts major?

Well… There’s this…

Katie Camero
Katie Camero is a Diverse Voices in Science Journalism intern for the News section of Science in Washington, D.C.

Science! As in, “she blinded me with…”[2]

Then there are the things she wrote in this article…

Note: Most of my rebuttals are from these two WUWT posts:

  1. The Total Myth of Ocean Acidification
  2. The Total Myth of Ocean Acidification, Part Deux: The Scientific Basis

The world’s oceans are acidifying rapidly…

Katie Camero, Liberal Arts major

Horst schist!

Figure 1.  Station ALOHA, Hawaiian Ocean Time Series (HOTS) calculated pH (at 25 °C) trend  (Oct. 1988 – Nov. 2016).  Adapted from: Dore, J.E., R. Lukas, D.W. Sadler, M.J. Church, and D.M. Karl. 2009. Physical and biogeochemical modulation of ocean acidification in the central North Pacific. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106:12235-12240

While the Station ALOHA pH trend does exhibit a negative slope and correlates well with pCO2 (R² = 0.8646), most of the values fall within 2δ of the 1994-2005 mean.  Over the past 29 years the pH has dropped from 8.1 to 8.1, rounded to 1 decimal place.

Acidic water not only destroys their shells, but it also makes it harder for them to build new ones.

Katie Camero, Liberal Arts major

Good fracking grief! Seawater can’t become acidic, at least not under real world conditions. A study of seawater pH near active volcanic CO2 vents in the Mediterranean (Kerrison et al., 2011) found that the pH immediately adjacent to the vent was still alkaline, despite being subjected to the equivalent of nearly 5,600 ppm CO2.

Figure 2. CO2 fugacity vs pH.  Data from Kerrison et al., 2011.

Partial pressure and fugacity (μatm) are a little lower than what the mixing ratio (ppm) would be, depending on temperature and humidity.  However, they are close.  A partial pressure (pCO2) of 350 μatm generally equates to about 350 ppm in the atmosphere.   At nearly 5,600 ppm CO2 the seawater was still alkaline, not acidic.

To find out what is happening in the wild, Sean Connell, an ecologist at the University of Adelaide in Australia, and colleagues traveled to underwater CO2 vents off the coast of New Zealand’s White Island (Whakaari). Water near the vents is about as acidic as most of the ocean is predicted to be by the end of the century.

Katie Camero, Liberal Arts major

“An ecologist at the University of Adelaide in Australia” is not an upgrade relative to a Liberal Arts major at Boston University, if they really think that the water near CO2 “vents is about as acidic as most of the ocean is predicted to be by the end of the century.”

The pH of the water nearest to the Mediterranean CO2 vents ranged from 7.01 to 7.15. At least one study from White Island, found “reduced mean pH levels (7.49 and 7.85) relative to background levels of 8.06” (Brinkman & Smith, 2014). Without a reference to pCO2 of the seawater, these numbers are useless.

Atmospheric CO2 is on a trajectory to reach 550-600 ppmv by the end of this century. There is no scientific basis to assert that this will drop the average pH of he open ocean from 8.1 to less than 7.5. Atmospheric CO2 would have to rise to 1,000 to 2,000 ppmv to drive average seawater pH below 7.5.

Figure 3.  Cenozoic seawater pH from boron isotopes in planktonic foraminifera (modified after Pearson & Palmer, 2000). Note that pH was lower than the PETM 51.5 (EECO) and 59.5 Mya. HOTS Station Aloha is added for reference.
Figure 4. Cenozoic CO2 atmospheric mixing ratio and seawater partial pressure.  Notice the huge difference between atmospheric CO2 and pCO2.  Also notice that pCO2 was higher before and after the PETM and that stomata data indicate that CO2 was about what it is today, apart from a short duration spike to about 800 ppmv 55.2 Mya.  Talk about settled science! The Mauna Loa instrumental record (MLO) is added for reference. Note: Tirpati should be Tripati.

Besides, it’s not the pH that matters!

All that matters are the aragonite (Ωarg) and calcite (Ωcal) saturation states.

Figure 5.  Station ALOHA Aragonite and Calcite saturation state trends (Oct. 1988 – Nov. 2016).   Adapted from: Dore, J.E., R. Lukas, D.W. Sadler, M.J. Church, and D.M. Karl. 2009. Physical and biogeochemical modulation of ocean acidification in the central North Pacific. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106:12235-12240

While the addition of CO2 to seawater will lower the Ωarg and Ωcal, increasing the temperature will increase the saturation states. And temperature dominates pCO2.

In situ Ωarg vs. pCO2

Figure 6.  Station ALOHA aragonite saturation vs pCO2 in situ.  Adapted from: Dore, J.E., R. Lukas, D.W. Sadler, M.J. Church, and D.M. Karl. 2009. Physical and biogeochemical modulation of ocean acidification in the central North Pacific. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106:12235-12240

Note that In situ Ωarg has a much better correlation to SST than to in situ pCO2

Figure 7.  SST vs aragonite saturation.  Adapted from: Dore, J.E., R. Lukas, D.W. Sadler, M.J. Church, and D.M. Karl. 2009. Physical and biogeochemical modulation of ocean acidification in the central North Pacific. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106:12235-12240

Despite the idea that some marine organisms can resist the dangers of climate change, Riebesell says biodiversity is still decreasing, especially at CO2 vents, and that could make ecosystems less resilient. “Even if some organisms benefit from warming and acidification, there are still losers,” Riebesell says, “and evolutionary adaptation is not fast enough to compensate for the loss of these losers.”

Katie Camero, Liberal Arts major

Well… Duh! Ries et al., 2009 conducted a laboratory experiment on a representative sample of marine calcifiers (oceanic critters that make shells, tests, carapaces, etc. out of CaCO3)…

To investigate the impact of ocean acidification on a range of benthic marine calcifiers, we reared 18 calcifying species for 60 d in isothermal (25 °C; see the Data Repository for discussion) experimental seawaters equilibrated with average pCO2 values (±SD) of 409 (±6), 606 (±7), 903 (±12), and 2856 (±54) ppm, corresponding to modern pCO2, and ~2, 3, and 10 times pre-industrial levels (~280 ppm), respectively, and yielding average seawater saturation states (±SD) of 2.5 (±0.4), 2.0 (±0.4), 1.5 (±0.3), and 0.7 (±0.2) with respect to aragonite (see the Data Repository for detailed methods). These carbonate system parameters were selected to represent the range of values predicted for the coming millennium (Brewer, 1997; Feely et al., 2004) and to span those reported to have occurred since mid-Cretaceous time (ca. 110 Ma; Royer et al., 2004; Tyrrell and Zeebe, 2004). The organisms’ net rates of calcifi cation (total calcification minus total dissolution) under the various pCO2 treatments were estimated from changes in their buoyant weight and verified with dry weight measurements after harvesting.

Ries et al., 2009

The aragonite saturation data from Station ALOHA indicate that critical levels would occur at much higher pCO2 levels than Ries’ formulations.  Most of the marine calcifier taxa were relatively unaffected below the equivalent of 600-900 ppm CO2.

