Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

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25 February 2013

The Ocean Acidification Myth

Professor Cliff Ollier of the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Western Australia has written an interesting and entertaining article on the myth of ocean acidification.  The oceans are always alkaline or basic, not acidic.  The acidity or alkalinity of water is measured on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral.  This is the pH scale and basic pH is greater than 7, while acidic pH is less than 7.  The oceans are commonly about pH 8.2 and it is very difficult to reduce the basic water even to neutral water because this is a logarithmic measurement.  Through at least the last 600 million years the oceans have not been acidic.  The most added dissolved CO2 does to the oceans is make them less basic or alkaline.

Among Professor Ollier's interesting comments:
  • CO2 is critically needed by coral, shellfish, and marine plants.
  • A volcanic vent bubbling huge amounts of CO2 to the surface is a favorite of divers because of the thriving life there, including corals.  The water there is fully saturated with CO2.
  • Ocean pH varies by 0.3 by region and seasonally by 0.3 in a given area.
  • The day to night variation in a coral pool was found to be 9.4 to 7.5, making claimed variations due to atmospheric CO2 look very inconsequential.
  • Marine life evolved at much higher atmospheric concentrations of CO2 than we have now or would have if CO2 atmospheric concentrations doubled.  As is the case with land plants, it appears that marine life is better served by higher CO2 concentrations.
  • Under good conditions, a coral reef can grow by 2 cm a year and added CO2 helps.  [From 1870 to 200, the average rate of sea level rise is claimed to be 1.5 mm a year.  Faster rates of as high as 3.3 mm a year have been claimed for 1993 to 2009, but coral reef islands can keep up.  Indeed, they have to have had this capability to deal with past climate changes over the last few hundred million years.]  Most atoll islands are doing well in keeping up.
  • Human additions of CO2 to the atmosphere compared to what some plants and animals have removed in making limestone are trivial.  There is far more CO2 in limestone than there is in the oceans and the atmosphere combined.  Because the oceans remain alkaline, this stored CO2 in the form of limestone is not released and the result is a CO2 deprived planet.

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