USF Study Shows First Direct Evidence of Ocean Acidification

Jan 20, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Seawater in a vast and deep section of the northeastern Pacific Ocean shows signs of increased acidity brought on by manmade carbon dioxide in the atmosphere -- a phenomenon that carries with it far-reaching ecological effects -- reports a team of researchers led by a University of South Florida College of Marine Science chemist.

The scientists, whose results are published in the American Geophysical Union’s journal , analyzed Pacific seawater between Oahu, Hawaii, and Kodiak, Alaska by comparing pH readings from 1991 and from 2006. This study provides the first direct measurements of basin-wide pH changes in the ’s depths and at its surface and has produced the first direct evidence of acidification across an entire ocean basin, the investigators said.

Principal investigator Robert Byrne, a USF seawater physical chemistry professor, said the study leaves no doubt that growing CO2 levels in the atmosphere are exerting major impacts on the world’s oceans.

“If this happens in a piece of ocean as big as a whole , then this is a global phenomenon,” Byrne said.

Adding carbon dioxide to seawater makes it more acidic, and each year the world’s oceans absorb about one-third of the atmospheric CO2 produced by human activities.

Using pH-sensitive dyes that turn from purple to yellow in more acidic waters, the scientists were able to track changes produced by 15 years of CO2 uptake near the ocean's surface, Byrne said. In deeper waters, down to about half a mile, both anthropogenic and naturally occurring changes in CO2 and pH were seen. In the very deepest waters, no significant pH changes were seen.

The results verify earlier model projections that the oceans are becoming more acidic because of the uptake of carbon dioxide released as a result of fossil fuel burning, said Richard Feely, a member of the research team and chief scientist of the cruise and NOAA researcher from the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle.

Byrne and colleagues at USF’s College of Marine Science developed the methods for precise pH measurements and the project was the first time a team of researchers employed those methods in the field.

Byrne led a team of scientists that made pH measurements aboard the NOAA-National Science Foundation-sponsored cruise R/V Thomas G. Thompson in the spring of 2006 using state-of-the-art techniques developed at USF’s College of Marine Science. The researchers found that upper-ocean pH had, over the preceding one-and-a-half decades, decreased by approximately 0.026 units, equivalent to an average annual pH change of ‑0.0017, over a large section of the northeastern Pacific. Similar recent pH trends have been found at isolated time-series stations in the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and corroborating observations have also been reported by scientists who study other CO2-related substances in seawater.

"The pH decrease is direct evidence for ocean acidification of a large portion of the North Pacific Ocean," said Richard Feely. "These dramatic changes can be attributed, in most part, to anthropogenic CO2 uptake by the ocean over a 15-year period.”

The implications for sea life and the world’s food web are serious, Byrne said. When seawater becomes more acidic, lower concentrations of carbonate result. Because the protective shells of sea organisms are made of calcium and carbonate, more make it more difficult for many organisms to make their shells and thrive.

That affects not only the food web, but also many important processes essential for healthy marine ecosystems, such as coral reef formation, Byrne said.

The cruise was part of a decade-long series of repeat hydrographic sections jointly funded by NOAA-Office of Global Programs (now the Climate Program Office) and NSF-Division of Ocean Sciences as part of the Climate Variability and Predictability/CO2 Repeat Hydrography Program.

The program focuses on the need to monitor inventories of CO2 and heat in the ocean. Earlier programs under the World Ocean Circulation Experiment and U.S. Joint Ocean Global Flux Study have provided baseline observational fields.

Scientists from 11 academic institutions and two NOAA research laboratories participated in the expedition, whose goal was to determine how the release of huge amounts of carbon dioxide from fossil-fuel burning, land-use practices, and cement production will affect the chemistry and biology of the ocean.

Over the next millennium, the global oceans are expected to absorb approximately 90 percent of the CO2 emitted to the atmosphere, says Christopher Sabine, chief scientist for the first leg of the cruise.

