May 01, 2016

Ocean Acidifiication? Fuggitaboutit!

Timothy Birdnow

Answer me quickly; what is an atoll? Beep! Times up!

An atoll is an island formed from coral. When an undersea volcano pushes up a volcanic island, corals begin building a reef around the volcanic island. Eventually they build right up out of the water, and get covered with dirt, and eventually colonized by plants. The volcanoe itself drops out and what is left is a circular island with water in the center - a lagoon. The south Pacific is dotted with atolls, tiny islands that sit just a couple of feet above sea level.
See more on coral reef formation here and read about seamounts and guyots here.

That is important, remember it.

Writing in The U.K. Spectator James Dellingpole - Britain's analogue to Tim Ball - writes a devastating column about the so-called "ocean Acidification" and how it is simply another scare tactic, one designed to save the old Global Warming hysteria.

From the article:

"First referenced in a peer-reviewed study in Nature in 2003, it has since been endorsed by scientists from numerous learned institutions including the Royal Society, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the IPCC. Even the great David Attenborough — presenter of the Great Barrier Reef series — has vouched for its authenticity: ‘If the temperature rises up by two degrees and the acidity by a measurable amount, lots of species of coral will die out. Quite what happens then is anybody’s guess. But it won’t be good.’

No indeed. Ocean acidification is the terrifying threat whereby all that man-made CO2 we’ve been pumping into the atmosphere may react with the sea to form a sort of giant acid bath. First it will kill off all the calcified marine life, such as shellfish, corals and plankton. Then it will destroy all the species that depend on it — causing an almighty mass extinction which will wipe out the fishing industry and turn our oceans into a barren zone of death.

Or so runs the scaremongering theory. The reality may be rather more prosaic. Ocean acidification — the evidence increasingly suggests — is a trivial, misleadingly named, and not remotely worrying phenomenon which has been hyped up beyond all measure for political, ideological and financial reasons."

End excerpt.

And indeed "Ocean Acidificication" - a horrible misnomer as the oceans are alkaline and not acidic and won't be made acidic outside of geological ages if that were possible at all - has become the new rallying cry for the Gang Green. Remember Al Gore's poem?

Vapors rise as
Fever settles on an acid sea
Neptune's bones dissolve

Well, this pastiche gives you some perspective; Gore thought ocean acidification would dissolve "Neptune's bones" as though it had become battery acid. Why would he - or anyone - think that an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide from 2 to three molecules per ten thousand molecules of air would somehow acidify the oceans? The oceans have been there a long time; through periods of much higher atmospheric co2, through cataclysmic volcanic events, through asteroid strikes.

And it certainly makes no sense in light of this 2014 paper which demonstrated that increasing temperatures increases ph rather than reduces it, a result of co2 outgassing:

"A paper published today in Climate of the Past reconstructs water pH and temperature from a lake in central Japan over the past 280,000 years and clearly shows that pH increases [becomes more basic or alkaline] due to warmer temperatures, and vice-versa, becomes more acidic [or "acidified" if you prefer] due to cooling temperatures. This finding is the opposite of the false assumptions behind the "ocean acidification" scare, but is compatible with the basic chemistry of Henry's Law and outgassing of CO2 from the oceans with warming.

Thus, if global warming resumes after the "pause," ocean temperatures will rise along with CO2 outgassing, which will make the oceans more basic, not acidic. You simply cannot have it both ways:

"Either the oceans are getting warmer and the CO2 concentration in seawater is decreasing, which means that ocean acidification from man-made CO2 from the atmosphere is nonsense.

Or the oceans are getting cooler and the man-made CO2 from the atmosphere is dissolving in those cooler oceans and causing – insignificant – ocean acidification, which means that warming oceans and the associated sea level rises are nonsense.

In addition, the paper shows that pH of the lake varied over a wide range from ~7.5 to 8.8 simply depending on the temperature of each month of the year. As the "acidification" alarmists like to say, a variation of 1.3 pH units is equivalent to a 1995% change in hydrogen ions due to the logarithmic pH scale, just over a single year! Summer months are of course associated with warmer temperatures and more alkaline, higher pH and winter months associated with colder temperatures and much more "acidified" lower pH values. Note also how pH varies widely over ~7.5 to 8.8 simply dependent on the depth at a given time, because colder deeper waters can hold higher partial pressures of CO2 than the warmer surface waters:"

End excerpt.

And, as i pointed out at the beginning of this essay, most islands are ultimately the result of volcanism, with reefs doing just fine around them despite the fact that they are lowering ph in the vicinity.