Taxa without a strong preference for aragonite over calcite, that had a higher degree of organic cover and those that utilized photosynthesis tended to fare better under high COconditions.  Some of the best seafood (crab, shrimp & lobster) thrive in under high COconditions.

Figure 8.  Figure 1 from Ries (Left), red boxes approximate current calcification rate range.    (Right) Letters indicate the pCO2 level at which the calcification rate drops below the current range.   Adapted from: Dore, J.E., R. Lukas, D.W. Sadler, M.J. Church, and D.M. Karl. 2009. Physical and biogeochemical modulation of ocean acidification in the central North Pacific. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106:12235-12240  and Ries, Justin B., Anne L. Cohen, Daniel C. McCorkle; Marine calcifiers exhibit mixed responses to CO2-induced ocean acidification. Geology ; 37 (12): 1131–1134. doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/G30210A.1

The only marine calcifier which appears to be in peril at pCO2 levels likely to be reached in the next few centuries is the soft clam,  Mya arenaria,… And this is fracking HILARIOUS!!!

The high tolerance of environmental factors is reflected in two statements made by Hidu & Newell (1989) about clam culture: “Mya larvae are among the most hardy that we have reared; one has to work overtime with incompetence to destroy a brood.” and “If Mya are hardy as larvae they are even more hardy as juveniles.”

Strasser, 1998

Do I need to explain this?

Ries et al., 2009 tried as hard as they could to wipe out marine calcifiers with “ocean acidification.”  The only taxa, they were able to even remotely imperil was Mya arenaria (called “steamers” where I grew up)… possibly the hardiest of all hardy marine calcifiers.  This bit can’t be repeated too often…

“Mya larvae are among the most hardy that we have reared; one has to work overtime with incompetence to destroy a brood.”

You really couldn’t make this schist up if you were trying.   Mya arenaria is possibly the most successful invasive species of the Phanerozoic Eon… It was an invasive species before Adam met Eve… Long before Adam met Eve.  Yet, it is the only taxa that Ries et al., 2009 managed to “work overtime with incompetence to destroy a brood.”

References

Brinkman T. J., Smith A. M. (2014) “Effect of climate change on crustose coralline algae at a temperate vent site, White Island, New Zealand”. Marine and Freshwater Research 66, 360-370.

Dore, J.E., R. Lukas, D.W. Sadler, M.J. Church, and D.M. Karl. 2009. “Physical and biogeochemical modulation of ocean acidification in the central North Pacific”. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106:12235-12240

Friedman, G.M. and Sanders, J.E. (1978) “Principles of Sedimentology”. Wiley, New York.

Kerrison, Phil & Hall-Spencer, Jason & Suggett, David & Hepburn, Leanne & Steinke, Michael. (2011). “Assessment of pH variability at a coastal CO2 vent for ocean acidification studies.” Estuarine and Coastal Marine Science. 94. 129-137. 10.1016/j.ecss.2011.05.025.

Pagani, M., J.C. Zachos, K.H. Freeman, B. Tipple, and S. Bohaty. 2005. “Marked Decline in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Concentrations During the Paleogene”. Science, Vol. 309, pp. 600-603, 22 July 2005.

Pearson, P. N. and Palmer, M. R.: “Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations over the past 60 million years”. Nature, 406, 695–699,https://doi.org/10.1038/35021000, 2000.

Ries, Justin B., Anne L. Cohen, Daniel C. McCorkle; “Marine calcifiers exhibit mixed responses to CO2-induced ocean acidification”. (2009). Geology ; 37 (12): 1131–1134. doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/G30210A.1

Royer, et al., 2001. “Paleobotanical Evidence for Near Present-Day Levels of Atmospheric CO2 During Part of the Tertiary”. Science 22 June 2001: 2310-2313. DOI:10.112

Strasser M, 1999. “Mya arenaria: an ancient invader of the North sea coast”. Helgolander Meeresunters 52:309–324.

Tripati, A.K., C.D. Roberts, and R.A. Eagle. 2009.  “Coupling of CO2 and Ice Sheet Stability Over Major Climate Transitions of the Last 20 Million Years”.  Science, Vol. 326, pp. 1394 1397, 4 December 2009.  DOI: 10.1126/science.1178296

Pop Culture References

[1] American Association of Science of America

[2] Science! As in, “she blinded me with…”

Thomas Dolby – She Blinded Me With Science from Mad Hatter on Vimeo.

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116 thoughts on “The Total Myth of Ocean Acidification: Science! Edition

  1. I doubt that Ms Camero would understand this, particularly as it runs counter to her prejudices.

    In the meantime the alarmist juggernaut sails on.

    • Juggernauts do not sail despite the poor transliteration of Sanskrit natha, ‘lord’, into naut.

  2. “Besides, it’s not the pH that matters!

    All that matters are the aragonite (Ωarg) and calcite (Ωcal) saturation states.”

    So after all the nonsense about pH 7 etc, the truth emerges. Yes, it’s not the pH that matters. And CO2 does dissolve CaCO3. How much is the issue, but the fact that the (buffered) pH changes slowly is not the measure.

    • Hence the total myth of ocean ACIDIFICATION… The correct phrase is “carbonate geochemistry.”

      • Acidification, de-alkalination, its all a bit semantic really. I sure as hell wouldn’t want the carbonate geochemistry of my blood to change that much.

        Acidemia is said to occur when arterial pH falls below 7.35, while its counterpart (alkalemia) occurs at a pH over 7.45.

        Signs and symptoms include headaches, confusion, feeling tired, tremors, sleepiness, flapping tremor, and dysfunction of the cerebrum of the brain which may progress to coma.

        Life, so delicately balanced.

        • Setting aside the feeble red herring fallacy…

          The oceans aren’t delicately balanced. Coastal seawater pH can vary by more than 1 pH unit on a daily basis. GBR seawater has varied by 0.2 pH units in concert with the PDO for hundreds of years, totally ignoring atmospheric CO2. For atmospheric CO2 to significantly alter seawater pH, it would have to rise to well-over 1,000 ppm.

          On top of all that, it’s not the pH that matters, it’s the saturation state of calcite and aragonite that matters, and they aren’t significantly changing.

        • Loydo, that’s a silly, kindergarten analogy. Even you can do better than that. But be careful of your delicate balance.

        • “Life, so delicately balanced.”-Loydo

          You need to consider life in terms of the word Homeostasis.

          Homeostasis definition: the tendency of a system, especially the physiological system of higher animals, to maintain internal stability, owing to the coordinated response of its parts to any situation or stimulus that would tend to disturb its normal condition or function.”

          “Homeostasis is the tendency of organisms to auto-regulate and maintain their internal environment in a stable state.”

          You as a person can leave the terrestrial environment bathed in atmospheric gas, plunge into a fresh water river or lake, emerge back to the terrestrial realm and plunge directly into the ocean environment without suffering a chemical shock that is fatal, even though you have whip-sawed your skin with enormous environmental changes. Why? Because we auto-regulate our internal chemistry, as do all marine organisms.