"It is now established from models that there is a strong possibility that dissolved carbon dioxide in the ocean surface will double over its pre-industrial value by the middle of this century, with accompanying surface ocean pH decreases that are greater than those experienced during the transition from ice ages to warm ages," Sabine said. "The uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide by the ocean changes the chemistry of the oceans and can potentially have significant impacts on the biological systems in the upper oceans."

“Estimates of future atmospheric and oceanic CO2 concentrations, based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emission scenarios and general circulation models, indicate that by the middle of this century atmospheric levels could reach more than 500 ppm, and near the end of the century they could be over 800 ppm. Current levels are near 390 ppm, and preindustrial levels were near 280 ppm," Feely said.

Corresponding models for the oceans indicate that surface water pH would drop approximately 0.4 pH units, and the carbonate ion concentration would decrease almost 50 percent by the end of the century. This surface ocean pH would be lower than it has been for more than 20 million years.

Byrne and many other scientists expect that even if substantial reductions are made in the pace at which humans produce , ocean acidification will continue for hundreds of years to come.

“The bad news is it takes many hundreds of years for self-correcting factors to occur,” he said. “That leaves many centuries of ugly consequences.”

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User comments : 54

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Shootist
1.8 / 5 (15) Jan 20, 2010
Gad, I remember when USF was a B(usiness) school without a graduate program of any kind. Silly, what, sending students with average IQs to University? There will never be equality in outcome.
joefarah
2 / 5 (16) Jan 20, 2010
"shows signs of increased acidity brought on by manmade carbon dioxide in the atmosphere"
I would like someone to explain to me how they determined that the acidity was caused by man-made CO2. This assertion is more than enough to discard the entire article as more GW propaganda.

It's time to start prosecuting these people and holding them liable for the $Billions wasted trying to control the Climate. Start the prosecuting before they all grow old.
hylozoic
3.4 / 5 (5) Jan 20, 2010
The above comments appear to be as certain as the aforementioned interpretation of data. Assuredness has little place in relation to discovery.

Regardless of why, the findings seem rather interesting. For instance, observing the ppm of carbonate in the oceans may be a worthy task -- perhaps we will see it's dissolution, or perhaps we will observe some 'metabolic' process whereby the increasing acidity leads (inexorably, after all we are dealing with Oceanic Time scale) to an increase in the expression of carbonate ppm.
Aside from the thinly veiled socio-economic ideologues this news will attract, this area of inquiry shall continue to fill us with wonder at the grand range of marine dynamics. Cool.
ArtflDgr
1.9 / 5 (12) Jan 20, 2010
ok bright pompous one.

in the past there was a lot more co2 at more than one point in history. that went into the ocean. today, a much lower level of co2 exists, and we are adding to it... where did the co2 from past times go?

quick: which can hold more gas, cold water or warmer water?
shulsizer
3 / 5 (10) Jan 21, 2010
In May of 2009, the Seattle Times reported a three year long failure of oyster spat to thrive in southern Puget Sound. The apparent reason is acidic waters stirred up when the wind is strong from the north. And recently I read of huge fields of jelly fish in the North Pacific. Jelly fish do not have or need a calcium shell. A climatologist from the U of WA speaking at the Puget Sound Cruising Club meeting described just such a series of events. No shell fish then no larval food for small fish; no small fish, then no large fish. I invite the GW deniers to come up with reciepies for deep fried jelly fish, BBQ jelly fish filets, etc.
dachpyarvile
1.7 / 5 (16) Jan 21, 2010
The North Pacific is a very bad place to take measurements. Too much nearby volcanic action.
dachpyarvile
1.8 / 5 (16) Jan 21, 2010
Seattle Times? Puget Sound? Another major problem in the not-so-distant past has been waste water from paper pulp mills being dumped into Puget Sound. These waste waters are highly acidic and certainly can alter the pH of Puget Sound.

This was mentioned in a 1957 work entitled The Rise And Decline Of The Olympia Oyster. From Appendix A of that work:

The Olympia Oyster and Pollution

THIS CHAPTER WILL TREAT ONLY WITH THE pollution agents discharged into lower Puget Sound as industrial waste and their deleterious effect upon the Olympia Oyster with the resultant decline in the Olympia Oyster industry.

