Climate Science Glossary

Term Lookup

Enter a term in the search box to find its definition.


Use the controls in the far right panel to increase or decrease the number of terms automatically displayed (or to completely turn that feature off).

Term Lookup


All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

Home Arguments Software Resources Comments The Consensus Project Translations About Donate

Twitter Facebook YouTube Pinterest

RSS Posts RSS Comments Email Subscribe

Climate's changed before
It's the sun
It's not bad
There is no consensus
It's cooling
Models are unreliable
Temp record is unreliable
Animals and plants can adapt
It hasn't warmed since 1998
Antarctica is gaining ice
View All Arguments...

Keep me logged in
New? Register here
Forgot your password?

Latest Posts


Climate Hustle

Puget Sound, Under Threat From Ocean Acidification, Put on "Waters of Concern" List

Posted on 16 January 2012 by Rob Painting

This is a re-post of a press release from the Center For Biological Diversity

OLYMPIA, Wash.— In its water-quality report to the Environmental Protection Agency, the state of Washington classified the entire Puget Sound as “waters of concern” because of ocean acidification’s threat to local shellfish and fish resources. This means the data show that ocean acidification is threatening the region’s ability to support fish and shellfish. It also makes the area a priority for more monitoring and assessment.

“Ocean acidification is putting the whole Puget Sound ecosystem at risk,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Focusing on the entire Sound as a ‘water of concern’ because of ocean acidification is a key step toward monitoring the effects of this sea change and curbing those effects.”

The Pacific Northwest is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of ocean acidification. For many of the past six years, the region’s baby oysters have been unable to survive, in part due to acidifying waters. Scientists have documented waters affected by ocean acidification upwelling along the Pacific Coast during certain seasons and exposing marine life to corrosive waters.

“The science is in, and it says the Northwest’s stretch of ocean, and all the marine life it supports, is in trouble,” said Sakashita. “Washington may also be a warning beacon for the future of our oceans. But it isn’t enough to simply recognize the problem. We have to act, and that means cutting carbon pollution.”

In 2009, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit challenging Washington’s prior water-quality assessment for failing to declare coastal waters impaired by ocean acidification. As a result of a settlement of that lawsuit, the EPA directed all states to consider ocean acidification as a threat to water quality under the Clean Water Act.

In its new assessment, Washington again declined to identify coastal waters as “impaired” by acidification — a classification that would have required steps to curb carbon pollution causing acidification. Instead, only Puget Sound was put on the “waters of concern” list, a less urgent category.

Each day the world’s oceans absorb 22 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, most of which comes from burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests. Carbon dioxide reacts with seawater, causing it to become more acidic. Since preindustrial times the world’s oceans have become about 30 percent more acidic. Ocean acidification strips seawater of the materials that marine animals — such as corals, plankton and shellfish — use to build their shells and skeletons. This can stunt growth or cause deformations, often at a cost to the animal’s overall health.

0 0

Bookmark and Share Printable Version  |  Link to this page


Comments 1 to 37:

  1. What sort of pH changes are being talked about here?
    0 0
  2. I believe a .1 change in pH is equivalent to a 30% increase in concentration.
    0 0
  3. Yum oysters. We excel in denial. No problem here. We just ignore inconvenient facts. And that pesky EPA will soon be gone.

    The Puget Sound region is the land of falling bridge engineering failures and ignored science.

    Seattle is digging a below sea level traffic tunnel right on the waterfront and across an active fault. We are home to the Gates Foundation that heavily invests in coal. And Boeing is happily building planes for decades into the future - even tho US airports are starting to ground planes in summer heat. And remember it was a good thing Mt St Helens erupted on a Sunday - the very day that denialists like the sleep in.

    Move along. We call Seattle the Emerald City. Nothing to see here. No problems. Nothing to worry about. Pay no attention to that EPA behind the curtain.
    0 0
  4. Manwichstick - Tatoosh Island (at the entrance to the estuary containing Puget Sound) has seen a drop in pH much lower than fossil fuel emissions would suggest, so clearly there is some other aspect which is not yet understood.