          Marine organism Shell formation happens in isolation from the variable external ocean environment, as it has over the aeons. Isn’t Life a marvel?

        • “Life, so delicately balanced.”-Loydo

          Search term: Homeostasis.

          “Homeostasis is the tendency of organisms to auto-regulate and maintain their internal environment in a stable state.”-Wiki

          Academia: Signs and symptoms include headaches, confusion, feeling tired, tremors, sleepiness, flapping tremor, and dysfunction of the cerebrum of the brain which may progress to coma. Did I forget to include hysteria?

          Marine organisms have been busily growing shells isolated by their tissues from the hostile and variable marine environment for aeons. Isn’t life a marvel of perseverance?

    • If ocean acidification is possible…it dissolves calcium carbonate…acidification has to, that’s the buffer…..kills corals and plankton with calcium carbonate structures by dissolving them.

      When corals with calcium carbonate skeletons evolved when CO2 levels were over 10 times higher….
      .and the White Cliffs of Dover formed from plankton with calcium carbonate shells when CO2 levels were almost 3 times higher?

      CO2 levels many times higher…could not have caused acidification…corals would not have evolved, they would have dissolved…..plankton with calcium carbonate shells would not have evolved, it would have dissolved

      ..and even if the had evolved….acidification would have dissolved any trace of them…because the only trace we have of them is their calcium carbonate skeletons

      .more CO2 in the ocean makes plankton with calcium carbonate skeletons grow better and faster…just like plants
      CO2 does not make the ocean acid….

      Phytoplankton calcification in a high-CO2 world.

      Abstract
      Ocean acidification in response to rising atmospheric CO2 partial pressures is widely expected to reduce calcification by marine organisms. From the mid-Mesozoic, coccolithophores have been major calcium carbonate producers in the world’s oceans, today accounting for about a third of the total marine CaCO3 production. Here, we present laboratory evidence that calcification and net primary production in the coccolithophore species Emiliania huxleyi are significantly increased by high CO2 partial pressures. Field evidence from the deep ocean is consistent with these laboratory conclusions, indicating that over the past 220 years there has been a 40% increase in average coccolith mass. Our findings show that coccolithophores are already responding and will probably continue to respond to rising atmospheric CO2 partial pressures, which has important implications for biogeochemical modeling of future oceans and climate.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18420926

      • Growing corals turn water more acidic without suffering damage

        More acidic water may be a sign of healthy corals, says a new study, muddying the waters still further on our understanding of how coral reefs might react to climate change.

        Andreas Andersson of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California, and his colleagues carefully monitored a coral reef in Bermuda for five years, and found that spikes in acidity were linked to increased reef growth.

        https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28468-growing-corals-turn-water-more-acidic-without-suffering-damage/

        • Read here recently: the limitation on coral growth in shallow waters is the unavailability of more CO2. Corals alter the pH of the waters they live in, until they run out of CO2.

          From the article above: “Often called climate change’s “evil twin,” acidification happens when the ocean absorbs atmospheric CO2. As CO2 dissolves, the process releases hydrogen ions, lowering the water’s pH and increasing its acidity. That acidic water…”

          It doesn’t seem to have occurred to the authors that there is a large exit of CO2 from the oceans due to all that global warming they keep finding. If the ocean warms, CO2 enters the atmosphere. Then they worry about all that CO2 going back into the oceans that it just came out of. So which is it? CO2 leaving the oceans or entering them? Or are we supposed to be doubly scared, individually?

          If the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is X and rises to Y, and the oceans warm up (presumably from global warming) then are we back to X after all?

          How do we know that the slight change in pH near Hawaii was not due to ocean cooling? Does the pH change match the CO2 concentration in the air? If so, then it means the oceans are not warming after all. It should not match the concentration, it should match the combination of temperature rise (supposedly) and CO2 increase. Yes?

          I appreciate the comment that the concentration would reach >5600 ppm before the alkaline water pH drops to neutral. That is a number worth remembering.

          • I think if we burned all of the current proved reserves of oil, gas and coal in about four hours, we might be able to get the 5600 ppm… /Sarc

          • Crispin, they sorta got their horse and cart confused.

            The corals eat more….they poop and pee more..but if the corals are eating more…they are not the only thing eating more….bacteria crank up…ammonification, nitrification, denitrification, etc….produce acids

            there are no clean surfaces in the ocean…it’s all one big bacterial biological filter
            the amount of acid produced is unfathomable….CO2 would not even register

        • Latitude,

          In oceans, shouldn’t “spikes in acidity” always be referred to as”decreases in alkalinity”?

  3. “American Association of Science of America” something conjured out of thin air?
    Never heard of it, and outside of this WUWT post neither has Google.

  4. The dimwits promoting this scare are clueless about Physical Chemistry. The buffering effect of all that carbonate and bicarbonate ion in seawater swamps any acidification by atmospheric CO2.

    • That’s right! Moreover, the buffer effect of the carbonate-bicarbonate system is enhanced due to the presence of borates and silicates in seawater.

    • Indeed they are!

      The leader of the Green Party here in the U.K. and the only Green Party MP we have is Caroline Lucas. She has a PhD and has been introduced as “Dr Caroline Lucas” at various events.

      When I saw her years ago she clearly had her oxides of Carbon mixed up! It was as tho’ monoxide and dioxide were interchangeable to her.

      I thought “What the hell has she achieved a PhD in?”

      So I looked it up.

      It’s:-

      “A study of Women as Reader in Romantic Elizabethan Romance”

      Could you possibly make this up?

      • Caroline Lucas is a walking, breathing exemplar of the Dunning-Kruger Effect. She is unbelievably ignorant and dumb, but rates her intellect extraordinarily highly.

      • Okay, that is 20 minutes I will never get back.

        I looked up ‘A study of Woman as Reader…’ and discovered it was vanity press published and available from Amazon. There is a preview available, from which I have concluded two things.

        – Caroline, for example, is not a great wordsmith, for example.
        and
        – women in Elizabethan times read books, which were written for them, but by men and hence still somehow oppressed them.

        Right… And from this Caroline is a Doctor…

        Ladies and Gentlemen? Higher Education.

  5. Doesn’t a warming ocean have a net outgassing of all gases including CO2?

    Does rising atmospheric CO2 stop the net outgassing and actually cause a net ingassing of CO2?

    I thought that over 90% of the combined ocean/atmosphere CO2 was in the oceans so it seems to me that it would take an enormous amount of CO2 ingassing to make any appreciable ph change in the oceans,

    • So a colder ocean as we had before the current warm Holocene period during 90,000 years should in theory hold much more CO2.

        • Not when CO2 is being added to the atmosphere at a far higher rate, then the net flow is into the ocean. This is the case at present.

      • Yes. And that is the probable reason behind the low pCO2 during glacial periods, and the reason why CO2 lags temperature by 1,000-5,000 years. The deep ocean reacts slowly.

      • And, during the Phanerozoic Eon, the oceans have never, with the possible exception of the Ordovician glaciation, been colder than they are during the current Ice Age.