To Olympia Oyster growers today, and the old timers before them, it is evident that pollution is the principal cause of the depletion of these delicious bivalves.


The work outlines the kinds of things that have wrecked havoc on Oysters in and around Puget Sound, including increased blooms of diatoms that smother the oyster beds.
dachpyarvile
1.9 / 5 (17) Jan 21, 2010
Even though the pulp mills have pretty much closed, logging still goes on (pollutants damaging to shellfish and particularly oysters) are released into Puget Sound.

In fact, I just looked over a report that lists a number of current companies dumping wastes that make their way into Puget Sound all the time, some of them in the millions of pounds of waste per company yearly.

Run-off pollution also seems to be a big problem there as well. It is no wonder oysters are doing so poorly there. I would not be so quick to blame CO2 for that acidic air and stirred up water.

I had no idea that the chemical pollution index for Puget Sound was so high.
dachpyarvile
1.8 / 5 (16) Jan 21, 2010
Here is some more information--light reading actually--from the Seattle Post Intelligencer:

http://www.seattl...18.shtml

This article states that pollution from decades ago still is hurting "wide swaths" of sea life in the region in addition to new sources of pollution on a daily basis.
dachpyarvile
1.9 / 5 (18) Jan 21, 2010
And, finally, regarding the Seattle Times article alluded to above, here is a quote taken from that very article:
Still, it's too soon to say for certain if these issues are localized or part of a broader phenomenon. The hatchery is not far from a low-oxygen dead zone off the Oregon coast. There also isn't sophisticated enough equipment in place to get precise pH readings.


Catch the last line of the quote above? If there is no sophisticated enough equipment in place to get precise readings, how on earth do they really know what is going on?

Sounds more like scare-tactics to me. Folks, let's get some valid science going in the region before we start spouting off about killer CO2 in Puget Sound. Please? :)
Parsec
4.1 / 5 (14) Jan 21, 2010
To answer the specific question above, how do scientists determine that CO2 comes from man-made sources vs natural ones. Most CO2 sources from fossil fuels come from biological sources. The main source of natural CO2 emissions (outside of forest fires), is volcano's.

There are 2 stable isotopes of carbon, C12 and C13. When carbon is used by living processes, it becomes enriched in C12 (slightly), because living processes prefer to use C12 instead of C13. So by simply measuring the atomic weight of the carbon in a CO2 sample, you can easily estimate the percentage that comes from biological sources.

While its true that some natural sources can produce biological CO2, most of them come from burning things that were once alive. So you really can tell that the majority of the CO2 in the atmosphere, and the majority of the CO2 causing the acidification of the oceans were produced by man.
Parsec
4.6 / 5 (9) Jan 21, 2010
To answer ArtfDgr's question --> where did the CO2 go? CO2 has a natural lifetime in the atmosphere of several hundred to a few thousand years. CO2 in the oceans has 2 main sources of removal, gas exchange with the atmosphere, and sedimentation followed by removal by eventual subduction of the oceanic plates.

While I usually have a hard time agreeing with dachpyarvile, in this case I think he is entirely correct in regards to the Puget Sound. Given the amount of sulfate and other high acidic toxins dumped there (and in the Columbia river basin) over the last hundred or more years, I would have a hard time correlating this report with problems there. They may in fact exist, but firm evidence would be very difficult to produce.
Benier_Duster
3.3 / 5 (16) Jan 21, 2010
So yet more evidence for ocean acidification caused directly by and yet more different explanations (b*ll*cks) from the deniers.
If Dachpyvaldietyetcetc actually read the report he would see that the measurements were comparing 1991 to 2006 over a huge area of the North East Pacific from Alaska to Hawaii. When did the majority of the lumbar mills close? Does (s)he)it know how large the Pacific is and do the lumber mills affect the readings in the North Atlantic and Pacific that show the same results as mentioned in the article?
Where does the 30,000,000,000+ metric tonnes of CO2 emitted by man's activities annually end up?
Phelankell
1.3 / 5 (13) Jan 21, 2010
So yet more evidence for ocean acidification caused directly by and yet more different explanations (b*ll*cks) from the deniers.
Now I can confirm who's sock puppeting my name. Nice repeat usage there.