    It happens to be a region of strong natural upwelling (of highly acidified deep water), but not just the 'imported' Pacific oyster is struggling there - wild mussel populations are poised upon the brink too. This is indeed very,very serious, and it's disappointing that an agency tasked with protecting the environment has to be taken to court to even acknowledge the damage being done.
    0 0
  5. Rob,
    Is there more to this than the press release? The article and the link are short on information.

    Also, is there any documentation to the last first sentence of the last paragraph?
    0 0
  6. Pirate - the acidification of the ocean right along the North American Pacific coast will be discussed in detail in an upcoming post. But that will be a couple of weeks away.

    You're right about being short on information - but the point of this re- post was to highlight the fact that the authorities had to be dragged along to court to acknowledge the problem. Oyster larvae started dissolving and dying 6 years ago from corrosive seawater.upwelling into the sound, and so far their response has been the all too familiar "heads in the sand' approach.

    Quite ironically part of the problem is intensified seasonal upwelling along the coast due to global warming. The strengthening winds lead to greater upwelling of corrosive deep water. This will be moderated depending on what phase the PDO (Pacific Decadal Osciallation) is in, but the source of the upwelling is water that was last at the surface around 40 years ago. In other words it will, most likely, progressively worsen.
    0 0
  7. Adrian Smits, this is an extremely inappropriate comment. Any change of pH toward a lower value constitutes acidification, regardless of what the original pH is. Just as well, a change in the other direction would be alkalinization, once again regardless of the original pH.

    I have seen this argument before and it could be summed up as the most stupid piece of nonsense ever uttered to make a consequence of CO2 release in the atmosphere seem innocuous through use of words. Seriously, you shouldn't go there.
    0 0
  8. Pirate - The figure of around a million tons of CO2, per hour, being absorbed by the ocean comes from one of Corinne Le Quere's papers IIRC. See if I can track it down.
    0 0
  9. Based on Le Quéré (2009) - just over 23 million tons of CO2 are absorbed by the oceans every day.
    0 0
  10. Let's hope that the marine biologists have done their homework and eliminated other possibilities such as infections of various kinds and local pollution (search under DOAG: Oyster and Clam Diseases) before pinning the blame on CO2. This press release looks typically sensationalist. Ocean acidification? The IPCC (Climate Change 2007 p405) state that the pH of surface waters ranges between 7.9 and 8.3 in the open ocean [-troll comment snipped-] so I'd like to know about the pH range in the environment of the aquatic life under discussion.
    I'd also be interested to know more about the physiology of the fish concerned, and what pH range they are able tolerate.
    0 0
    Moderator Response: [Rob P] - no more nonsense about the technical definition of acidification. It is considered trolling here - for good reason. See SkS series "OA not OK" on left-hand side of the page.
  11. Rob,
    From Scientific American, July 13, 2010 (Lauren Morello) , an estimated 24 to 29% of the pH drop is from CO2 and the rest from nutrient runoff.

    She is referencing a research paper by Richard Feely of the University of Idaho(Feely et al, 2010) entitled "The combined effects of ocean acidification, mixing, and respiration on pH and carbonate saturation in an urbanized estuary" which can be found here.

    In a nutshell, the estuary has a massive land/water interface, with large inputs of freshwater (which itself has a lower pH than saltwater), sediments, organic matter, nutrients, and pollutants from many natural and urbanized landscapes. This contributes to phytoplankton blooms which when they die sink to the bottom and decompose. The decomposition (respiration) process causes a decrease in O2 leading to hypoxic conditions, and an increase in CO2 which contributes to lower pH.

    From the conclusion "Further study of ocean acidification in estuaries is thus warranted because natural factors including acidic river inputs and restricted circulation can predispose these ecologically and economically important habitats toward corrosive, hypoxic conditions, and anthropogenic stressors such as nutrient enrichment may compound them."

    The paper does include several references to climate change and CO2 and I am not attempting to overlook that aspect, but it is clear that in the author's opinion nutrient enrichment is the dominant factor in the issues facing the estuary.