Dellingpole continues:

"Howard Browman, a marine scientist for 35 years, has published a review in the ICES Journal of Marine Science of all the papers published on the subject. His verdict could hardly be more damning. The methodology used by the studies was often flawed; contrary studies suggesting that ocean acidification wasn’t a threat had sometimes had difficulty finding a publisher. There was, he said, an ‘inherent bias’ in scientific journals which predisposed them to publish ‘doom and gloom stories’.

Ocean acidification theory appears to have been fatally flawed almost from the start. In 2004, two NOAA scientists, Richard Feely and Christopher Sabine, produced a chart showing a strong correlation between rising atmospheric CO2 levels and falling oceanic pH levels. But then, just over a year ago, Mike Wallace, a hydrologist with 30 years’ experience, noticed while researching his PhD that they had omitted some key information. Their chart only started in 1988 but, as Wallace knew, there were records dating back to at least 100 years before. So why had they ignored the real-world evidence in favour of computer-modelled projections?

When Wallace plotted a chart of his own, incorporating all the available data, covering the period from 1910 to the present, his results were surprising: there has been no reduction in oceanic pH levels in the last -century.

Even if the oceans were ‘acidifying’, though, it wouldn’t be a disaster for a number of reasons — as recently outlined in a paper by Patrick Moore for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. First, marine species that calcify have survived through millions of years when CO2 was at much higher levels; second, they are more than capable of adapting — even in the short term — to environmental change; third, seawater has a large buffering capacity which prevents dramatic shifts in pH; fourth, if oceans do become warmer due to ‘climate change’, the effect will be for them to ‘outgas’ CO2, not absorb more of it.

Finally, and perhaps most damningly, Moore quotes a killer analysis conducted by Craig Idso of all the studies which have been done on the effects of reduced pH levels on marine life. The impact on calcification, metabolism, growth, fertility and survival of calcifying marine species when pH is lowered up to 0.3 units (beyond what is considered a plausible reduction this century) is beneficial, not damaging. Marine life has nothing whatsoever to fear from ocean acidification."

End excerpt.

In point of fact a reducing modest alkalinity level would be beneficial to plant growth, thus enriching the ecosystem. More plants mean more fish, more shellfish, more sea life.

The volume of Earth's oceans is estimated at 1,335,000,000 cubic kilometers, according to NOAA. We are told that Man is the primary producer of carbon going into the oceans. For example:

"Recent estimates have calculated that 26 percent of all the carbon released as CO2 from fossil fuel burning, cement manufacture, and land-use changes over the decade 2002–2011 was absorbed by the oceans. (About 28 percent went to plants and roughly 46 percent to the atmosphere.) During this time, the average annual total release of was 9.3 billion tons of carbon per year, thus on average 2.5 billion tons went into the ocean annually."

End excerpt.

Scary stuff indeed, if one believes it all! But is it really what it seems?

Not really.

"The natural CO2 flux to and from oceans and land plants amounts to approximately 210 gigatons of carbon annually. Man currently causes about 8 gigatons of carbon to be injected into the atmosphere, about 4% of the natural annual flux"


"It is ten times as likely that atmospheric CO2 is coming from natural sources, namely the warming ocean surface, as it is likely that it is coming from anthropogenic sources. The changes in CO2 track ocean surface temperature, not global carbon emissions. Burning fossil fuels is not increasing atmospheric CO2. Recovery from the Little Ice Age, driven by the sun, is causing the oceans to release CO2. It is temperature driving CO2 release, not the other way around. Just as it has always been.

As the sun gets quiet in the next few years, sea surface temperature will begin to fall, and the rise in CO2 will cease. If the sun stays quiet for 30 or 40 years, ocean surface temperatures will fall far enough to reverse the CO2 rise, the globe will enter a new little ice age, and things will get really interesting."

End excerpt.

And the reality is we don't know how much co2 volcanoes put in the atmosphere every year. See this paper by geologist Timothy Casey.

