Friday, March 28, 2008


An email from Kirtland C. Griffin [] of Guilford, CT

In an article in the Economist, Feb 21st 2008, it talks about the acidification of the oceans caused by anthropogenic CO2. It says that if something doesn't change, portions of the world's oceans could no longer support certain forms of aquatic life. Specifically at risk are sponges, corals and brachiopods. The concern relates in part to the huge volcanic eruptions at the end of the Permian Period 252 million years ago. They say that CO2 spewed from the volcanos caused the world's oceans to become more acidic, or probably more correctly, less alkaline.

The origin of the concern is a mathematical model. Where have we heard that before? They say that it is not only the reduction in alkalinity that is a concern but that, in conjunction with increasing ocean temperature, is more detrimental than either alone. Of course, the claim is made that this could lead to a domino effect and who knows what could happen if we continue to emit green house gas pollution?

What is important is not so much what the article says but rather how I became aware of it as well as what it does not say. An associate of mine had shown me a news release by a prominent US University. Not surprisingly, it espoused the UN IPCC line of alarmist AGW catastrophes. Knowing how I felt about the subject he asked what I thought of it because he was going there over the coming weekend and would be able to ask those responsible for the news release to comment on my input. I gave him what I though was a good assortment of scientific and political arguments and off he went as I eagerly awaited the outcome. Well, since he was "one of them" working with the department on a project, they actually told him they didn't buy the global warming thing either. That was a story for the general public to force them to do the right thing for the wrong reason. The world has to change their lifestyle for its own good. One can only imagine my surprise to hear that what many had thought, was really true.

This would have been a significant enough revelation to make this story interesting to any skeptic, but there was more to come. After relating the story to me, this individual went back a second time. This time they presented him with the article from the Economist and asked for further comment thinking that this time he had me. Now I am no ocean scientist, nor am I a chemist, but something smelled. After a little looking I found my information on the CO2, carbonic acid, calcite system.

The oceans are a vast reservoir of Carbon in various forms and there is a well regulated compensation system that covers a wide range of CO2 concentrations and temperature variation that has worked over billions of years. The other thing was that volcanos spew out CO2 but also SO2 as the Number 2 gas. Sorry, no pun intended. SO2 dissolved in water yields sulfurous acid, so I am told by Oliver Manuel, which is a much stronger acid than carbonic acid. So the effects associated with volcanic eruptions are unrelated to the current situation and was more severe. But that has never bothered the DAGW proponents. When I presented my rebuttal, the response was that this has nothing to do with the AGW agenda. This is different. IT CLEARLY IS NOT!

As sure as I am sitting here writing this, acidification is the next hoax to be perpetrated on the world to rein in our fossil fuel appetite. As the average global temperature continues to decline, the socialist opportunists will have to find another way to control the world and collect their carbon taxes to support their agenda and profit motives. Has anyone ever wondered that the primary architect of the Kyoto Protocol is a buddy of Al Gore and sells carbon credits?

The recent report of ocean temperatures cooling will not help their cause but even the National Jet Propulsion Laboratory suspects there might be a problem with the measurements. Apparently, the results did not conform to their preconceived notion of the outcome. The ocean temperature data may be a revelation as to the condition of our surface measurement system which several have demonstrated has a warming bias from the location of the stations to the corrections for the urban heat island effect.

The President of the Czech Republic, Dr Maclav Klaus, had it right when he said "A week ago, I gave a speech at an official gathering at the Prague Castle commemorating the 60th anniversary of the 1948 communist putsch in the former Czechoslovakia. One of the arguments of my speech there, quoted in all the leading newspapers in the country the next morning, went as follows: "Future dangers will not come from the same source. The ideology will be different. Its essence will, nevertheless, be identical - the attractive, pathetic, at first sight noble idea that transcends the individual in the name of the common good, and the enormous self-confidence of its proponents about their right to sacrifice man and his freedom in order to make this idea reality." What I had in mind was, of course, environmentalism especially in its currently strongest version, climate alarmism....It has never been about the environment."