    Unequivocally humans are having an impact on the health of the bay and it is a serious issue that must be addressed. However, to tie the troubles of Puget Sound to the anthropogenic CO2 bandwagon is disingenuous on the part of the Center for Biological Diversity.
    0 0

    [DB] Insinuations of ideology and impropriety struck out.

  12. Pirate,

    The nice thing about science is that it is forward looking. It's not based purely on what has already happened and bemoaning our misfortune, but in anticipating the consequences of our actions (or inaction) so that we can avoid horrific mistakes.

    Along those lines the Scientific American article that you reference also includes the following very important caveat:
    Over time, they say, the effect of CO2 from human activities could begin to dwarf the contribution from decaying plankton. If the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hits 560 parts per million (ppm), it could account for 49 to 82 percent of the pH drop at that point in time.

    In light of this your final statement about the behavior of the Center for Biological Diversity is entirely wrong, as well as being a clear violation of this site's Comments Policy.
    0 0
  13. Pirate,

    FYI, there is no CO2 bandwagon, and your portrayal of any science in such a manner is an affront to scientists. As a science teacher, you owe it to everyone and your students in particular to do a heck of a lot better than that.
    0 0
  14. Sphaerica at 12
    I 100% agree with you that science is forward looking.

    If you had read the original paper you would have seen this statement immediately following the paragraph you cut/pasted from Scientific American:

    "Of course,the uncertainty on this calculation is very high, as other changes that may occur over the intervening time were not taken into account, such as increased water temperature associated with anthropogenic climate change and its effects on biological and physical processes (e.g. Bopp et al., 2002; Hofmann and Todgham, 2010); changes in terrestrial inputs of nutrients, freshwater, and carbon linked to climate or land-use change (e.g. Borges and Gypens, 2010); or changes in marine inputs due to basin-scale changes in ocean circulation (e.g. Rykaczewski and Dunne, 2010)."

    The looking forward that needs to be done includes all the items listed above.
    0 0
  15. Acidification doesn't strip sea water of shell building Calcium but it does make it unavailable. I know, I'm splitting hairs. Think of the local effect when methane clathrate breaks down and the methane combines with the oxygen in the water to make Carbon dioxide. Acidification and anoxia all in one package. The Arctic ocean, especially off the coast of Siberia will not be a pleasant place for sea life. Then the dead animals will contribute their load of oxygen consumption and methane/oxides of sulphur/ammonia production.
    0 0
  16. DB at 11
    I will respect your interpretation and administration of the Comments Policy. I did not intend to make insinuations of ideology and impropriety, and am not sure that I did. My apologies if my statement came across that way.

    Perhaps I should have used the word selective instead when referring to the press release issued by the CBD. The original research clearly lists natural and anthropogenic nutrient enrichment as the dominant cause of hypoxic and acidifying conditions in the bay. A reasonable attempt to estimate the amount and the impact of antropogenic CO2 is made. There premises have validity and as a scientist I think it justifies the need for further research.

    However, the CBD press release only refers to the absorption of CO2 by the oceans and ignores the nutrient enrichment issue. This may not be entirely the fault of the CBD staffer who wrote the press release because they don't have a science background.

    0 0

    [DB] Off-topic snipped.

  17. Pirate - in your attempt to concern troll you have not bothered to comprehend comments made earlier this thread. Particularly comments 4. This what I wrote.

    "Tatoosh Island (at the entrance to the estuary containing Puget Sound) has seen a drop in pH much lower than fossil fuel emissions would suggest, so clearly there is some other aspect which is not yet understood."

    Also in comment @ 6 - I wrote:

    "Quite ironically part of the problem is intensified seasonal upwelling along the coast due to global warming. The strengthening winds lead to greater upwelling of corrosive deep water. This will be moderated depending on what phase the PDO (Pacific Decadal Osciallation) is in, but the source of the upwelling is water that was last at the surface around 40 years ago. In other words it will, most likely, progressively worsen."