There's a few problems with your statement and with the above abstract's statement that Anthropomorphic CO2 is driving ocean acidification.

Let's do some basic math:
Human contribution to CO2 (highest estimate I could find) 14%
mass of a single ppmv of CO2 2.13 petagrams (also the highest I could find)
source: http://cdiac.ornl...faq.html

Total content in ppm 383.

So 14% of 383, 54(rounded up)
54 ppm is equivalent to 115 Petagrams of CO2.

Now, this 115 Pg will only have 1/3 of itself absorbed by the oceans so that's 39 Pg total. Question is can 39 Pg cause a pH flux in a body of salt water weighing in at 1.4 million Pg? The answer is obvious, no. Test by putting a sand grain sized piece of fly ash in your bath tub and measure the pH change.
Benier_Duster
4 / 5 (12) Jan 21, 2010
So yet more evidence for ocean acidification caused directly by and yet more different explanations (b*ll*cks) from the deniers.
Now I can confirm who's sock puppeting my name. Nice repeat usage there.


No, I just copied the phrase from another post, it annoyed you then so it looked a good bet!!;-) I suppose the same way you copied the above.
If you looked at your source you will see that the figures you have quoted are ten years too late for your purpose! The figures are based on atmospheric CO2 in 2000, based on a figure of 369.5 ppmv, a simple check on a reliable website will show a figure now of 387 ppmv (or seasonally adjusted 388 ppmv), a difference already of 5%.
I shall lead you back to the relevant paper, none of your deviations if you please, and since 2000 man's activities added around 285,000,000,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (285 billion). And you seriously say this has no effects on ocean pH but a few long closed lumbar mills 1,000's miles away do?
Velanarris
1.3 / 5 (15) Jan 21, 2010
It helps when you read someone's post before you shoot your mouth off.
From Phelankell's post:
Total content in ppm 383.

From your post:
The figures are based on atmospheric CO2 in 2000, based on a figure of 369.5 ppmv, a simple check on a reliable website will show a figure now of 387 ppmv (or seasonally adjusted 388 ppmv), a difference already of 5%.
I'm fairly sure that a petagram from 2000 would be the same unit of measure as a petagram from 2010.

I also don't see anything about lumber mills in his post. Seeing as you've also sock puppeted my name using the same methodology, I think the moderators would like to examine your account(s) violation of the TOS.
dachpyarvile
1.3 / 5 (14) Jan 21, 2010
On the carbon isotopes there are issues. One issue is that subducted coal and oil will pump C13 depleted substances back into the Upper Mantel. These will later come out through volcanism. Testing for isotopes at various locations have actually shown that a number of locations do appear to be spewing out C13 depleted gas.

The number of active volcanos have been badly underestimated. Quite a bit of them have been added to the count in recent years. One estimate I saw could account for a great many more GTs of C13 depleted CO2 than mankind's puny additions. I also recently read some material in which there is evidence and discussion that the atmosphere also is being enriched in C13 by plants' preference for C12.

On the length of time the gas actually remains in the atmosphere, I have seen other estimates of far, far less in terms of years, some accounts even so low as 6-8 years before a substantial amount is fixed.

The science certainly is not settled on either matter.
Phelankell
1.3 / 5 (12) Jan 21, 2010
The number of active volcanos have been badly underestimated. Quite a bit of them have been added to the count in recent years.
This is a very important piece. CO2 is easily squeezed out of aqueous solution by minor temperature and pressure changes. Couple this with carbonic acid being a relative rarity in nature (to the point that its existence in pure form was doubted up until NASA synthesized it in 91) and the hypothesis is shown to not conflict with existing observations. It's possible, but in any event, far more research needs to be done. As you said, the science is certainly not settled and further, the answer is not clear.
dachpyarvile
1.3 / 5 (15) Jan 21, 2010
MikeyK...er...I mean Benier_Duster,

Yes, I am aware of how large the Northeast Pacific is. The entire region is surrounded on all sides by volcanos as well as being strewn with them. The very same can be said about the North Atlantic, to say nothing about the increase in volcanism along the mid-Atlantic Ridge.