What the ABC News attack on climate scientist Fred Singer did not mention

At the end of 2006, climate scientist S. Fred Singer of the University of Virginia and the Science & Environmental Policy Project and Dennis Avery of the Hudson Institute co-authored Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years, a New York Times non-fiction bestseller. Yesterday, ABC's World News Sunday anchor Dan Harris aired a harsh attack on Dr. Singer in a segment titled "Global Warming Denier: Fraud or 'Realist'?"

Avery, Director of Hudson's Center for Global Food Issues, declares, "It seems likely that ABC attacked Singer now because the earth has apparently stopped warming -- in defiance of the man-made warming theory."

The earth's surface temperatures have registered no warming trend since 1998, even though the levels of atmosphere CO2 have continued to increase strongly. In 2000, the sunspot numbers turned downward, which historically has predicted a decline in the earth's temperatures roughly a decade later. The sunspot indices have continued to predict cooling ever since. Last month, three of the world's major monitoring sites announced that earth's temperatures actually declined from January 2007 to January 2008 -- the first such global temperature drop in 30 years. The Hadley Centre in the UK, NASA, and the University of Alabama/Huntsville all reported the decline.

Josh Willis, a researcher at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, recently told National Public Radio that the oceans had stopped warming 4-5 years ago, based on key information from new high-tech ocean buoys. The embarrassing truth is that the weak correlation between earth's temperatures and human-emitted greenhouse gases is rapidly worsening. The CO2 correlation with earth's thermometer record since 1860 is less than 22 percent. The correlation between earth temperatures and sunspots is 79 percent and strengthening.

Singer and Avery have published extensively on the evidence of the moderate, natural 1,500-year climate cycle, which was discovered in the Greenland ice cores in 1984, and a few years later in the Vostok Antarctic glacier core -- at the opposite end of the earth. The three researchers who led the climate cycle discovery received the "environmental Nobel" -- the Tyler Prize -- in 1996: Willi Dansgaard of Denmark, Hans Oeschger of Switzerland, and Claude Lorius of France.

Singer and Avery have also presented the names of more than 700 scientists who have published peer-reviewed evidence on the physical evidence of the 1,500-year climate cycle. It comes from such sources as the oxygen isotopes in the layers of ice cores and cave stalagmites, in the one-celled sediment fossils of oceans and lakes worldwide, in fossil pollen from across America, Asia, Europe, and Africa -- and even in the tooth enamel of dead Vikings buried in Greenland.

Singer and Avery emphasize that their book was funded by Wallace O. Sellers, a retired executive of Merrill Lynch who was a member of the Hudson Institute Board of Directors. Neither has received any significant funding from the energy industry.

"It seems likely that if the earth's temperatures continue to defy the 'global warming consensus' there will be more attacks on those who study the physical evidence of the earth's previous warmings," says Avery. These include the Medieval Warming (950 -- 1300 AD), the Roman Warming (200 BC -- 600 AD), and the two much-warmer Holocene Warmings, which peaked about 5,000 and 7,000 years ago. There have been at least 500 such warmings over the past one million years.



Earlier this month, Ted Nordhaus posted "The `Serious Business' of Kyoto: EU to `overshoot' its emissions reductions targets? Read between the lines." His analysis rightly takes the EU to task for overselling its GHG-emissions-reduction activities, in the hope that the U.S. will buy what they're selling and leap aboard the sinking ship of carbon cap-and-trade. Nordhaus reveals that the EU's claims to leadership and projected success on the GHG-reduction front are based on assumptions that will likely prove embarrassing in hindsight.

The December 2007 report to which he refers, incorporating emissions through 2005, is risible for its spin. The authors somehow lowered their projection of future emissions from the year before, after emissions turned upward, and strongly, in 2006 (because of a good economic year). The European Environment Agency (EEA) won't officially report the 2006 spike until June 2008, so for a few more months, this whopper of a lie has as shelf life.