    Yes, many other factors are in play, that's simply a reflection of how significantly humans are altering natural systems. All these human perturbations are causing problems for natural ecosystems, not only atmospheric CO2.

    And to insinuate that atmospheric CO2 isn't a problem when the oceans are now more acidified than they have been in many millions of years is simply preposterous. I expect better from someone who claims to teach earth sciences.

    The fact that ocean acidification is a likely kill mechanism for numerous ancient extinction events, and coral reef extinctions and crises is a reason for scientific concern. The preferential extinction of marine life which depended heavily on calcification (calcium carbonate shell/skeleton-building), or less buffered marine life, clearly implicates ocean acidification as the culprit. This should be a worry to every person on the planet because the current rate of increase in atmospheric CO2 is unprecedented in Earth's history (as far as the paleodata allow). It is around 5-27 times faster than the PETM extinction & 15-30 faster than the Permian Extinction (the Great Dying).

    Fortunately we don't have enough fossil fuels to replicate the total CO2 output of those extinction events, but it's the rate that is the concern. There will be tears before bedtime, of that we can be sure.
    0 0
  18. william @ 15 - "Acidification doesn't strip sea water of shell building Calcium but it does make it unavailable. I know, I'm splitting hairs"

    You're not splitting hairs, you're just plain wrong. Please read the SkS series "OA not OK" on the left-hand side of the page. It's the reduction in carbonate ions that causes problems for marine life that build their shells & skeletons from calcium carbonate (chalk).

    And on the Arctic, that region is likely to experience near-surface waters that are corrosive to marine life in about another 5 years. Ocean acidification is unravelling fast in the polar regions.
    0 0
  19. RP at 17
    I am not "concern trolling" and furthermore find that accusation offensive and disappointing on your part. I read your statements that you reposted here and that is what led me to look at other sources of information.

    I did not insinuate that atmospheric CO2 is not a factor in OA. I actually agree that it occurs. I even plainly stated that the premise has validity and justifies further research. It was plainly written and there is no room for misinterpretation - unless one wants to misinterpret.
    0 0
  20. Related reading:

    "Reef fish at risk as carbon dioxide levels build” The Age, Jan 17, 2012

    This article summarizes the results of a just published, peer-reviewed paper about how ocean acidification may affect the nervous systems of certain fish species.
    0 0
  21. 14, Pirate,

    I think you are grossly misinterpreting the situation by putting too much emphasis on what is causing the problem today, while ignoring the much more tragic and seemingly inevitable problem that will come to pass if we don't get our carbon emissions under control.

    In a nutshell, I'm saying that the study points to how bad the current problem is, with numerous causes, while recognizing that the future problem will be much worse and the cause then will not be in doubt.

    You counter that fossil fuel emissions possibly only contribute in part to today's problem.

    By focusing on the immediate instead of the future you openly avoid the larger problem.

    You're like someone who has been playing Russian Roulette and now is somehow overjoyed at your great fortune at having survived five pulls of the trigger, while darn well knowing that you still have a sixth and final pull to go – one that you can't possibly win.
    0 0
  22. Sphaerica at 21,
    Yep, I acknowledged the current problem, but in no way underestimated the the potential future problem. As a matter of fact, I pretty much said the same thing as Feely did in the conclusion of his paper (emphasis mine):

    "While field data on the impacts of CO2 on the local marine ecosystems of Puget Sound do not exist, laboratory and field experiments with related species of calcifying organisms suggest that there is a real cause for concern for the health of this economically important marine ecosystem. Similar processes may be causing decreases of pH and aragonite saturation states in other coastal estuaries and embayments of the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere. Further study of ocean acidification in estuaries is thus warranted because natural factors including acidic river inputs and restricted circulation can predispose these ecologically and economically important habitats toward corrosive, hypoxic conditions, and anthropogenic stressors such as nutrient enrichment may compound them."