      • It definitely could: “The ocean can handle all the carbon that is left for humanity to burn. There is enough calcium in the upper 200meters of the ocean to combine with all CO2 that you can burn from what we call the null reserves of fossil fuel” ~ Dr. Tom Segalstad https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-g-c_WbJWAQ

  6. Doesn’t a warming ocean have a net outgassing of all gases including CO2?

    Does rising atmospheric CO2 stop the net outgassing and actually cause a net ingassing of CO2?

    I thought that over 90% of the combined ocean/atmosphere CO2 was in the oceans so it seems to me that it would take an enormous amount of CO2 ingassing to make any appreciable ph change in the oceans,

    • there are no clean surfaces in the ocean…it’s all one big biological filter….and the amount of acids produced by those processes is unfathomable…

      CO2 is totally a non player

    • “Doesn’t a warming ocean have a net outgassing of all gases including CO2?”
      Not if the cause of warming is us puutting CO2 in the air.

      Where do you think it goes. With burning and land clearing, we have added about 550 Gtons C to the air. That would have been enough to double the concentration. It is also about equal to the total mass of land biosphere. But fortunately, only about half that carbon has stayed in the air. The rest went into the sea. Where else? That is the net flow.

      • I LOVE these wild guesses about vast quantities of gasses. The “indirect measurements” for these massive quantities all have margins of error that make these guesses damn near useless but warmists state them without reservation or hint of skepticism about their scale. Just tack on some peer reviewed claims, get the paper published in a journal whose reviewers are all ideological fellow travelers – and viola – a new grant for the next quarter is guaranteed.

        It does not matter that these numbers are just bullshit estimates. They are PEER REVIEWED bullshit estimates. It does not matter that you could never build a structure with the guesswork of this level involved and have it not topple over immediately — its PEER REVIEWED.

        Come on, man. I get that everyone gets together at a conference and all agree that scientist X’s bullshit estimate for a feature of the world that cannot possibly be directly or plausibly indirectly measured is the CONSENSUS — but agreed upon bullshit is still bullshit.

  7. … biodiversity is still decreasing, especially at CO2 vents …

    OK, what does that remotely have to do with anthropogenic CO2 emissions. It is a complete red herring.

    • Damn! I missed ridiculing that!

      Unless these are brand-spanking-new CO2 vents, the “biodiversity” has already adjusted to them.

      • So much ridiculing and so little time. As one old time geologist to another “may the force be strong with you” and your ridiculing!!

      • “Unless these are brand-spanking-new CO2 vents”

        You beat me to it! 🙂

        If they were old CO2 vents, then whatever lives there has already adapted to them, and any loss of species would have to be related to somthing other than CO2.

  8. Good article.

    “Seawater can’t become acidic, at least not under real world conditions.”

    Yes. It’s worth repeating that pure water is far more “acidic” than the ocean is ever predicted to get. If CO2 was going to ever cause a pH crisis then it would happen in less-buffered fresh water systems first. But it doesn’t. Life forms self-buffer to a far greater extent than can ever be a problem due to CO2 in the real world. Any changes are likely net beneficial because the base of the food chain wants more, not less, CO2.

    • Yes, but an “unmeasurably small decrease in seawater pH” doesn’t sound nearly scary enough.

      • “Shoaling of the lysocline” just doesn’t gin up panic-stricken research grants. Moving the pelagic sediment boudary between globigerina ooze and red clay ooze a little be shoreward just doesn’t “sinc” like “turning the oceans” into battery acid does.

        This is from Sverdrup, Johnson & Fleming, 1942… 61 years before Kan Caldeira called it “ocean acidification”…

        kt167nb66r_fig253kt167nb66r_chart01

        SJF42

         

        DISTRIBUTION OF PELAGIC SEDIMENTS

        General Features of DistributionFigure 253 shows the distribution of the various types of pelagic sediments. The representation is generalized partly to avoid confusion and partly because of the incomplete knowledge as to the types of sediments found in many parts of the oceans. Any such presentations of the distribution of pelagic sediments are modified versions of maps originally prepared by Sir John Murray and his associates. Further investigations have changed the boundaries but have not materially affected the general picture. The figure has been prepared from the most recent sources available. The distribution of sediments in the Indian Ocean is based on a map by W. Schott (1939a), that in the Pacific Ocean is from W. Schott in G. Schott (1935), with some revisions based on Revelle’s studies of the samples collected by the Carnegie (Revelle, 1936). The data for the Atlantic have been drawn from a number of sources, since no comprehensive map has been prepared for many years. The Meteormaterial has been described by Correns (1937 and 1939) and Pratje (1939a). Thorp’s report (1931) on the sediments of the Caribbean and the western North Atlantic was used for those areas, and Pratje’s data (1939b) for the South Atlantic were supplemented by those of Neaverson (1934) for the Discovery samples. The distribution in the North Atlantic is from Murray (Murray and Hjort, 1912).

        One type of shading has been used for all of the calcareous sediments and another for the siliceous sediments. Unless the symbol P is shown to indicate that the area is covered with pteropod ooze, it is to be understood that the calcareous sediment is globigerina ooze. The siliceous organic sediments are indicated as D for diatom ooze and Rfor radiolarian ooze. The unshaded areas of the oceans and seas are covered with terrigenous sediments.

        Various features of the distribution of pelagic sediments should be pointed out:

        1. Pelagic sediments are restricted to the large ocean basins.

        2. Red clay and globigerina ooze are the predominant types of deposits.

        3. Diatom oozes are restricted to a virtually continuous belt around Antarctica and a band across the North Pacific Ocean.

        4. Radiolarian ooze is almost entirely limited to the Pacific Ocean, where it covers a wide band in the equatorial region.

        5. Pteropod ooze occurs in significant amounts only in the Atlantic Ocean.

        6. The width of the area of terrigenous sediments depends upon a number of factors such as the depth and the supply of material, but it should be noted that in general it is more extensive in high latitudes. The North Polar Basin and the seas adjacent to the northern Pacific and Atlantic Oceans are covered with terrigenous sediments. As will be shown later, the terrigenous sediments of lower latitudes are largely composed of calcareous remains of benthic organisms in contrast to those of higher latitudes, which are chiefly made up of mineral fragments.

        7. Although no depth contours are shown in fig. 253, comparison with chart I will show that the distribution of red clay and calcareous oozes is restricted to those portions of the ocean floor with moderate or great depths.

        8. The boundaries between different types of sediments are not distinct, since one form will graduate into another with interfingering where the topography is irregular. However, a glance at the figure will show that the marginal belts are small compared to the tremendous areas of readily classified sediments, and it is for this reason that the system of classification can be considered valid.

        Area of Ocean Bottom Covered by Pelagic Sediments.

        In table 106 are given the areas covered by the different types of pelagic sediments. The values were obtained from fig. 253. Pelagic sediments cover 268.1 × 106km2 of the earth’s surface, that is, 74.3 per cent of the sea bottom. The calcareous oozes (47.7 per cent), notably globigerina ooze, are the most extensive, with red clay (38.1 per cent) next in importance among the pelagic deposits. Siliceous oozes cover only 14.2 per cent of the total area.