The EU isn't a straight shooter on the environment - but some Americans work quite hard to ignore this. Nordhaus's post is useful, because he realizes the EU's reporting is all smoke and mirrors, and it seems that the only way to get that fact to register publicly with greens and policymakers (to the extent they don't already know it privately) is for the case to be made by realistic eco-progressives lke Nordhaus.

There is even more smoke and mirrors than Nordhaus indicates, though. He focuses on the EU's projected "reduction" by 2012 of 11 percent below 1990 GHG emission levels, and describes it as oversold for two reasons: 1) the political decisions unrelated to Kyoto: the UK's "dash for gas" and the shuttering of East German industry after reunification accounts for most of the promised "reduction," and 2) the cocktail of implausible overperformance by states, policies, and Kyoto programs. Nordhaus gets the gist of Europe's fudging, paper shuffling, and exaggerated optimism, but his focus on the EU's projection is to the apparent exclusion of looking at actual performance.

Any analysis of GHG-reduction performance to date tells us that EU emissions will be nowhere presumed levels. Nordhaus grants the projection more credit than it deserves under any reasonable scrutiny of the EEA's own muddied presentation of the facts. The EU says that if it just coasted from today, its existing measures "will" yield an average reduction over 2008-12 of 4 percent below 1990 - but that "will" depends on a host of implausible "ifs." That 4 percent reduction is patent nonsense, given the EU's admitted (if, again, not advertised) emissions increases in two out of every three years since Kyoto was agreed in 1997 - which has left them, as of a year ago, at or about their 1990 emission levels, with those emissions rising.

It is true that the report to which Nordhaus refers claims that emissions as of 2005 were 2 percent below 1990 levels. As I have previously demonstrated, that figure is the product of serially changing their 1990 baseline years after the fact. The larger subterfuge will be revealed as false when 2006 figures are finally released by Brussels, barring more funny business with their numbers. Nordhaus is far too indulgent of the EU's spin. The fact is: emissions aren't down, economy-wide or among ETS-covered sectors.

Since policies inspired by Kyoto began accumulating in Europe, emissions are rising steadily. The ETS did not change this, to much embarrassment. Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas even admitted that he could identify no emissions reduction for which the ETS could claim credit. Had Nordhaus looked at how the EU's promises compare to performance, he would have seen the so-called reduction that he accepts arguendo is actually no such thing, with CO2 emissions at about 5 percent over 1990 levels through 2006 (this will be updated and formalized by EEA in June, but sufficient member-state data is available to support this assessment). To take just one isolated example: the UK's claimed reduction to date of 12 percent below 1990 levels was off by, oh, about 12 percent.

The EEA assume that this, like every year in the decade preceding it, is the year when they will wrench their trajectory from upward-ticking to a starkly downward one. For a decade they have proven wildly unreliable. There is no reason in the record to believe that the claims in the report Nordhaus reviewed are any different. Their projected reduction is far more implausible than Nordhaus lets on. In short, this analysis isn't factually wrong, but with the appropriate context could be more right.



To all of the ill-effects blamed on man-made global warming, we might add one more. It appears that an obsession with climate change can make sane people warm to mad ideas. Take the Soil Association proposals to make it harder for produce from Africa to be labelled as organic, in order to cut the amount of fruit and vegetables flown into the UK. The justification is that this will reduce "food miles", CO2 emissions and man-made global warming, and thus protect the developing world from the impact of climate change. The likely effect will be to put some of the most downtrodden farmers in the world out of work.

So how do we save Africa from a possible future disaster? Apparently, by creating a real disaster in the here and now: making poor Africans even poorer. That sounds like madness - or plain badness - to me.

Air-freighted produce makes up 1 per cent of total UK organic sales - and those remain a tiny niche in the grocery market. Only a mind as sharp as an organic Kenyan banana could seriously believe that this is a big factor in Britannia's "carbon footprint". Indeed, the whole notion of "food miles" is hard to swallow. Research suggests that growing food in the sunshine of Africa and flying them to Europe produces less carbon - not to mention more taste - than growing them under glass and artificial heat in Britain or the Netherlands. Greenhouse effect, anybody?