    Your creative writing, as usual, is quite good. However, your Russian Roulette analogy is highly innacurate and inneffective. I either stated or inferred in 11, 14, 16, and 19 that further study of OA is justified. Therefor, I would no more pick up that gun thinking it had one bullet in it than you would thinking it had 6. Analogies should never be used as arguments to reach a conclusion, and should never substitute for reason and logic.
    0 0
  23. 22, Pirate,

    Let's make it simple. As we have discussed elsewhere, for many tens of millions of years there has been exactly the same amount of carbon in the ocean/atmopshere/biosphere system. It is very, very hard to add more to the system, and doing so generally occurs on very large timescales (i.e. millions of years). The same CO2 cycles among those three areas, with vast stores kept well sequestered underground (fossil fuels and rock) and in the deep oceans (sediments).

    The largest variation in the distribution of carbon occurs between glacial periods, where levels in the atmosphere increase by 105 ppm from about 180 ppm to 285 ppm of the course of several thousand years.

    At this point in time, in two hundred years, we have sucked 337 Gt of carbon out of the ground and added it to the system. That's 337 Gt that have been stored underground for hundreds of millions of years.

    There are only three places for it to go, the atmosphere, the oceans and into biomatter.

    It's not going to preferentially go into biomatter, or the atmosphere. It's going to go everywhere.

    So if we go from the 395 ppm that we're at now to 560 ppm, an increase of another 175 ppm over the 110 ppm that we have already added, then a very large and noticeable chunk of that will go into the oceans.

    Ocean pH will fall. Recognizing this does not require a knowledge of estuaries and natural factors. It does not require further study. Yes, other factors at present are dangerous, require study, and may require action. But all of that will be moot if we continue to whimsically burn fossil fuels at the current rate.

    Further study of ocean acidification in estuaries is warranted because there are lots of ways to foul up the planet and we'd like to understand all of them. Further study is not needed to find reasons to ignore the dire implications of continuing to burn fossil fuels at a preposterous rate while we patiently other study things in order to figure out just how badly we've messed up by ignoring the obvious.

    As far as your assertion that you would not play even one round of Russian Roulette, your behavior and comments say otherwise, because you already are (and it's all the more poignant that you don't even know that you are playing).
    0 0
  24. Sphaerica at 23
    Starting at paragraph 6...
    You could not be more wrong in your statement about estuaries and natural factors not requiring further study on the effects of anthropogenic CO2. According to Heely's paper about 25% of the impact to a bay/fjord/estuary system is currently coming from anthropogenic CO2. The rest comes from anthropogenic and natural sources on land.

    Natural sources from land probably can't be managed, but if we can learn how to manage the anthropogenic input then we greatly reduce pressure on the aquatic systems that are a source for a lot of our food supply. Actions like that essentially buy time while we wean ourselves off fossil fuels.

    The CO2 already released into the biosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere is going to be there for a very long time even if a miracle energy source were to be developed tomorrow. That doesn't appear likely and furthermore there are not any likely short-term solutions.

    We are not "whimsically" burning fossil fuels. I don't need to list the reasons we use them, but I know right now that my children and yours live vastly more comfortable and safe lives because we do. I don't think it will happen in mine and your lifetimes, but I do think that within our children's lifetimes we will have solved most of our energy problems. And, hopefully we can solve a lot of our other environmental problems. There are going to be an awful lot more humans by the end the century.

    To gnash one's teeth about the need for changes without offering solutions is poignant in and of itself.
    0 0
  25. 24, Pirate,

    I never said they didn't require more study. In fact my exact words were "Further study of ocean acidification in estuaries is warranted because..."

    I said that such studies are important in addressing the immediate problem, but the uncertainties are not a valid excuse for ignoring the additional, constant influx of CO2 into the oceans due to fossil fuel use, which represents a problem which will dwarf the current issue, and which will have few if any viable solutions once it comes to pass.

    Yes, the CO2 already released is going to be there a long time, as will every gigaton of CO2 that we add between now and the future on our path to 560 ppm. How can you recognize the first factor, without being at all cognizant of the second?

    We are "whimsically" burning fossil fuels when American housewives drive 4 ton SUVs by themselves two miles to the grocery store and back, every day, instead of using a more fuel efficient vehicle and more sensible practices. We are "whimsically" burning fossil fuels when companies consider it cost effective to fly an employee from the USA to Germany for a two hour meeting, and then to turn around after the meeting and fly them straight back without even time for a meal let alone an overnight stay, several times a month (my brother did this for years).