        AREAS COVERED BY PELAGIC SEDIMENTS (MILLIONS KM2)
        Atlantic Ocean Pacific Ocean Indian Ocean Total
        Area % Area % Area % Area %
        Calcareous oozes:
          Globigerina 40.1 51.9 34.4
          Pteropod 1.5
            Total 41.6 67.5 51.9 36.2 34.4 54.3 127.9 47.7
        Siliceous oozes:
          Diatom 4.1 14.4 12.6
          Radiolarian 6.6 0.3
            Total 4.1 6.7 21.0 14.7 12.9 20.4 38.0 14.2
        Red clay 15.9 25.3 70.3 49.1 16.0 25.3 102.2 38.1
        61.6 100.0 143.2 100.0 63.3 100.0 268.1 100.0

        The percentages of the total area of pelagic sediments in the three oceans covered by the major types of sediments are as follows:

        Sediment Indian Ocean Pacific Ocean Atlantic Ocean
        Calcareous oozes 54.3 36.2 67.5
        Siliceous oozes 20.4 14.7 6.7
        Red clay 25.3 49.1 25.8
        100.0 100.0 100.0

        It will be seen that calcareous deposits predominate in the Indian and the Atlantic Oceans, but that in the Pacific Ocean, which is somewhat deeper, red clay is the most extensive. Of the total areas covered by the three major types of sediments the percentage distribution in the three oceans is as follows:


        ― 978 ―
        Sediment Calcareous oozes Siliceous oozes Red clay
        Indian Ocean 26.9 33.9 15.7
        Pacific Ocean 40.6 55.3 68.7
        Atlantic Ocean 32.5 10.8 15.6
        100.0 100.0 100.0

        The Pacific Ocean, because of its great size, contains the largest percentage of all of the three types and actually over 50 per cent of the siliceous oozes and red clay.

        Depth Range of Pelagic Sediments. Depth is generally considered as one of the factors controlling the distribution of the different types of marine sediments. According to Murray’s classification, deep-sea sediments are restricted to depths greater than about 200 m, and in general pelagic sediments are found only at considerably greater depths. Although there is some difference in the depth distribution in the three oceans, data are not comparable, and the following values for globigerina and pteropod oozes and red clay are from Murray and Chumley (1924), representing the results of studies made on 1426 samples from the Atlantic Ocean. The values for diatom and radiolarian oozes are from Andrée (1920).

        Sediment Samples Depth (m)
        Minimum Maximum Average
        Globigerina ooze 772   777 6006 3612
        Pteropod ooze   40   713 3519 2072
        Diatom ooze   28 1097 5733 3900
        Radiolarian ooze     9 4298 8184 5292
        Red clay 126 4060 8282 5407

        Although the ranges overlap, indicating that factors other than depth control the distribution of pelagic sediments, it can be seen that radiolarian ooze and red clay are characteristic of depths greater than 4000 m, whereas the calcareous sediments and diatom oozes are generally restricted to the lesser depths.

        https://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=kt167nb66r&chunk.id=d2_6_ch20&toc.id=&brand=eschol

        The Oceans Their Physics, Chemistry, and General Biology

        H. U. Sverdrup

        Professor of Oceanography, University of California
        Director, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

        Martin W. Johnson

        Assistant Professor of Marine Biology, University of California
        Scripps Institution of Oceanography

        Richard H. Fleming

        Assistant Professor of Oceanography, University of California
        Scripps Institution of Oceanography
        Prentice-Hall, Inc.
        New York

        1942

        https://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=kt167nb66r;bran

    • Rain water is 10,000% more acidic than sea water and we all know how corrosive rain water is.

  9. Anybody know the pH of the ocean?

    It’s a rhetorical question of course since the ocean doesn’t have a pH value. Instead, the pH varies from place to place and in some places varies on a yearly basis, seasonal basis, monthly basis, daily basis and an hourly basis.

    Same as the earth’s temperature.

  10. Calcium carbonate solubility is complex. As the water warms, it holds LESS calcium carbonate, and given a nucleation site, it will come out of solution. As ocean temperatures vary a good bit around the world, and at various depths, the solubility will vary greatly, also. If the water borders the atmosphere, as shallows do, the atmospheric CO2 can significantly impact solubility also. Given the complexities, field studies at the site of the specific organism of interest are the best way to figure out what is happening to that organism. But given all of the known factors that significantly impact the solubility of calcium carbonate, they should be monitored, and controlled for. Generalizations do not apply very well, given the widely varying conditions in all of the different environments.

  11. Good assembling of diverse data into a good comment about ocean acidification, David. The depth of Calcite/Carbonate Compensation, 4,000 to 6,000 meters, is used by stratigraphers to suggest depth of sedimentation. RE the CO2-rich, cold water from polar regions sinking into the ocean depths and supporting less carbonate particles, the carbonate structured sea life in the polar regions is abundant (and tasty!), and this suggests to me that it is the increasing pressure that reduces carbonate particles. Aragonite is a poorly-organized crystal structure which tolerates a lot of add-on cations, does not fizz under attack by acid, and is a candidate, along with cockroaches I guess, to be ultimate survivors in this planet. So, ocean acidification? Never mind.

    • And they zone in on the aragonite saturation… which is more affected than the calcite saturation. Aragonitic seas have been the exception rather than the rule during the Phanerozoic Eon…

  12. But you are saying that 1000-2000 ppm CO2 could actually lower the ocean pH to 7.5? Really?
    Surface water? How deep?

    “Atmospheric CO2 is on a trajectory to reach 550-600 ppmv by the end of this century. There is no scientific basis to assert that this will drop the average pH of he open ocean from 8.1 to less than 7.5. Atmospheric CO2 would have to rise to 1,000 to 2,000 ppmv to drive average seawater pH below 7.5.”

    • Seawater pH varies with depth. In and below the lysocline, it’s usually in the low 7’s.

      The lysocline is the water depth raange between the dashed lines…

      At Station Aloha, the pH of the deepwater profile is in the mid 7’s.

      https://www.pnas.org/content/106/30/12235

      This is from Pearson & Palmer, 2000…

      Here we use the boron-isotope ratios of ancient planktonic foraminifer shells to estimate the pH of surface-layer sea water throughout the past 60 million years, which can be used to reconstruct atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

      https://www.nature.com/articles/35021000

      The pH levels on this graph are for surface waters.

      There is an odd bit of circular reasoning here: Pre-industrial pH levels are calculated from atmospheric CO2 estimates and CO2 estimates older than ice core data (~800,000 years) are estimated from pH levels calculated from boron-isotope ratios in foram’s and other carbonate deposits. The math works, except when it doesn’t.

      Coral reefs are great coring locations, unfortunately, there are so many other processes going on, that CO2 has no affect on pH…

      The pH of Flinders Reef more closely correlates to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation…

      My SWAG is that this is a function of temperature and/or salinity.

