We have been told that –a possible 30% change in ‘acidity’ means – ‘coral reefs would crumble, crabs and molluscs would be unable to build their protective shells, the ocean food chain would collapse, and therefore the global food chain would fall apart’.
… REALLY TERRIFYING STUFF …
Until you read the chemistry…. The Chemical Laws for Distribution of CO2 in Nature –
http://folk.uio.no/tomvs/esef/esef4.htm & discover that nature surprisingly has it all sorted (without our help).
The system has good feedback controls, is & always will be in equilibrium.
It’s not rocket science…. It’s just basic chemistry See The full reaction
Ocean acidification is an alarmist claim that has been easily manipulated because most people lack even a basic understanding of the acid/alkaline scale.
Short lasting local areas of reduced pH (for a variety of reasons) YES…. Ocean Acidification NO.
For a simple but more comprehensive introduction, start here – http://www.seafriends.org.nz/issues/global/acid.htm
in 3 parts (conclusions on page, 1, but really you should read all 3 parts)
‘Are oceans becoming more acidic and is this a threat to marine life?’ By Dr J Floor Anthoni .
Very good articles & discussions here – https://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/10/ocean-acidification-chicken-of-the-sea-little-strikes-again/ & https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/09/04/ocean-acidification-trying-to-get-the-science-right/
30% rise in acidity !? A solution of pH1 has 100,000,000,000,000 times more hydrogen ions (acidity) than a solution of pH14. If I had a solution at pH of 8.5 the hydrogen ion content would be 3.2 x 10exp(-9) M. A 30% increase in hydrogen ion content is 4.2 x10exp(-9)M. Converting this to pH becomes… wait for this… 8.4!!!!!
It doesn’t sound half as threatening as 30% does it?!
Kinda’ makes a mockery of percentage with respect to pH…
What percentage increase in acidity would be necessary to lower the Ocean pH from 8.3 (start) to pure, neutral, distilled water? pH 7.0……Want a hint? Try 2,000%
It is really torturing the language to refer to a small change in pH which is above 7 and hence basic, as ‘acidification’.
Pure water does respond to dissolved CO2 with lowered pH as carbonic acid forms. However, seawater is a complex buffer and dissolved CO2 is going to have very little effect on this buffer system. Even a doubling of CO2 would cause an almost undetectable change in pH.
Marine water isn’t ‘acidifying’ because carbonate rocks and sediments react almost instantly (Carbonic acid – https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/carbonic_acid – has a short lifetime – about 26 milliseconds) when carbonic acid is added & maintain the stoichiometric equilibrium. – See The full reaction
The Fishy ‘Science’ of Ocean Acidification – http://quadrant.org.au/opinion/qed/2016/01/fishy-science-ocean-acidification/
The NOAA-NY Times ocean acidification scandal. Read the expose http://junkscience.com/2015/12/exclusive-ocean-acidification-not-a-current-problem-top-noaa-scientist-insists-in-foia-ed-e-mails/
Don’t forget that photosynthesis (by aquatic plants, planktonic algae & phytoplankton) is an alkalizing process that can raise the local pH two or three whole pH units on a sunny day. Pretending that life will be endangered by small changes in pH is simply alarmism. Ocean pH remains entirely inside the historical pH range.
There is a huge organic component to this process as well. We escaped the fate of Venus, largely because marine organisms used the original CO2 to create calcium carbonate, hence limestone, which is so abundant round the world, it is the earth’s major store of CO2.
We have an unbroken chain of life that has survived since the beginning certainly 1.5 (& maybe 2) billion years ago. Invertebrate carbonate shell clad species – mollusca, are common in the fossil record stretching back to the Cambrian half a billion years ago. Most of these are easily recognizable as related to modern varieties.
Over this time, earth has fluctuated from freezing ice ages with ice at the equator to ages with no polar ice & CO2 has varied between 150 -4,000 ppm (ten times or more the present level).
Sea water is an ionic solution, dissolved CO2 continues reacting to form bicarbonate ions, which increase the pH so maintaining the pH balance, and this bicarbonate ion is used by animals to form shell and skeletal frameworks. Without this further reaction corals would not grow. So the take-up of CO2 depends on planktonic life, the more active this life the more bicarbonate is used then the faster the CO2>bicarb reaction continues. Dissolved CO2 remaining in the water is used by planktonic and other plants to photosynthesize. These chemical reactions speed up with temperature rise.
- According to the NASA earth fact-sheet – http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/earthfact.html
The masses of ocean = 1.4 E21 kg and atmosphere = 5.1 E18 kg.
With atmospheric CO2 at 400 ppm, the mass of CO2 in the atmosphere is just 2 E15 kg
Therefore, if ALL the CO2 in the atmosphere were to be instantly sucked into the ocean (and evenly mixed), it would result in an increase in the concentration of CO2 in seawater of about 1.5 ppm.
How can this represent a threat of acidification of the ocean ??
See the largest quantitative analysis conducted on the subject of ocean acidification.
Here- http://www.co2science.org/data/acidification/acidification.php & follow the links.