Some of us might even suspect that, under the fresh-looking label of environmental concern, the UK organic lobby is expressing soiled Little Englander prejudices about keeping out "foreign muck". BA and Virgin Atlantic are flying in farmers' representatives from Ghana and Kenya to put their case against the new restrictions on organic air-freight. Even this old man of the Left can see that here the corporate giants are on the side of the angels, while the "radical" organic fruitcakes are flying in the face of progress and equality. We should defend the freedom of African farmers to air-lift their produce on to our plates.

Of course, in an entirely sane world, these African farmers would not have to jet around the world to demand their right to use backward and back-breaking "organic" methods which, as one village co-operative member told The Times, are simply "the way our fathers and grandfathers farmed". In a saner world they would be raising investment in the sort of industrialised and, yes, chemically assisted agricultural methods necessary to feed their people properly as well as to fly us fresh fruit and veg all year round. But in the current mad climate surrounding climate change, no doubt that will be thought bananas.



Plans to force motorists to run their cars on "green" petrol could lead to higher levels of greenhouse gases, the Government's leading environment scientist warned yesterday. Professor Robert Watson said it would be "totally insane" to promote the use of biofuels for environmental purposes if it was found that their production contributed to greater carbon emissions through the destruction of forests. He called on the Government to delay the compulsory use of "green" petrol and diesel until a review has been completed into the sustainability of their production.

From next week, 2.5 per cent of all fuel sold at British pumps must be derived from biofuels, a figure expected to rise to five per cent by 2010. The move, under the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO), is aimed at reducing the impact of fossil fuels, regarded as a major contributor to climate change. But scientists fear it could have the opposite effect.

Last month, a study by the Nature Conservancy and the University of Minnesota, published in Science magazine, warned that clearing forests, grassland and peatland to plant crops for biofuels released more carbon than it saved.

Prof Watson, the chief scientist at the Department for the Environment, said yesterday that it was time to heed the concerns. "It would obviously be totally insane if we had a policy to try and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the use of biofuels that's actually leading to an increase in the greenhouse gases from biofuels," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.



Anonymous said...

Sorry this is long. First editions had the facts wrong at the end. Mostly brainstorming, initial research, and possible muckraking avenues, but it ends in a surprise, in which I think I've explained, in layman's terms, the actual ocean chemistry involved:

What is the pH of a bucket of over-saturated (thus bubbly) mineral water (pH 6) placed outside for a couple days, as a miniature model of the ocean? The equilibrium time is quite fast, as we know from how fast tonic water goes flat, as in utterly flat, eventually, meaning it gives up CO2 to become NORMAL fresh water in equilibrium with the air. So mineral water goes from 6 to 7 in about a day.

Here is the ALARMISTS NEW HOCKEY STICK GRAPH, that at first looks confusing, but then it dawns on you it shows an ABRUPT (alarming) alteration in ocean pH starting in 1800, but NOTE that it ACTUALLY continues one hundred years in the FUTURE, so it's just a model-prediction (that references the IPCC only!!!) and that ocean pH as of 2000 is an actual small change, albeit, according to this graph a truly modern age one, in that ocean pH was the "BEST" in 2.5 million years as of 1800, whereas that of 2000 it's the "WORST" in 25 million years.

And a link to a Wikipedia article on "Ocean Acidification":
"Between 1751 and 1994 surface ocean pH is estimated to have decreased from approximately 8.179 to 8.104 (a change of -0.075)."

But WAIT, our amarmist's graph above shows the pH in 1994 to be about 8.15 to 8.05 (a change of -0.1), and I've seen this number quoted by other alarmist literature on the web, so already this graph is suspect, offering a 9% over-exaggeration of the actual change.