  13. “Even if some organisms benefit from warming and acidification, there are still losers,” Riebesell says, “and evolutionary adaptation is not fast enough to compensate for the loss of these losers.”

    Is that a fact. It seems to me that if there was an evolutionary advantage to being able to grow one’s shell more efficiently then those specimens that could, would breed and thrive and natural selection would take care of them in the kinds of timeframes they need. This isn’t a case of needing genetic mutations which is much slower.

    • A good point. Studies on the evolution of antibiotic-resistance can depend strongly on the size of the flask used. Claims made about how ocean life forms will adapt over time are almost certainly not sampling the full genetic diversity of the oceans, even for a single species. How they adapt wrt each other in a complex ecosystem is almost totally unknown.

  14. Here is a much simpler explanation as to why acidification of the ocean due to driving SUVs is junk science. Several years ago I saw a lecture by an economist who was talking about peak oil. He said that all the oil man has pulled out of the ground was about equal to the volume of water in lake Tahoe. Lake Tahoe is a very big lake but if you go to it on Google Earth and zoom out you can easily see how insignificant it is compared to the ocean. Not to mention that much of the volume of oil is hydrogen.

    • Another explanation why acidification of the ocean is impossible, as given to me by an oceanographer: “The ocean consists of an alkaline liquid in an alkaline container”

      • What is the oceanic crust composed of? Basalt.

        Pyroxene: Sodium Calcium Magnesium Iron Aluminum Silicate

        Plagioclase feldspar: Calcium Magnesium Aluminum Silicate

        Amphibole: More calcium and magnesium

        Micas: A wee bit more calcium and magnesium

  15. I really do not understand.
    1) As a kid, my friends and I would swim at the local lake. The whole town did. We were all familiar with the local shellfish of various sorts. This was common experience for one and all. With fresh water systems far more acidic than ocean water, if ocean acidification was a problem, these freshwater species would not exist. But they do, in abundance.

    2) Later on I was fortunate enough to travel to far off locations. On one island, you can see a great profusion of shellfish just off the beach amid streams of carbon dioxide gas coming up off the bottom and rising to the surface. The carbon dioxide is produced by the volcanic hot spot deep below. One location is so convenient with the outgassing so dramatic that the place is a tourist attraction. Clearly, the scientific community is well aware of these sites and their importance. As such they have been well studied, as you would expect.

    3) Back in the day:
    Graduate school in Chemistry. The Marine Sciences people were working on the ocean pH problem. It was important to them because a whole host of reactions they were interested in have a pH dependence. They knew way back then that the problem was enormously complex with lots of “moving parts”, and an approximation was the best they could hope for, if they could do even that. The one thing they were sure of was any simplistic formula based on atmospheric carbon dioxide was just plain wrong.
    My small part in this mess was to empirically measure some binding constants of some generic “natural” organics to some hydrated colloids. Very curious, the selected hydrated colloids were also pH buffers in seawater. So at least some of the seawater components have multiple roles in both binding chemistry and in pH equilibrium chemistry. And, yes, seawater is pH buffered.
    Even a casual look at the system by any disinterested observer would reveal huge complexities. The failings of any simplistic model would be immediately apparent.

    4) You have to love the Biochemistry types. Lifeforms of all conceivable descriptions control their intracellular pH via a biochemical process known as the Proton Pump (surprise!). One of the big claims to fame of the Proton Pump is that it is extremely energy efficient. It can work over a wide range without requiring an inordinate amount of energy from the cell. So we see not only that organisms have some tolerance to pH changes but why. The day/night pH swings of some biologically active marine sites like kelp beds and coral reefs have been measured and found to be greater than 1 full pH unit. (wow!)

    In conclusion:
    For someone to claim that ocean acidification due to carbon dioxide could/might/maybe become a problem has to be ignorant of all of the above.

    • TonyL,
      Thank you for the reminders of real world complexities.
      Back in the 1970s I did some considerable work on electrodes, not just pH and conductivity, but the emerging specific ion types like Na, F, and more, led by Orion Research, Mass.,USA.
      The work included soil/water extracts and the like, a few on sea water, some blood serum, saliva, etc but certainly a greater range than the pure solutions that most lab research never goes beyond.
      In summary, I gave up this work after about a year because it became too complex for my single, simple brain. The impacts of solids in suspension, colloids, near-colloids and biological material were large, hard to reproduce and hard to systematise.
      Consequently, this hands-on research caused me to be highly sceptical of solution studies involving pH, as most must to, when the author appears unaware of such complexity. Expressed ignorance is common. Even the definition of pH, using concentration instead of activity terms, is often wrong. Authors unaware of the Debye and Huckel equations should be treated with distrust until shown otherwise.
      There have been occasional, welcomed, competent solution chemistry papers in the last 30 years of climate science, but most are of low standard, what I think of as comic book standards. This trend to more, poor, climate science, lamentably, continues to snowball from lack of review by competent scientists. Caveat emptor. Geoff S

  16. I attended a Florida State University seminar for the general public at their gulf coast field station. The scientist there showed a set up where local corals were in boxes with water flowing through. He then showed us dead corals that died after artificial acidification. It was horrific and had the audience gasping in horror. During the question and answer I asked how much had they dropped the pH to get that effect. I got a razzle dazzle of BS. I asked again, specifically how many pH points did they drop the water? Did they bring it down to 6? to 4? The scientist simply refused to answer me. If he poured concentrated sulfiruc acid on the corals of course they would die. His absolute refusal to tell me how exactly much they dropped the pH to get that death effect sticks out in my mind to this day. My BS metre was in overdrive.

      • Unfortunately it’s quite common in too many scientific papers.
        If a given compound doesn’t have the expected effect then you simply increase the dose until something (usually bad) does happen (which always will). Then you write it up, and submit for publication.

    • Or greenish like for much of Earth’s early history. If acidified enough, the iron oxide would disassociate.

  17. I am afraid that evidence from the late 19th century is not admissible, from the late 20th only selectively. When I was in graduate school a colleague and I did a study on a small freshwater acid spring, don’t recall the pH, but really acid, well below 7. It had algae fed on by snails. Shells were not as substantial as they could be, but were numerous, clearly reproducing. In the most productive places in the world if you go into the sediment, it likely will be an acid pH, sometimes smells of hydrogen sulphide. Full of life, organic matter sinks. The so called “dead zones” are anything but dead, the anaerobic, often around 7. boundary just being some degree up in the water column. pH acid, full of life, just not aerobic. Even in the sediment there are animals like nematodes.

    Google Earth, love them anyway, has fish skeletons, click oceans, to show these waters, all I know of in very productive places. Their homework is poor. Currently there is a summer norther in the Gulf of Mexico. Sometimes it has produced upwelling from blowing the surface water offshore. Fish forced to shore, sometimes die. Been going on for who knows how long, at least before when pH was easy to measure. I am told there are old movies showing wagons on the beach picking up fish. One of the earliest to be studied was off Walvis Bay, touted for its productivity, not the occasional mortality which doesn’t happen without life.

    (Sverdrup, et al., 1942) is especially not admissible because they had the concept of a ‘dynamic equilibrium.’

