Climate change dictated by the ocean

Oct 22, 2010
Tasman glacial melt. Photo by EmmaJG http://www.flickr.com/photos/emmajg/

(PhysOrg.com) -- The influence of the world’s oceans over carbon dioxide levels and climate change is better understood thanks to researchers from the University of Canberra and The Australian National University.

The influence of the world’s oceans over carbon dioxide levels and is better understood thanks to researchers from the University of Canberra and The Australian National University.

The scientists – Dr. Michael Ellwood from the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences in the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences and Professor Bill Maher, Head of the EcoChemistry Laboratory, University of Canberra – have developed techniques to test what nutrient levels marine plants need to survive. The research, which studied nutrient levels back to the last Ice Age and beyond, sheds new light on the impact of carbon dioxide on the planet.

The researchers say that with carbon dioxide levels predicted to rise due to the continued burning of fossil fuels it is essential to understand what stimulates the growth of marine algae.

“Our study revealed that marine plants help to control the level of carbon dioxide released in the atmosphere,” said Dr. Ellwood.

“Understanding the distributions of key nutrients such as phosphate, nitrate and silicate in the surface and deep-ocean is essential to understand the method by which marine plants influenced the drawdown of atmospheric in the past,” he added.

Through their research Dr. Ellwood and Professor Maher have been able to monitor changes in nutrient levels back to the last ice age and beyond.

“This research reconstructed the distribution of nutrients in the Southern Ocean using the silicon isotope composition of fossil marine sponges,” Dr. Ellwood said.

Professor Maher said “this is the first time that scientists have had a complete historical picture of nutrients in the Southern Ocean. These findings allow us to better understand the role will play in the marine carbon cycle and the how it is likely to be impacted from burning fossil fuel burning.”

Explore further: New signs of eruption at Iceland volcano

More information: The researchers’ paper: ‘Glacial silicic acid concentrations in the Southern Ocean: Higher concentrations in the Pacific Sector’ is published in the most recent Science Express.

Provided by Australian National University

3.6 /5 (11 votes)

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ArtflDgr
1.9 / 5 (9) Oct 22, 2010
So if the sun went out we would still be warm... nice to know..

the ocean is a sink hole for heat from the sun..
when there isnt enough, it becomes ice
when there is more, it becomes water

the whole cucle of this is a climate feedback loop which lends to stability.

ALSO, one has to compute how fluid increase affects wobble...

after all, a planet with oceans as high as they are now has a different wobble than a planet which is ice covered.

warm climate damps the system...
[which is why they have the weather thing inverted and wrong]
cold climate allows the system to increase wobble over time (thanks to core flow)

so it gets warmer, there is more liquid
when there is more liquid the wobble damps
when it damps the period of time in warmer zones of orbit decrease

the planet gets cold...
ice forms... damping gets less and less
the wobble increases... the time spend tilting in and out of a warmer zone increases

it warms up again, liquid spreads wobble damps...

next: why
ArtflDgr
1.5 / 5 (8) Oct 22, 2010
this very simple fundemental action happens because we are right on the border of a habitable zone (as they say).

when our wobble is less, the frequency is less, and the time it spends crossing over into the warmer side lessens.

all one has to do is imagine us existing a bit on the cold side of the zero point. (if we were at zero point, wobble would balance. and if past it.. i will let you figure it out)

the steadier the state, the more time you spend in the colder side... the more wobbly, the more time gets shifted to spend some time in the warmer area

over millions of years you get periodicity and a cycle.

in the future, as we move closer to the sun, this will slowly start to extend... till it cancels and averages... then it will cross that line and the cycles will revers with larger warmer periods than cold periods (and life will go through its golden age!)

in fact, one can compute and plot the transition points... i ahev yet to see it, or have it correlated

ArtflDgr
1.5 / 5 (8) Oct 22, 2010
“Our study revealed that marine plants help to control the level of carbon dioxide released in the atmosphere,” said Dr. Ellwood. [they don’t “help”, and they don’t “control”… they exist and as such influence outcomes in reality as everything is connected. Help and control are anthropomorphisms… both require a mind… so all they are saying si that their existence, when measured this way, seems to change things in a way that we feel is better.]
ArtflDgr
1.5 / 5 (8) Oct 22, 2010
Through their research Dr. Ellwood and Professor Maher have been able to monitor changes in ocean nutrient levels back to the last ice age and beyond.
[No they haven’t. Monitor implies that they have been sitting around and measuring it as it happened. Did they? Did they monitor, or did they extrapolate data beyond their existence (and the existence of man, society, etc). Again, the word adds a level of surety and confidence to the sound of the sentence, but is insane if you actually comprehend what you’re reading – even more so when you realize that this extrapolation as monitoring also requires the blind acceptance of the premises behind the extrapolation]