Add to that two analogies. That CO2 is a VERY poor acidifier of water, just as it is a very poor greenhouse gas. Second, that both more CO2 in the ocean and on land may act to FERTILIZE instead of kill photosynthetic organisms, and that MORE acidity *may* act as a NUTRIENT not a toxin! See, here they have only ONE argument, that corals and certain shelled microorganisms will dissolve away. That trumps even polar bears, since coral reefs have already become a poster child of human evil in the popular mind. Yet note that MOST photosynthetic organisms in the ocean known as ALGAE build hard skeletons from sand ions (SILICA, not CARBONATE, intermeshed in a little-understood protein matrix that guides the creation of hyper-complex geodesic dome shapes):

So, what we want next is to see is a blow-up of the above graph, to show ocean pH (at various depths and locations too, to avoid sampling bias) from 1800 to present, TO SEE IF IT CORRELATES WITH THE 1940-PRESENT INCREASE IN CO2 IN THE AIR (or maybe the much more acidifying and yet also fertilizing nitrates and sulfates that are real "pollution" but those are much easier to reduce than CO2 if needed!!!). Alas, I cannot FIND such a graph, for what well-funded scientist would ruin their career by publishing one? It must exist though.

We know from those robot submarine studies that the ocean has been COOLING for nearly a decade, whereas most rural surface temperature stations have been linearly COOLING for a hundred years (!), so temperature doesn't correlate with CO2 (or the sun) for most rural land areas like it does (correlate with the sun perfectly) in arctic regions around northern Europe. And if the story of Climate Science is so complex, its coupling with Oceanography is bound to be exponentially MORE complex, not LESS, no matter how alarmists want to spin this one as "very simple" and "not based on models."

The alarmist's FALSE CLAIM that this is a "SIMPLE" system that does not rely on models (an implicit admission that their CLIMATE models are useless and open to funding-bias) may be hinted at by a paper about how highly reactive CO2 does at least two DOZEN things in the ocean, instead of just sit around and change the pH:

The main point is that there are many dozens of other ions in the ocean that can pair up with the carbonate ion, or react with it. That a quick scan of this paper is confusing even to me, a chemist by training, means I merely use it as an example that claims of "simplicity" of ocean carbonization are LIES. Why? Because the OCEAN is not simple!!! It's much more complex than the land-based biosphere/atmosphere, even! This is especially so since very much unlike the atmosphere, the entire ocean is like soil in that every square inch contains about ten THOUSAND species of microorganisms, most in much smaller numbers than the major players, but there presence means they are ready to switch to BEING major players if the environment changes. Also is the fact that the evolutionary adaptation speed of MICRO organisms is VERY rapid, just as it has been for drug-resistant (and soon CO2 resistant?) ones which are the bane of hospitals. That the ocean is MILES deep instead of only a few feet deep, unlike topsoil, or unlike the atmosphere, contains THOUSANDS of different mineral and biological ions and molecules, well so much for "simplicity"!

Now, is ocean acidity even bad? I can't find the references tonight, but some have claimed that acidity (protons) is the MAIN biological limiting factor NUTRIENT in the sea (!).

The site is full of global warming and acidification debunking (

"I assume you are worried about so-called ocean acidification when you say ‘CO2 in ocean’ — try doing a little research on geological history: current atmospheric levels are very low and hard shelled creatures evolved in the Ordovician, when atmospheric CO2 was >4,000ppmv." (Today = one TENTH that much CO2).

[They also have an excellent summary with good quality graphs of how temperature correlates with the sun and not CO2 by the founder of the Weather Channel:]

Uh oh, the Alarmists themselves have previously used the FACT that oceans stop absorbing much more CO2 beyond what they already have done so as part of their "runaway warming" theory!:
"Southern Ocean Nears CO2 Saturation Point":