    • That reminds me of a biologist who was once asked why swamps smell bad: “Where there is a lot of life, there is a lot of death”.

  18. The pH scale is log so every whole number is a power/factor of ten.

    By definition pH is the negative exponent of the hydrogen ion concentration.

    For instance, pH 9 is 10^-9 or 1 part per billion, .000000001.

    pH 8 is 10^-8 or 10 parts per billion.

    To go from pH 9 to pH 8 is factor of 10 or 1,000%!!!! Makes 26% look trivial.

    Ocean “acidification” of pH 8.2 to pH 8.1 is a change in H ions of 1 ppb.

    I’m fairly certain the ocean flora and fauna don’t even notice.

  19. It is those who know least about Science who have the most to say about it. A PhD in “A study of Women as Reader in Romantic Elizabethan Romance”….. that really equips you to go into the Scientific Details!!

    • Did your read that link? Sigma Xi, the great partner of AAAS had sent it out as science. “The apes spent about seven more seconds in the same room with each other after watching the videos together than when they watched the videos separately……They also only groomed each other when they had watched the video together….They found that the apes were more motivated to approach the human, who sat on the other side of the cage, after watching the video with them—approaching them 12 seconds faster, on average—than when the two species watched the video separately.”

      Seconds matter sometimes.

    • I’ve read that before… It’s hilarious.

      In order to measure changes that are due to ocean acidification we need to monitor very small pH changes in the global oceans. For example, anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) has caused a pH decrease of approximately 0.1, which is about a 26% increase in the hydrogen ion concentration over the past 100 years. Monitoring these small changes requires very sensitive and reliable observations.

      They can calculate pH from easily measured dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC or ΣCO2) and total alkalinity (TA). It’s actually more accurate than measuring pH.

      Using percentage increases for minuscule numbers should be some sort of fraud… “a 26% increase in the hydrogen ion concentration over the past 100 years”.

      pH = -log[H+]

      They assume the pre-industrial average pH was 8.2 and that it has dropped to 8.1… A shocking “26% increase in the hydrogen ion concentration”!!!

      [H+] = 10-pH

      This equates to an increase of the hydrogen ion concentration from 6.3 parts per BILLION to 7.9 parts per BILLION.

      For seawater to become neutral (pH = 7), the hydrogen ion concentration would have to rise to 100 parts per BILLION.

      • “Using percentage increases for minuscule numbers should be some sort of fraud… “a 26% increase in the hydrogen ion concentration over the past 100 years”.”

        No. Focus on H⁺ as reagent would be misplaced; there is far too little of it. But in a buffering situation, it is a good indicator. Generally, a proportional change in [H⁺] reflects an equal proportional change in some major reactants, and that is important. If you look at the Wiki Bjerrum plot, which is on a log scale, you see that a 26% increase in [H⁺] means a 26% decrease in carbonate concentration. And that does matter.

        • Which doesn’t matter any more than pH. A roughly 10% increase in H+ over 30 years correlates an insignificant change in calcite and aragonite saturation states.

        • Nick,
          I think your comment about carbonate is wrong and will shortly spend some time checking it. Intuitively, a change of 26% in H+ that has already been claimed as a pH change of 0.1 creates a scenario whereby carbonate would appear and disappear all over the place in the variable neighbourhood of growing species, creating barriers to Life that I do not think are there. But let me delve a little deeper.

          O s q s s
          The complexity of that pmel report is trivial. It does not even mention some of the error sources that I blogged about earlier today. But I suspect that the requisite skills to reside with some in NOAA if only they had the guts to be scientific and not zealots.
          Geoff S

          • Nick,
            What changes in carbonate concentration do you likewise calculate for other pH changes of 0.1 units, such as 8.1 to 8.0, then 8.0 to 7.9 and so on.
            You seem to be proposing that the pH change of 8.2 to 8.1 that started the discussion was not a general change for illustration, but a unique change that coincided with a critical effect on carbonate, like the change with an acid/base titration.
            (I have been quite unwell for many weeks now so please tell me if I am still not making much sense).
            Geoff S

          • Geoff,
            Sorry to hear about your illness – best wishes for future health.

            The reason that buffers stabiise pH is that they lock proportional changes in pH to those of substances present in much larger quantity. Looked at from the other (usual) end of the telescope, it means that if there is a change in pH despite the buffering, some large reaction must have occurred.

            Sea water is at the acid end of the HCO₃⁻/CO₃⁻⁻ buffer. That means that the minor component, [CO₃⁻⁻] varies proportionally with [H⁺]. So a 0.1 shift, with is 26% rise, is locked (at equilibrium) to a 26% fall in [CO₃⁻⁻]. That is just arithmetic – it doesn’t imply that this is some specially significant point.

  20. Scary words are used when the science is weak not strong , and in climate ‘science ‘ there are lots of ‘scary words used ‘

    • “Acidification” sounds scary so they use it.
      “Less Caustic” is just as accurate as acidification but it doesn’t sound scary. It accurately sounds good!

  21. Quote – “As CO2 dissolves, the process releases hydrogen ions, lowering the water’s pH and increasing its acidity. That acidic water…”
    _________________________________
    No, it’s not acidic water. It’s just a miniscule amount less alkaline, but it’s still alkaline.

    • To investigate the impact of ocean acidification on a range of benthic marine calcifiers, we reared 18 calcifying species for 60 d in isothermal (25 °C; see the Data Repository for discussion) experimental seawaters equilibrated with average pCO2 values (±SD) of 409 (±6), 606 (±7), 903 (±12), and 2856 (±54) ppm, corresponding to modern pCO2, and ~2, 3, and 10 times pre-industrial levels (~280 ppm), respectively, and yielding average seawater saturation states (±SD) of 2.5 (±0.4), 2.0 (±0.4), 1.5 (±0.3), and 0.7 (±0.2) with respect to aragonite (see the Data Repository for detailed methods). These carbonate system parameters were selected to represent the range of values predicted for the coming millennium (Brewer, 1997; Feely et al., 2004) and to span those reported to have occurred since mid-Cretaceous time (ca. 110 Ma; Royer et al., 2004; Tyrrell and Zeebe, 2004). The organisms’ net rates of calcification (total calcification minus total dissolution) under the various pCO2 treatments were estimated from changes in their buoyant weight and verified with dry weight measurements after harvesting.

      Ries, Justin B., Anne L. Cohen, Daniel C. McCorkle; “Marine calcifiers exhibit mixed responses to CO2-induced ocean acidification”. (2009). Geology ; 37 (12): 1131–1134. doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/G30210A.1

      Marine calcifier Mineralogy
      Crab, Callinectes sapidus High Mg Calcite
      Shrimp, Penaeus plebejus High Mg Calcite
      Lobster, Homarus americanus High Mg Calcite
  22. Latitude,

    In oceans, shouldn’t “spikes in acidity” always be referred to as”decreases in alkalinity”?