“This research reconstructed the distribution of nutrients in the Southern Ocean using the silicon isotope composition of fossil marine sponges,” Dr. Ellwood said.
[when is RECONSTRUCTION and MONITOR synonymous? ]
ArtflDgr
1.5 / 5 (8) Oct 22, 2010
Professor Maher said “this is the first time that scientists have had a complete historical picture of nutrients in the Southern Ocean. These findings allow us to better understand the role marine plants will play in the marine carbon cycle and the how it is likely to be impacted from burning fossil fuel burning.”
[another BS phrase.. “complete historical picture”. Really? Let me point out the crappy hyperbole here. the southern ocean is HUGE… does their sample analysis come down to a value that represents 1 square mile? Or does it assume things across many miles? 100 miles? Global warming guys use squares over 400 miles on a side. if you sampled the southern ocean 400 miles a side, would you claim to have a clear picture at the current time? of course not… but then, ti sounds much better if one claims their data is not only good for now, but for history too]
GSwift7
3.3 / 5 (7) Oct 22, 2010
Sorry, but that doesn't sound right Artfldgr. Do you realize how small the oceans are compared to the mass of the whole planet? I heard a comparison once that I think will surprise you: The surface of the earth, from the highest mountains to the deepest ocean bottoms, is supposedly smoother than a bowling ball. The thin film of water on the outside of the Earth, which we call the oceans, isn't really that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. The deepest point in the ocean is about 7 miles (mariana trench), and the average depth is about 2.5 miles. Go look up a photograph of the Earth taken from space. Any clear photograph. Now measure 2.5 miles on that photograph. Depending on what image you are looking at, 2.5 miles probably isn't even one pixel on the photo. The mass of the ocean is only .023% of the mass of the planet. Changes in the liquid to solid to gas ratio of the ocean are of extremely small concequence to the orbit and rotation of the earth or it's overall temperature
Bogey
1.3 / 5 (4) Oct 22, 2010
Staying on the subject of nutrients.
I have read about schemes to artificial add nutrients to the oceans to encourage plankton growth, and hence sequester CO2.
We are a land animal, and we are now consuming so much food from the worlds oceans, that some fear a total collapse of the marine food web.
We evolved to exist on food that we could gather or produce on land, from rivers and the shore line.
Isent it time we started to think about sea burials/ dissposal on a massive scale, and so complete that nutrient cycle. Rather than ether land burials or cremations which are the norm, and do nothing to redress that balance.
Quantum_Conundrum
2.6 / 5 (5) Oct 22, 2010
Bogey:

Do you comprehend the scale of world wide erosion?

The ocean is always being replenished with nutrients at enormous rates through natural erosion via wind and water.

not only would throwing bodies in the ocean not make a significant difference, it's disrespectful to the dead.

We already use every shred of the bodies of plants and animals we raise and eat. Even the bones of farm animals are eaten by humans, after they are converted to gelatin.

Everything ends up back in the ocean eventually anyway.
Bogey
3.4 / 5 (5) Oct 22, 2010
Quantum Conundrum.

Yes,

I just read about the problems, usually on this site, and try to spot the causes. Obviously we dont have a geologic time scale to work them out.
Green burials are becoming all the rage for those that can aford them. For me it would be an honour to be buried at sea. I would rather not feed a tree or add even more CO2.
Its not disrespectfull except to some specific religions, and it is medieval attitudes that are the root cause of most of the problems in a lot of cases.
I dont consider pumping gigatons of manmade nitrogen fertilisers just off the coast, creating country sized dead zones, adding back nutients.
Nartoon
1.7 / 5 (3) Oct 23, 2010
I read the story twice, what the hell did it actually say? Nothing about AGW or the theory or what changes it should make to the AGW dogma.
JimB135
5 / 5 (1) Oct 23, 2010
I read the story twice, what the hell did it actually say? Nothing about AGW or the theory or what changes it should make to the AGW dogma.


That's exactly what I thought. Just identifying and some quantification of nutrients into the past. Future research might start to elucidate how these things fit into the bigger picture.

It's the title and first few paragraphs that throws us to to the AGW stuff again. Who comes up with these titles anyway?
GSwift7
1 / 5 (1) Oct 25, 2010
"Who comes up with these titles anyway?"

I call it the blind, deaf and dumb random title generation monster. I think it works by randomly selecting eye-catching titles from unrelated articles of the past and canibalizing them for use here. If I were writing an article on this site I would certainly check in my closet and under my bed before submitting my article to the editors. The title monster can strike without warning, making even the best articles sound cheap and misleading.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Oct 25, 2010
over millions of years you get periodicity and a cycle.
So Artfl, what do you think of the fact that human beings have changed the dynamics of the wobble fo the planet?

Since we dam up so much water in the Northern hemisphere, we've actually altered climate in that way. If anything you're showing how our actions are potentially more widespread in impact than simple emissions, which I agree with.