In addition, the study above is not precise enough for my taste. Studies using "pH-sensitive dyes that turn from purple to yellow in more acidic water" are no match for sophisticated scientific equipment that can give more precise measurements.

The article also mentions use of such equipment but, if so, why bother using the pH-sensitive dyes of this kind? Something in this article just does not sit well with me. I wonder whether they will make the raw data available before "normalizing" it.
dachpyarvile
1.3 / 5 (14) Jan 21, 2010
The most annoying thing about the above article is that they do not even seem to mention which pH sensitive dye they used. Maybe I missed it. Anyone else see which one they used?

Maybe I just need to see if I can get hold of the actual report....
dachpyarvile
1.3 / 5 (14) Jan 21, 2010
I will have to wait to get the full report, unfortunately. However, the published abstract did say where they took the samples. They did not sample the entire basin as Benier_Duster seemed to imply above.

From the abstract, they say they sampled: "Along 152°W in the North Pacific Ocean (22–56°N)...."

http://www.agu.or...99.shtml

That is a pretty limited area to sample compared to the whole North Pacific basin. I wonder how they can say that this is representative of the entire basin and an example of a global effect as they do in the Physorg summary above.
PheIankell
3.5 / 5 (11) Jan 21, 2010
Actually, looking again at the piece it doesn't mention Puget Sound, it seems the sampling was taken between Alaska and hawaii, looking at my map I now realise just how big the Pacific actually is. Sorry guys, I should read these articles more clearly before responding as myself or dachpy/velan/defunct, depending on my mood
Phelankell
Jan 21, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Azpod
1.3 / 5 (12) Jan 21, 2010
Such a pronounced acidification of the oceans casts serious doubt on the claim that anthropogenic CO2 remains in the atmosphere hundreds of years. The article also completely ignores the beneficial effects of increased CO2 concentration on the oceanic food chain. In particular, more oceanic photosynthesis can occur, which is dominated by the single cell organisms that form the base of the entire food chain.

Nature is self-correcting, and as a result, there are no geometric curves in nature. The more pronounced the CO2 emissions are, the more nature will react in response to them. In fact, the worst thing we could do may be to stop CO2 emissions too quickly!

The fact that we have a limited supply of fossil fuels will also limits our ability to produce CO2 in the long run. Projections 50 or 100 years in the future always see utter disaster and ruin, but the fact is, we couldn't go on like we are today for another 50 to 100 years even if we wanted to!
Shootist
1.3 / 5 (15) Jan 21, 2010
where did the co2 from past times go?


limestone. coal. petroleum. peat. humus. And soda pop.
Shootist
1.3 / 5 (15) Jan 21, 2010
The fact that we have a limited supply of fossil fuels will also limits our ability to produce CO2 in the long run.


We have no proof beyond the words of otherwise debunked Scientists that fossil fuels are limited to any scale that can effect mankind.

The planet's crust is 60 miles thick. There is another 7940 miles of planet beyond that. The scale of the crust is such that man, and all his creations, and all the creatures under the sky, in the air and under the sea, hardly rate as a bacteria film upon the surface of the earth.

Known Methane Hydrate deposits alone could power civilization for 500 years at current rates of use. Not to mention King Coal . . .

Throw into this mix the possibility of abiogenic production of petroleum and natural gas and civilization may well NEVER run of of carbon based fuels.

Give me low cost access to earth orbit and I'll mine Titan for its hydrocarbons and ship them to Earth, if needs be.
Shootist
1 / 5 (11) Jan 21, 2010
The fact that we have a limited supply of fossil fuels will also limits our ability to produce CO2 in the long run.