This paper gives us a list of more famous volcanic eruptions:

Year Volcano Mean Sulphurous Output Source Est. Carbon output during year(s) of eruption
1883AD Krakatoa 38 MtSO2pa Shinohara (2008) 26.14 MtCpa
1815AD Tambora 70 MtSO2pa Shinohara (2008) 48.16 MtCpa
1783AD Laki 130 MtSO2pa Shinohara (2008) 89.44 MtCpa
1600AD Huaynaputina 48 MtSO2pa Shinohara (2008) 33.02 MtCpa
1452AD Kuwae 150 MtH2SO4pa Witter & Self (2007) 67.40 MtCpa
934AD Eldja 110 MtSO2 Shinohara (2008) 75.68 MtCpa
1645BC Minoa 125 MtSO2pa Shinohara (2008) 86.00 MtCpa
circa 71,000BP Toba 1100 MtH2SO4pa Zielenski et al. (1996) 494.24 MtCpa

Notice how all but one of the individual annual volcanogenic carbon outputs, estimated above, dwarf the global subaerial volcanogenic carbon outputs estimated by both Gerlach (1991) & Kerrick (2001). Even the Morner & Etiope (2002) subaerial estimate (163 MtCpa) is shaken by most of these figures and dwarfed by one"

End excerpt.

This means that each of these volcanic eruptions dwarfs the annual anthropogenic output.

Dr. Casey points out:

"As we have seen, Gerlach (2011) says precisely the opposite. However, as Cardellini et al. (2011) point out:

"Large amounts of CO2 is also discharged by soil diffuse degassing at the quiescent volcanoes."

It seems that Gerlach (2011) drew his interpretation from a preference for the "global" "magmatic" carbon dioxide emission estimate of Marty and Tolstikhin (1998) which was devoloped from the generalisation of isotope ratios across provinces of varied geochemistry. This multimodal generalisation, as I have shown in the example of Laki (Section 2, above), can be spectacularly inaccurate. Gerlach reports this figure in the following contrastive statement:

"The projected 2010 anthropogenic CO2 emission rate of 35 gigatons per year is 135 times greater than the 0.26-gigaton- per-year preferred estimate for volcanoes."

In the units I am using here, that translates to a "preferred" estimate of worldwide volcanic carbon emission at 0.071 GtCpa. At this point, I think it worth contrasting this with a quote from Cardellini et al. (2011) who are actually engaged in some real research:

"Quantitative estimates provided a regional CO2 flux of about 9 Gt/y affecting the region (62000 km2), an amount globally relevant, being ~ 10% of the present-day global CO2 discharge from subaerial volcanoes."

That 9GtCO2pa translates to 2.45 GtCpa for just one region, which is more than 34 times the latest personally "preferred" "global" estimate offered by Gerlach (2011). This statement, by Cardellini et al. (2011) seems to originate with Chiodini et al. (2004) which states:

"The total CO2 released by TRSD and CDS (2.1 x 1011 mol/y) is globally significant, being ~10% of the estimated present-day total CO2 discharge from subaerial volcanoes of the Earth [Kerrick, 2001]."
Sic. (The incorrect use of square brackets, in this quote, is not mine. This error is probably on the part of the publisher.)

This figure, by Chiodini et al. (2004) translates to 0.0025 GtCpa which is about 10% of the lower figure for the estimate of Kerrick (2001). This is suggestive that the figure published in Cardellini et al. (2011) may have been misreported (unless, of course, it has since been revised). Assuming that the figure has, indeed, been misreported, we will consider the source paper. It would seem that the figure offered by Gerlach (2011) is more in line with this figure published by Chiodini et al. (2004). However, when we return to the to the point made by both Cardellini et al. (2011) and Chiodini et al. (2004) a very important question is raised. "

End excerpt.

And so much of this is a result of undersea volcanoes - which should absolutely destroy the "fragile" coral reef systems, yet we don't see problems with coral around these volcanoes.

Money and power, power and money. Those are the things that drive the climate change alarmism. The science is based almost entirley on computer projections and "we can't afford not to" rhetoric. There is an old maxim among lawyers that you argue the facts when they are with you, argue the law when the facts are against you, and attack the opposition when both are against you. Now we are in the phase where the global warming crowd are trying to use RICO laws against "deniars" because they have largely lost the argument. We are not seeing thermogeddon; on the contrary, planetary temperatures have remained largely stable for the last twenty some-odd years - in violation of all of the climate models. So they went to their fallback, which is proving equally weak.

We have been treated to decades of hysteria and scares, going back to Thomas Malthus, who started the apocalyptic science predictions - predictions that always seem to turn out wrong when the theory meets the real world. We've had pollution scares,food shortage scares, alar, dioxin, global cooling, the populaton bomb, ozone depletion, Rachel Carson's "silent spring" DDT scare, and now global warming, the mandarin of pseudo-scientific horror. It's not that they always turn out wrong, but so often people are willing to see the worst where there is no reason. To quote the Bible God is really in control. Sadly, too many people want to be God and believe in the power of Man the Most High, believe we have godlike powers. We don't, and it seems that every so often we must relearn that lesson.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 12:13 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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