  23. cold water can hold more CO2 than warm water. When cold water warms, it releases CO2 into the atmosphere. The study claims that the oceans are absorbing more CO2, which means the oceans are cooling, not warming. Which is it? If the oceans are warming, then they can’t absorb more CO2. If the water is actually absorbing more CO2, then the oceans are cooling, and by extension, the atmosphere will be cooling also. Get your story straight.

    • Years ago, on a random “climate” thread, I pointed out that warming oceans cannot absorb more CO2 (per Henrys Law). For that comment, I was told that I “should be put on trial”. (That was their contribution to science.)

      • “per Henrys Law”
        Totally misunderstood. Henry’s Law does not say, as many seem to think, that warming drives out CO2. It simply says that at any fixed temperature, there is a partition coefficient that renders the concentration in solution proportional to that in the gas phase. That is why, when we put more CO2 in the air, more goes into the sea.

        It’s true that for CO2, and many gases, the coefficient varies negatively with temperature. But Henry’s Law didn’t say that. In fact, it doesn’t really apply to sea water at all, since CO2 is not simply dissolved, but is mostly reacted in solution.

        • The dissolved CO2 is what has to eventually come into equilibrium with atmospheric CO2. The reacted CO2 is no longer CO2.

          You are correct that the oceans have generally been a net sink since the late 1800s. Although temperature changes can alter the math quite substantially…
           

          The stabilization of atmospheric CO2 concentration during the 1940s and 1950s is a notable feature in the ice core record. The new high density measurements confirm this result and show that CO2 concentrations stabilized at 310–312 ppm from ~1940–1955. The CH4 and N2O growth rates also decreased during this period, although the N2O variation is comparable to the measurement uncertainty. Smoothing due to enclosure of air in the ice (about 10 years at DE08) removes high frequency variations from the record, so the true atmospheric variation may have been larger than represented in the ice core air record. Even a decrease in the atmospheric CO2 concentration during the mid-1940s is consistent with the Law Dome record and the air enclosure smoothing, suggesting a large additional sink of ~3.0 PgC yr-1 [Trudinger et al., 2002a]. The d13CO2 record during this time suggests that this additional sink was mostly oceanic and not caused by lower fossil emissions or the terrestrial biosphere [Etheridge et al., 1996; Trudinger et al., 2002a]. The processes that could cause this response are still unknown.

          [11] The CO2 stabilization occurred during a shift from persistent El Niño to La Niña conditions [Allan and D’Arrigo, 1999]. This coincided with a warm-cool phase change of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation [Mantua et al., 1997], cooling temperatures [Moberg et al., 2005] and progressively weakening North Atlantic thermohaline circulation [Latif et al., 2004]. The combined effect of these factors on the trace gas budgets is not presently well understood. They may be significant for the atmospheric CO2 concentration if fluxes in areas of carbon uptake, such as the North Pacific Ocean, are enhanced, or if efflux from the tropics is suppressed.

          MacFarling-Meure, C., D. Etheridge, C. Trudinger, P. Steele, R. Langenfelds, T. van Ommen, A. Smith, and J. Elkins (2006), Law Dome CO2, CH4 and N2O ice core records extended to 2000 years BPGeophys. Res. Lett., 33, L14810, doi:10.1029/2006GL026152.

          law19301970

        • CO2 dissolved in water is in equilibrium with its reaction product, Carbonic acid, the equilibrium constant is [H2CO3]/[CO2] ≈ 1.2×10−3 in seawater, so most of the absorbed CO2 remains as CO2.

    • CO2 dissolution is not only a factor of temperature, but also of partial pressures of CO2 in the atmosphere and ocean surface. As atmospheric CO2 partial pressure increases, CO2 dissolves into the ocean, even if the ocean is warming. The increase in atmospheric CO2 has made the ocean a sink for CO2, not a source.

  24. “The research is the first global analysis that shows that acidification from shipping can during the summer months equal that from carbon dioxide.

    Rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere cause a steady acidification of the ocean as carbon dioxide dissolves into the water and produces the weak acid carbonic acid. Other gases can also cause acidification, for example sulfur and nitrogen oxides, which dissolve to give the strong acids sulfuric acid and nitric acid respectively.

    “These oxides are present in the exhaust gases from ships’ engines,” said David R. Turner of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. “Sulfur oxides come from the sulfur present in marine fuel oil, while nitrogen oxides are formed from atmospheric nitrogen during combustion. Emission of these oxides causes atmospheric pollution, followed by marine pollution (acidification) on deposition.”
    https://phys.org/news/2013-05-emissions-shipping-ocean-acidic.html

  25. ”………….Now, scientists studying sea snails have discovered an unexpected side effect of this acid brew”

    Acid brew???? Is that when they add sulphuric acid to their tanks to see what happens?

  26. “…Sean Connell, an ecologist at the University of Adelaide in Australia, and colleagues traveled to underwater CO2 vents off the coast of New Zealand’s White Island…”

    Sean Connell, ladies and gentlemen, doing it tough for science.

    Still, going to New Zealand for the snails does make a change from visiting to see Hobbits…

  27. https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2016/01/01/tony-thomas-the-fishy-science-of-ocean-acidification/

    Tim Flannery, head of Australia’s Climate Council, is of the view that CO2 falling into the ocean produces “carbolic acid” or phenol, that useful disinfectant which can still be bought on eBay in the form of soap bars. Flannery is, as always, correct in terms of the prevailing hysteria, if not real-world facts. His prophecy is affirmed by Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre (OAICA) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which agree that

    “Too much carbon is flooding the ocean with carbolic acid, with devestating (sic) effects on life in the sea.”

    That would do it…

  28. “Ocean acidification” doesn’t mean the ocean’s pH is below the basic line of 7.

    It means its “acidity,” as a solution, is decreasing.

    Can we finally be clear on this?

    • [Your definition is not only NOT CLEAR, its wrong. “Acidity” increases with positive ions. As the pH numbers get lower, the acidity INCREASES, but only after passing a neutral 7 pH. Its still caustic above 7, as the number of negative ions DECREASE in relation to positive ions. Mod]

      • No it’s correct, in chemistry ‘acidification’ is the process of adding acid to a solution. It’s quite correct to say that you’ve acidified a solution by adding acid to it to change its pH from 8.3 to 8.0, say, you’ll have doubled the [H+].

    • We can be clear that the process has been well-understood for over a century… but the crisis-mongering phrase “ocean acidification” was fabricated to scare the bejesus out of gullible idiots in 2003.

  29. “The depth at which the calcium-carbonate decreases most rapidly is known as the carbonate-compensation depth, defined as the depth at which the rate of dissolution of solid calcium carbonate equals the rate of supply.”

    WR: What happens with the dissolved calcium carbonate when ocean water is welling up to the surface? Will extra CO2 enter into the atmosphere as soon as the deep water again comes into contact with the atmosphere? Or are other chemical reactions taking place?

    • It depends on the partial pressure of CO2 above the water. Upwelling water locally shallows the carbonate compensation depth. The alarmists love to show pictures of partially dissolved shells from upwelling waters. The Pacific Northwest oyster crisis a few years ago was due to upwelling… but blamed on Chicken Little of the Sea.

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