We have no proof beyond the words of otherwise debunked climate Scientists that fossil fuels are limited to any scale that can effect mankind. The planet's crust is 60 miles thick. There is another 7940 miles of planet beyond that. The scale of the crust is such that man, and all his creations, and all the creatures under the sky, in the air and under the sea, hardly rate as a bacteria film upon the surface of the planet.

Known Methane Hydrate deposits alone could power civilization for 500 years at current rates of use. Not to mention King Coal . . .

Throw into this mix the possibility of abiogenic production of petroleum and natural gas and civilization may well NEVER run of of carbon based fuels.

It is a disservice to intelligent people everywhere to continue predicting "Peak Oil" when Peak Oil continues to grow in output.

dachpyarvile
1 / 5 (12) Jan 21, 2010
shulsizer mentioned a Seattle Times article that does speak of Puget Sound, which is in the vicinity of the North Pacific Ocean last time I checked.

That was why I mentioned it above. It is pertinent to the discussion on acidic oceans since it sometimes is referenced as an example of acidic oceans causing oyster die-offs.
dachpyarvile
1.3 / 5 (14) Jan 21, 2010
There is another question that can be raised about this study. Much of the area traversed along the 152nd W parallel is virtually an ocean-current 'dead zone.'

One wonders how much this may have skewed the overall results. It would be interesting to compare results taken while confined to areas where the current flows strongly or to remain in the currents themselves to see which direction that change in course might skew the results.

It's got my curiosity up.
PheIankell
3.8 / 5 (10) Jan 21, 2010
But the article clearly states that the results are the same as over different parts of the pacific as well as the atlantic. So are you know saying that the long closed 1,000 miles away where currents lead them away from the sampled zones are now not responsible for decreased pH but the dead zones over a part of the sampling area is? So much for Occom's razor.
PheIankell
3.8 / 5 (10) Jan 21, 2010
But the article clearly states that the results are the same as over different parts of the pacific as well as the atlantic. So are you know saying that the long closed 1,000 miles away where currents lead them away from the sampled zones are now not responsible for decreased pH but the dead zones over a part of the sampling area is? So much for Occom's razor.
Phelankell
1.7 / 5 (12) Jan 21, 2010
But the article clearly states that the results are the same as over different parts of the pacific as well as the atlantic. So are you know saying that the long closed 1,000 miles away where currents lead them away from the sampled zones are now not responsible for decreased pH but the dead zones over a part of the sampling area is? So much for Occom's razor.

I can understand why you wouldn't understand it seeing as you aren't original enough to get your own screen name.

Without current based mixing the surface waters are allowed to fluxuate independently from the subsurface waters. That means that the capacity to buffer is greatly reduced, in addition to having temperature and ambient sunlight create greater pH swings than any gas could at a partial pressure of 1 atmosphere.
hylozoic
3 / 5 (2) Jan 21, 2010
The above chain of discourse reminds me of an old saying: "Whatever the Thinker Thinks, the Prover Proves." Not an arena conducive to the acceptance of information which runs para or counter to one's stated position...but this is why I love reading it! Continue the battle to impose each others models upon one an other, I'll go make some popcorn...
dachpyarvile
1.5 / 5 (15) Jan 21, 2010
Phelankell, the real one and not the above sockpuppet Pheiankell, actually has it exactly right. Zones with weak or lesser current do have a lower capacity to buffer against changes in pH and there will not be the degree of mixing that potentially could affect the readings differently under differing circumstances.

As if the data that comes from the South China Sea isn't enough, that sea has inherent instability in its readings not only during modern times but in the wildly swinging paleo-pH delta-11B proxies as well. And yet, with all that swinging from point to point for thousands of years today's low swing in pH still is within recorded parameters in the paleorecord.

Who is to say the same thing cannot be said about the above data. A wider sampling should have been taken and compared as a control.
dachpyarvile
1.3 / 5 (14) Jan 22, 2010
The above chain of discourse reminds me of an old saying: "Whatever the Thinker Thinks, the Prover Proves." Not an arena conducive to the acceptance of information which runs para or counter to one's stated position...but this is why I love reading it! Continue the battle to impose each others models upon one an other, I'll go make some popcorn...