This article also names the guy who invented the "ocean acidification" term, just as M. Mann invented the "hockey stick": Ken Caldeira (portrait: And yes, he's a climate modeler, with a PhD in climate (not oceanography). Yet he's also a "geoengineering" proponent (artificial clouds etc.!), not a Kyoto fanatic, so he's either a tougher or an easier foe to debunk, assuming that (and we really don't know this yet) whether "ocean acidification" is a big deal. He is not an utter fraudulent anti-capitalist junk-scientist like the obese Mann (portrait:, but probably more like a smart lawyer, and has a much more impressive credentials. My first impression is that he is a maniac, in the good sense of being something of a maverick. But one way to do geoengineering that is rather simple is to just set up a few oil-burning power stations that in one way or another spread buffer or base into the oceans -or- use a photosynthetic bacteria, genetically modified, that sucks up both CO2 and ocean acidity. The classic geoengineering idea was to sprinkle iron into the ocean, since iron, along with nitrates (just like on farms!), are one of the least available nutrients. Caldeira is so far only talking about atmospheric engineering.

And I was wrong, impression-wise: Caldeira published a paper that claimed that we require ZERO carbon emissions soon, and even then Earth will continue heating for 500 years due to CO2

One term to remember: "bioavailability of carbonate". Yet the carbonic acid created by CO2 *is* carbonate, so even as it mildly acidifies oceans, it adds carbonate too! The calcium carbonate that corals live for is a CARBONATE though. However, to turn from CO2 to carbonate it must turn from CO2 to bicarbonate to carbonate by loosing BOTH protons that CO2 takes on when it combines with H2O to give H2CO3 (carbonic acid) and then CaCO3 (calcium carbonate), so acidity ALONE (as a simple model might model), could release Ca++ ions from ion-pairing with CO3--, but remember, in SOLUTION, ionic salts, just like salt itself (Na+Cl-) are mostly DISSOCIATED free ions, which promiscuously pair briefly with any and every oppositely charged ion around, often in orgy analogous clusters even, so Ca++ goes nowhere when you add acidity.

Carbonic acid also happens to be the main BUFFER in mammalian blood, keeping it at 7.4 (albeit sped up by an enzyme, but oceans have more time than bodies to equilibrate), meaning that it might OFFSET the acidification effects of "acid rain" (sulfuric acid made from sulfate pollution). So dissolved carbon may be BUFFERING the oceans alkalinity, and this buffering effect could be "acidifying" it, by making it a bit less alkaline.


Another source of data is not from peer-reviewed publications, but from those amateur and not-so-amateur AQUARIUM enthusiasts! They deal with adjusting pH all the time to make their little (home) and not-so-little (zoo) coral-containing ecosystems not die off. I've discovered! is a good start, being "The Nutrient Dynamics of Coral Reefs: Part IV, The Sky Above".

It claims that the effect of CO2 on reducing CARBONATE BIOAVAILABILITY are indeed offset by reducing the resulting CO2-caused acidity in their aquariums, but that the effect is roundabout, not simple, so it may be that ocean acidification is a problem, even if it's not being caused by CO2. So if it's not CO2 causing acidification, but in fact nitrates or sulfates, then those are the problem worth solving, not CO2, but I think most of those issues *were* dealt with, at minor cost, back in the "acid rain" scare days.

"Thus, increasing CO2 decreases the concentration of carbonate and the saturation state of calcium carbonate if alkalinity is not adjusted. If CO2 is increased and alkalinity is also increased [acidity decreased] to the proper level, the two offset each other in terms of their effects on the carbonate concentration. Current models for the calcification of calcareous algae such as Halimeda suggest that the saturation state hypothesis may adequately explain lower rates of calcification at elevated CO2. In these calcifiers photosynthesis removes carbon dioxide, raising the pH and, thus, the carbonate concentration and saturation state in a confined area, which leads to the precipitation of calcium carbonate [to form a skeleton]. The changes in carbonate concentration have also been invoked to explain changes in the calcification rate in corals and other marine invertebrates as well. Physiological data suggest, however, that corals take-up bicarbonate, not carbonate, from sea water. Also, more than 70% of the carbon that corals use for calcification may originate from metabolically produced CO2, with the remainder being provided by seawater bicarbonate."



Calcium carbonate skeletons of sea creatures (the two main ones being coral and several microorganisms) RELY on the fact that CALCIUM is saturated in the sea, and so they have mechanisms of OVER-SATURATING it in order that it precipitates out of solution, which is HOW they build their calcium carbonate skeletons.