    Odd that you talk about the need for changes and solutions, when your own approach amounts to "we better study more before we act" and "we better study something else and ignore the larger, well-understood and quantified problem." Everything you say points to delay, ignore and business-as-usual. The scientists under discussion flat out said that 560 ppm was going to account for 49% to 82% of a pH drop that was going to be much larger than today's, but instead you choose to focus on what we don't know about estuaries and stop your thought process dead, right there.

    And in the next breath your make your own lack of foresight evident when you talk about solving the problem within our children's lifetimes. As long as you don't need to solve the problem (because, after all, you think you can't, because you won't even recognize it or attempt to try), it doesn't need one ounce of your attention.

    So you blatantly want to pass the problem on to all of our children.

    That is so lame.
    0 0
  26. Sphaerica at 25

    I would use irresponsible or unwise in place of whimsical, and FWIW I agree with you in paragraph 4.

    I will rephrase what you addressed in paragraph 5. We know there are several different paramaters that affect the health of the bays. Some we can address right now and some we can address in the very near future. The CO2 part of the equation is going to be around for the long term regardless of our actions. So, why not address what we can right now? If we can immediately minimize, or better yet eliminate the human impact of the nutrient input - then we are helping the health of the bay and giving it a better prognosis for survival when facing the rising impacts of the anthropogenic CO2 issue.

    And, to be perfectly clear, my thought processes continue well past wanting to know more about the biology, chemistry and ecology of the bay. Shame on you for writing that I am not concerned about the other issues. I am one of those guys who actually does something about the environmental health of our waterways, through writing, implementing and/or monitoring Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP), or Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plans (SPCC). You've seen my environmental consulting website.

    As matter of fact, when I formed my company my very first consulting job involved studies of cooling water intake structure impacts, riverine tidal zones, and a very complex study of coastal effluent mixing zones using the CORMIX modeling software.

    That is the area of my expertise and that is where I can help (and make a little money along the way). Other than my personal actions and behavior, there is not a lot I can do about CO2 emissions. I will leave that to the experts in those specialized fields.

    I am very much cognizant that current CO2 is here to say and future CO2 will only add to the problems. Whether anyone likes it, or not, fossil fuel use is going to be with us a long time. Don't confuse my pragmatism with ignorance or apathy.

    I am curious as to what you believe the actual problems are and what our "actions" should be? Do you honestly believe they will be solved in our lifetime? You and I probably have a good 30 to 40 years left. We can take that off-line if you would like.

    Being polite, I will dismiss your last 2 sentences.
    0 0
  27. Our problem is that we have a seemingly "cheap" energy source that comes with an immense sticker shock we will not experience until after we've already taken it home and unwrapped it (i.e. another 400 Gt of carbon emissions).

    Our actions should be to be intelligent and realistic thinking creatures and to factor in the full expense of our actions, not simply the obvious, immediate expense.

    In particular, there is a vast amount of unnecessary waste in the system, and an unnecessary and harmful adherence to an aging infrastructure which keeps us in that rut.

    Things must change eventually, and that change will be for the better when it comes. The only people who are benefiting from the status quo are those who stand to profit from as yet untapped fossil fuel reserves.

    Transitions to new behaviors, methods, technologies and systems will create both jobs and savings.

    The solutions do not all revolve around getting the price per kilowatt of solar power down to some tolerable level.

    Example: People in the USA do not need everything they buy on the Internet over-nighted to their doorstep. A delivery truck could come through the neighborhood once a week with all of the deliveries for you and your neighbors, but at an immense cost savings. The huge, carbon-emitting infrastructure that routes and delivers zillions of individual packages one by one by one is unnecessary and foolish.

    But... as long as there is a plurality of people who view ignoring the problem as "pragmatism" rather than escapism we are going to be trapped and tricked into buying a product that comes with a price that we cannot afford to pay, much like any deal with the Devil where the gravity of your own choices does not hit you until all you can do is scream in terror.