This sort of thing is exactly what science is about--or should be. When we get to a point where that starts not happening we either have reached a true consensus or things have gone awry in the world of science. The science of climate change is not settled by any means even though there are those who think that it is.

There are many variables and factors that need to be taken into account and the current situation is not such where such small samplings of the environment will suffice.

The fact that controls were not set in place also weakens any case that the situation in the oceans is global. That is the nature of things....
hylozoic
2 / 5 (4) Jan 22, 2010
A response that explains your motivations, I like that that. It's clear. Anyone else?
VeIanarris
3.1 / 5 (15) Jan 22, 2010
To accuse this study of having 'small samples' is a typical denier trick. Look at any globe and you notice that the Pacific Ocean takes around an entire hemisphere. If you want to look at the pH over an entire basin you take the line as this crew did, from Alaska to Hawaii. To understand why you need to see the underwater topography, thus http://pubs.usgs....asin.gif .
As mentioned in the arctile, the results are similar to results elesewhere and all show the same pH reduction.
You should take your head out of the sand and realise the only people your 'water muddying' might impress are the gullible and fellow conspiracy theorists.
PheIankell
3.7 / 5 (12) Jan 22, 2010
You're right, it is always easier to deconstruct rather than construct. When trying to clarify a point it is always easier to insert irrelevant points or inaccurate opinions to muddy the water. It is a very large area sampled and the figures do show a drop in pH.
Phelankell
1.7 / 5 (12) Jan 22, 2010
To accuse this study of having 'small samples' is a typical denier trick.
Actually that's a real arguing point that everyone uses. Including yourself Mr. Sockpuppet.

Current deadzones are not indicative of the pacific ocean. If I were to measure the oxygen content in an anoxic zone only I would assume the entire ocean must be oxygen depleted if I used such a small sample size.
MikeyK_PaidAdvocate
Jan 22, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
PheIankell
3.2 / 5 (11) Jan 22, 2010

Current deadzones are not indicative of the pacific ocean. If I were to measure the oxygen content in an anoxic zone only I would assume the entire ocean must be oxygen depleted if I used such a small sample size.


are you seriously suggesting that the entire body of water from Alaska to Hawaii is a dead-zone? The dead zone occurs around 1,000km west of Oregon during recent summers, the data for the pH studies was taken at least another 2 to 3,000km further west than that!
As I said typical watermuddying from the denier.
MikeyK_PaidAdvocate
Jan 22, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
VeIanarris
1.9 / 5 (14) Jan 22, 2010
[Current deadzones are not indicative of the pacific ocean. If I were to measure the oxygen content in an anoxic zone only I would assume the entire ocean must be oxygen depleted if I used such a small sample size.

Original quote from you above

Not an anoxic deadzone, a current deadzone, donkey.


Your quote above...make your mind up mr sockpuppetier!

Velanarris
Jan 22, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
dachpyarvile
1 / 5 (13) Jan 22, 2010
I thought I made my point clear as well. I am not speaking of anoxic waters. At least a couple people understood what I was getting at. Let me add something else.

In all seriousness, I was hoping that this last expedition would actually have shown something leaning toward statistically significant. Unfortunately, that was not to be. When I took a look at Pacific current data and saw that a lot of the area sampled did not appear to have much in the way of ocean currents, I was disappointed.

Adequate controls should have been set in place. Another ship should have been taking samples following a route that interacts with ocean currents on a more vigorous basis. Then, the results should have been compared to see whether or not there really was anything statistically significant.

Instead, they took virtually a straight line from Hawaii to Alaska. They had no adequate control in place. They had a chance to give us some real evidence of something and they blew it, in my opinion.
barakn
4.4 / 5 (7) Jan 23, 2010
... Much of the area traversed along the 152nd W parallel is virtually an ocean-current 'dead zone.'