Oh, this is much funner than climate science! Who would you rather have a beer with, a climate modeler, or an oceanographer?!

As a chemist I do NOT think of the ocean as containing "calcium carbonate" as a distinct species IN SOLUTION since remember, all you have are dozens and dozens of different types of charged units called ions (usually huge negative ones and tiny positive ones) floating about, INDIVIDUALLY and surrounded by hydrogen-bonded partially ionized cages of water, mainly. There are also the H+ and OH- ions that exist in any glass of water in equilibrium with molecular water itself. Neutral water means they are present in equal amounts, not that they are absent. The ocean contains more OH- than H+ ions.

CO2 is a perfect straight line. When combined with water, it becomes H2CO3-- ("carbonic acid"), the CO3-- part being a perfect triangle with the C in the center. That's called the CARBONATE ION. Baking Soda is sodium bicarbonate (Na+/HCO3-), a mild base and titled a bit oddly since there is no "bi" about it, but is a quite hardy buffer since it can absorb a proton (H+) from even the strongest skin-burning acid without the overall solution becoming very acidic, or give off a proton if you add skin-burning base such as drain cleaner. A century ago Baking Soda was used, dry, as a scrubbing toothpaste. If you dissolve it in water, it gets a little fizzy tasting, eh? Just like tonic water. Tastes bitter too, since it's a slight base (having only one H+ to balance the CO3--). Now mix it with vinegar. The whole mess boils over onto the table. That's CO2 coming out, as the vinegar turns CO3-- into what is called carbonic acid, H2CO3, which is is rapid dissociative equilibrium favoring becoming CO2 and water. Since CO2 is NOT very soluble in water, but the huge spoonfuls of sodium bicarbonate you added was, you have just created a super-saturated fizzy drink, much more carbonated that sodas.

[To make a bomb, take a large mouth container 1/3 filled with vinegar, and then add a bunch of baking soda, held above up by a paper towel that you hold by tightly screwing the lid over. When you throw it, the two mix, and the bottle explodes.]

The theory of ALARMISM is that acidity decreases the LEVEL of carbonate ion (CO3-- that is made from dissolved CO2 combined with water, but then has had two H+ protons pulled off), in simple acid/base equilibrium, in favor of bicarbonate ion (HCO3- with only one proton pulled off), by, and this part *is* simple, increasing the acidity, so more protons are around to turn BIOAVAILABLE CARBONATE into theoretically "UNAVAILABE" BICARBONATE (even though below it is claimed that actual CORAL *prefer* bicarbonate!). But carbonate counts for certain very important photosynthesizing microorganisms that build shells.

This article, on the other hand, presents a TWO alternative theories to that of the alarmists.

(1) The "standard" aquarium tender's theory:

CO2 in oceans DECREASES THE PRECIPITATION tendency of CALCIUM CARBONATE, a solid mineral, making it harder for organisms to manipulate it to be locally OVERSATURATED so that it solidifies as a mineral to form their skeleton. How? Adding more CO2 to the ocean acidifies it, making the equilibrium between true carbonate (CO3--) and protonated carbonate (bicarbonate ion HCO3-) more favor BICARBONATE instead of CARBONATE (and unlike calcium, CO2 is NOT YET at saturation limit in the sea so more CO2 in the future could increase this effect even a bit more). The solution that these aquarium keepers use, is to add base, and thus indeed create more raw CO3-- in their artificial sea, so it can combine with calcium to form a solid. Calcium is Ca++ so it's a 1:1 match between these two ions.

[Curiously enough, something I didn't know, is that CALCIUM CARBONATE is, unlike most mineral salts MORE soluble in colder water, and so the fact that the oceans are lately cooling could be either a good or bad thing, since at first glance and especially early on (before the ocean has time to actually dissolve more calcium), that would make it less easy to create its ions into a solid skeleton, but on the other hand, may increase the amount of CALCIUM in the sea, long term, making skeletons easier to form.]