    It is necessary that people like you who are capable of understanding the problem do so in its entirety, and do not attempt to distract others from the realities of our course by saying, in effect, "well, look, a lot of the problem today is from the estuaries, so let's study that and not worry so much about something none of us can change anyway, because I don't want to be bothered with the effort."
    0 0
  28. Sphaerica at 27
    Paragraph 7: Good idea and FedEx and UPS pretty much design their routes like that already. Can't say that for the USPS who runs the same route every day. The private sector companies are in it for a profit and do a much more efficient and cost-effective job than the government run USPS.

    Paragraph 8: Until someone can offer a better solution than what we have now, please don't refer to my pragmatism as escapism. Again, offer realistic solutions.

    How comfortable would we be sending our children off to a school out of state where power is intermittent and their physical comfort and health (heating/cooling/hot water/cooked food) is not guaranteed, and we could only contact them sporadically?

    Paragraph 9: (Back to the OA) Please tell me how I am distracting anyone. I am offering (and actually doing) my part to work on the solution. If you can justify that statement about me you put in quotation marks, I will send a personal check of $100 to any charity of your choice. Otherwise, I expect an apology.

    (-snipYour responses are very emotional and lacking in the intelligence you often bring to these discussions-). OA appears to be a very realistic and troubling issue in which humans may be playing a significant role. Regardless of the significance of our roles in OA, there are many, many things we can be doing now, and should be doing to better protect our marine environments.
    0 0

    [DB] All parties, please tone down the personal remarks and dial back the emotions a bit.

    Inflammatory snipped.

  29. So let's agree...

    1) The current situation in the Puget Sound requires investigation and action to determine and mitigate all factors causing the current drop in pH.

    This is based on the fact that (a) a serious drop in pH is dangerous and (b) we do not know all of the factors involved in reducing the pH.

    2) Anthropogenic CO2 represents a significant and irreversible future threat to the Puget Sound, and one that cannot be prevented without taking serious action in the near future.

    This is based on the fact that (a) a serious drop in pH is dangerous, (c) a drop that results from increased levels of CO2 concordant in both the atmosphere and the oceans is a situation which, once attained, cannot be mitigated in any way, and (d) the burning of fossil fuels at the current or an accelerated rate for a sustained period of decades will result in (c).

    Therefore, study and action is required in the case of point 1, and action is required in the case of point 2.
    0 0
  30. Before we discuss the particulars, what serious action do you propose?
    0 0
  31. 30, Pirate,

    Given (1) your stated investment in the environment and marine ecology, (2) your recognition of the dangers of ocean acidification, and (3) your recognition of that eventual situation from extensive, ongoing anthropogenic emissions, as well as (4) the warning from the scientists under discussion here that an increase to 560 ppm will greatly change the existing equation (i.e. 49% to 82% of an even greater pH change would then be due to anthropogenic carbon emissions) I simply wish to see a direct and unequivocal statement from you that such emissions are a serious problem that must be addressed, resulting in serious, negative consequences if we fail to do so in an adequate and timely manner.
    0 0
  32. I can't possibly make a statement like that until you quantify what you mean by "addressed" (how), and what you consider adequate and timely.

    Again, I ask of you, what "actions" do you propose we take?

    Also, part 4 should not read WILL, but MAY, greatly change as the author states that the uncertainty is very high:

    "Under this scenario, the estimated percentage contribution of ocean acidification to the corrosiveness forecasted for the southern end of Hood Canal increases to 49e82%. Of course, the uncertainty on this calculation is very high...".

    "Nonetheless, this estimate illustrates the increased role that ocean acidification may play in a high-CO2 world...".
    0 0
  33. So your position is that the problem doesn't exist until I tell you what the solution is? Or simply that you won't admit that the problem exists until I've given you a solution that you consider to be painless?

    It's no wonder that you can't help to solve the problem, because you can't get as far as even identifying it until you first have a simple, easy, cheap solution in hand.