Even the IPCC doesn’t agree with the alarmist catastrophic view of ‘ocean acidification’
The 2013 WGII Report, Chapter 6 covers Ocean Systems & ‘ocean acidification’
“Few field observations conducted in the last decade demonstrate biotic responses attributable to anthropogenic ocean acidification” – pg 4 paragraph 5
“Production, growth, and recruitment of most but not all non-calcifying
seaweeds also increased at CO2 levels from 700 to 900 µatm – Pg 25 – 126.96.36.199
“Contributions of anthropogenic ocean acidification to climate-induced alterations in the field have rarely been established and are limited to observations in individual species” – Pg. 27 – 188.8.131.52.1
“To date, very few ecosystem-level changes in the field have been attributed to anthropogenic or local ocean acidification.” – Pg 39 paragraph 3
“Insufficient observations compound an understanding of long-term changes and the definition of baseline conditions.” – Pg 39 – 6.4
One also has to wonder how they could measure the pH of the ocean to 3 decimal places in 1751….
….. as the idea of pH wasn’t introduced until 1909. http://www.corrosion-club.com/historypHscale.htm
The facts about ocean acidification, Dr. Patrick Moore 26mins. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bJjBo5ICMc
The Great Barrier Reef is a 20,000 yr old, 2,300km-long ecosystem, so one end is in warmer waters with a lower pH and the other in colder water with higher pH…….both ends seem to be doing just fine.
A 2015 study, pH homeostasis during coral calcification in a free ocean CO2 enrichment (FOCE) experiment, Heron Island reef flat, Great Barrier Reef led by researcher Lucy Georgiou has concluded that Coral has the ability to regulate its own internal pH. This allows the studied coral to thrive, even in extreme acid environments. See PDF here – http://www.pnas.org/content/112/43/13219.full.pdf
Also – Response of Corals to Ocean Acidification: Learned from Field Studies http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/originals/response_corals_ocean_acidification.pdf
The full reaction – CO2 + Sea water – http://www.co2web.info/esef4.htm (archive link)
Carbon dioxide enters the waters of the ocean by simple diffusion. the carbon dioxide can remain as a gas or, if dissolved in seawater, can be converted into carbonate (CO3-2) or bicarbonate (HCO3-).
When CO2 enters the ocean, carbonic acid is formed: CO2 + H2O = H2CO3 https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/carbonic_acid ( but the reaction doesn’t stop there); carbonic acid’s lifetime is– about 26 milliseconds before bicarbonate anions interact with calcium and magnesium cations in solution to create the nanoclusters that nucleate limestone formation. https://i0.wp.com/safeharborenv.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/oceancarbonstor.jpg
This reaction has a forward and reverse rate. These two reactions achieve a chemical equilibrium in which they both occur at equal rates, thus maintaining a relatively stable ratio of CO2 to H2CO3. Another reaction that is important in controlling the acidity (i.e. pH levels) of the oceans is the release of hydrogen ions and bicarbonate:
H2CO3 ? H+ + HCO3– This reaction buffers seawater against large changes in pH.
(A similar, well understood reaction maintains a constant pH level in blood – http://www.chemistry.wustl.edu/~edudev/LabTutorials/Buffer/Buffer.html)
The pH can only change when the oceans run out of buffer….and not one second sooner
…and since CO2 also makes the buffer….there will be a long wait.
More clear explanations of the chemistry –
‘Are the Oceans Becoming More Acidic?’ Clyde Spencer – https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/09/15/are-the-oceans-becoming-more-acidic/
also – https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2015/06/17/basics-of-ocean-acidification/
Also – Dynamics of Ocean pH – http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0028983
Will ocean pH affect marine microbes http://www.nature.com/ismej/journal/v5/n1/full/ismej201079a.html
Understanding Impacts on Seawater pH http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12237-013-9594-3
Believe it or not, it’s been standard lab procedure among some “scientists” to add hydrochloric acid to decrease pH of seawater (They should use carbonic acid but that doesn’t lower the pH !!!), in order to study effects of “ocean acidification” & hey presto… stuff dies. (see http://www.seafriends.org.nz/issues/global/acid2.htm#scientific_fraud )
The details they ignore is that CO2 and water can be turned into sugar by photosynthesis, while chloride can’t be used that way;… what is more, it’s toxic.…( hydrochloric acid is used as toilet cleaner) … More junk pseudo science.
Now even the Scripps Institution of Oceanography have changed their minds – “they now believe that an increase in green house gas emissions may not have the devastating impact on coral reefs that most in the field have assumed would occur.” See: http://phys.org/news/2015-11-acidity-coral-reefs.html & https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/11/10/rapture-of-the-deeps/
There is no such thing as ‘Ocean Acidification’. It is an absurdity, that can’t happen in theory, models or in reality. It hasn’t been measured, it can’t be measured and in terms of real measurement it is a phantom.
(But it sells newspapers)
Short lasting local areas of reduced pH (for a variety of reasons) YES….Ocean Acidification NO.