[Another theory that makes sense is that organisms precipitate solid calcium carbonate exactly by locally basifying the local area by USING PHOTOSYNTHESIS to suck up CO2!]

(2) The biological theory:

That acidity makes the enzymatic (nanomachinery) CALCIUM PUMP of organisms less efficient.

[The author then concludes that "This suggests to me a lot of regulation by the coral host, or perhaps mechanisms at play that are not yet known."]


Anonymous said...

I finally found a graph of ACTUAL CORAL REEF GROWTH over the last 100 years, in your neighborhood, actually.

Just like trees, coral, the red variety making great ornaments for belt buckles or necklaces, forms growth rings, which both the thickness and density are measured to give a growth rate.

It's from a report called "Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Coral Reefs and Other Marine Calcifiers" the report by a big conference in 2006 ( Oddly enough, they *show* this graph, and comment on how it was made, but unlike the rest of the disaster-scenario 100 page document, FAIL TO COMMENT on its obvious implications (that it has been slowly falling until 1940 when CO2 started going way up, AND THEN SO DID CORAL REEF GROWTH!!!):¤t=Coral-Calcification-Since-1800.jpg

Oh, but elsewhere, they do spit it out!:

"If seawater chemistry was the only variable affecting calcification, then calcification records from corals and other organisms should show a decrease in calcification over the past century. While some individual calcification records from massive corals do reveal a decrease in calcification rate over the past century, on average they do not, and this is believed to reflect the effects of other variables on calcification."

They claim a correlation with temperature. But remember, coral reefs *should* like more acidity if they actually feed on bicarbonate instead of carbonate, so that still leaves "other calcifiers."

And finally, an admission from the same report:

"The media provides the most direct link between scientists and the community, but the effectiveness of how well the media conveys important scientific findings to the public is often no better than how well the scientists communicate with the media. Unfortunately, the topic of ocean acidification and how it affects marine organisms IS COMPLEX AND REQUIRES MORE EXPLANATION THAN, SAY, THE ATMOSPHERIC GREEHOUSE EFFECT."

Anonymous said...


"Calcification in reef organisms may increased by increased atmospheric CO2 because possible effects of slightly deceased pH on calcification are likely to be offset by an increase in calcification due to increase in carbonate ion concentration, and in total dissolved inorganic carbon."

A good read, since he goes into both measurement of actual increases, as well as does an aquarium experiment that simulates a doubling of CO2, and gets more coral growth.

Wow, debunking this "ocean acidification" thing only took three days from my first having heard of it. So coral LOVES CO2.

I can find NO data on microorganisms (Coccolithophores being the main carbonate shelled ones) over time, only that they are very old, and evolved when CO2 was over 10X today's level, but a graph over the last century would be the final nail in the coffin. Algae blooms often happen at river outlets near land, so some old "naturalist" must have started the business of counting the things long ago.

Anonymous said...

Today, the latest cover of 'Science News' weekly magazine, about OCEAN ACIDIFICATION. I haven't read the puny article in side, but will note that is DECADE old, mostly abandoned science, since "global warming" (climate science) took over, so there is little data on it.

But this sort of thing is how a media blitz begins:¤t=ScienceNews0308.jpg

Anonymous said...

He who has eyes let him see, that latest cover of magazine 'Science News'. Ocean Acidification. But it turns out, this science is more than a decade old, and NASA *had* a satellite to monitor algae blooms, but it died in about a decade ago, so they are launching another one, soon.

Anyway, shutter in fear, upon viewing this end-of-the-world cover of the most vigorous (not sold in airports) weekly rag on late breaking science:

A quick scan indicates that indeed SILICONE instead of CARBONATE microorganisms may become dominant.

The point is that the COVER is the main science rag, the least biased of all, is pushing OCEAN ACIDIFICATION ideas now. Not a PEEP out of them for a decade, and now old dusty files are turned into press releases.

They are not stupid. But they are not very smart either.