    As far as part 4... since we have already well quantified the absorption of CO2 and accompanying pH changes in the ocean in general (not simply a specific place like the Puget Sound), and we know that the only possible source of the CO2 is anthropogenic in origin, under what scenario can you possibly suggest that doubling CO2 in the atmosphere from the pre-industrial 280 ppm to levels of 560 ppm or more could possibly correlate to a "may" greatly change ocean pH?

    The uncertainty that is discussed, I'm sure, is the wide range between 49% and 82%. 49% is the bare minimum, and bad enough.

    But more importantly, you left out the specific reasons the paper listed for that uncertainty (emphasis mine):
    ...other changes that may occur over the intervening time were not taken into account, such as increased water temperature associated with anthropogenic climate change and its effects on biological and physical processes (e.g. Bopp et al., 2002; Hofmann and Todgham, 2010); changes in terrestrial inputs of nutrients, freshwater, and carbon linked to climate or land-use change (e.g. Borges and Gypens, 2010); or changes in marine inputs due to basin-scale changes in ocean circulation...
    You are really, really dancing on this one. It is amazing to me, the lengths to which you will go to deny that there is a problem, or that you have any responsibility for recognizing it and at least supporting action, if not directly taking any on your own part.
    0 0
  34. As a regular, non-scientific reader of this site, this continuing back and forth that has been happening on this thread has me a bit concerned. Can we agree that "apiratelooksat50"s efforts to mitigate the OA issues within his/her area of expertise is to be commended, while acknowledging 'Sphaerica's' point that such efforts are necessary but not sufficient to deal with the totality of the OA issue?
    I may be naive, but I don't read "apiratelooksat50" as denying there is a problem, washing his/her hands of responsibility or that he/she is not directly taking action. (see post # 26) 'Pragmatism' can sometimes be interpreted as 'defeatism', but the way things seem to be going.....
    0 0
  35. Sphaerica at 33
    I can't make the statement you are requesting until you define the parameters of your request. Just define the word "action" in your own words. I cannot agree to something for which I don't know the meaning. It doesn't matter if the solution is painful or painless.

    I've acknowledged repeatedly there is an existing problem and the potential of a greater future problem.

    I don't know why you think I don't see the problem - my posts clearly agree with the premise of the paper that the current problem is two-fold: the greater being nutrient enrichment and the lesser being anthropogenic CO2. And, future problems appear to be greater than current.

    As an environmental professional, I know some problems are costly and some are not, but I've never confused the right thing to do with the cost of doing it. I look for the best solution regardless of the cost. It's called a cost/benefit analysis, but sometimes you have to pay the cost regardless.

    Please don't confuse my asking you to clarify your definition of actions with looking for a solution. After seeing your example/solution of overnighted internet deliveries being changed to once a week - I'm not holding my breath.

    At this point, until you can come up with your definition of "actions" or examples of "actions" you would like to see taken, I can't and won't respond any further on this subject matter.
    0 0
  36. 35, Pirate,
    I can't and won't...
    This has always been clear, and grows increasingly so.
    0 0
  37. When all is said and done, does it not come back to basic math and physics? IF we (including Pirate and Sphaerica!) agree with the vast majority of Clim. Sc. that 450 ppm is a 'danger demarcation' line' (if there is no agreement, then nothing much to talk about here) and therefor about 237 Gt Carbon is the total allowance remaining THEN...regardless of OA or anything else...we need to 1)Cap remaining total carbon emissions EVER at 237 Gt (and that's ignoring in the pipeline warming) 2) get our a**es moving and install replacement capacity with non-carbon sources. Yes? De-incentivize carbon, incentivize renewables (and efficiency) and do it! The 'solutions' start with the will and commitment...just like Apollo, just like WWII gear up and Manhattan project...there are many plan solutions already out there...THAT is not the sticking point.
    0 0

You need to be logged in to post a comment. Login via the left margin or if you're new, register here.

The Consensus Project Website


(free to republish)

Smartphone Apps


© Copyright 2018 John Cook
Home | Links | Translations | About Us | Contact Us