One wonders how much this may have skewed the overall results. -dachpyarvile

Atmospheric CO2 enters at the surface and reaches deeper water by vertical mixing. The deeper the water, the longer it takes this atmospheric influence to reach it, and thus they were able to sample water of different ages by sampling at different depths. Your idea of sampling in an area with currents would have introduced the confounding variable of significant horizontal mixing. Perhaps in your confusion you thought they were trying to estimate the acidity of the entire ocean, but that was not the goal of the study.
hylozoic
Jan 23, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
dachpyarvile
1.4 / 5 (10) Jan 23, 2010
No, I did not think that they were trying to estimate the acidity of the entire Pacific Ocean. Sampling at different depths is a given. They were trying to confirm several things, one of which was the level of acidification of the entire North Pacific Basin at regions above 500 meters and compare that with other regions.

Nonetheless, confounding or not, a proper control would have been to sample the waters in areas with currents at the same time that samples were taken from a region with less to no currents. You do understand the process of establishing controls, do you not?

The fact is, the ocean is the real world where there is both vertical and horizontal mixing. Confining the study to one aspect of this dynamic shows one aspect of oceanic dynamics and interaction with the atmosphere. It cannot be used to paint the larger picture, to coin an analogy.
dachpyarvile
1.4 / 5 (10) Jan 23, 2010
...but that was not the goal of the study.


By the way, as I have not accessed the entire published study and you seem to imply that you have, please identify for us which "pH sensitive dye that changes from purple to yellow they used in the study. As you probably already know, there are several--some more sensitive than others. I want to know the specifics.
tkjtkj
5 / 5 (1) Jan 23, 2010
"shows signs of increased acidity brought on by manmade carbon dioxide in the atmosphere"
I would like someone to explain to me how they determined that the acidity was caused by man-made CO2. This assertion is more than enough to discard the entire article as more GW propaganda.


The method used was a simple one: conjecture. Nonetheless, the actual data presented seems real, independent of cause. The authors do note this problem.

Parsec
4.5 / 5 (8) Jan 24, 2010
What exactly is the point the climate deniers are trying to make? That the study was badly constructed because that there weren't enough data points? that the area measured wasn't big enough? That some calculation based on back of the envelope modeling doesn't show the same results as the data?

Bottom line. The study shows over a HUGE area, measurements based on many depths, that surface waters show a depressed pH, that deeper ones show less acidification, and the deepest waters show none. If you just do not trust the scientists involved, you must show evidence for your libel. If you have contrary evidence, or some statistical argument based on the study itself, then fine, show it, or link it.

I am getting quite angry at all this mud-slinging. Do you in fact realize that the scientists are in fact real human beings trying to pursue their chosen profession as best they can? Leave the gossip and lies out of this forum.
MikeyK
4 / 5 (8) Jan 24, 2010
Totally agree with you, unfortunately the deniers, as I and others have made the pint before, do not care about the studies themselves, they are only interested in destructive criticism, muddying the water if you like.
This study, covering a huge area and over a long time span is very valuable research. Notice how everything from 'dead zones', long closed and distant lumbar mills, even volcanic activity has used to try and rubbish this study.
They are certainly not sceptics, but deniers, and I think they only troll these stories to muddy the waters, note who always has to have the last word on each subject to know who they are...
Claudius
1.7 / 5 (11) Jan 24, 2010
It was only a week or so ago that PhysOrg ran an article about research that showed the ocean's ability to absorb CO2 has not changed in the last 160 years. This study contradicts the other. Which one is correct?
MikeyK
3.9 / 5 (7) Jan 24, 2010
OK, so why don't you state your case using the studies as comparisons and explain why you think that is? A sceptic would do this naturally, and not have to be urged, the denier always asks the question without actually inputting their take on the question posed.
Try it, let us know what you think, maybe add a link or two and be promoted to sceptic...
MikeyK
3.9 / 5 (7) Jan 24, 2010
OK, so why don't you state your case using the studies as comparisons and explain why you think that is? A sceptic would do this naturally, and not have to be urged, the denier always asks the question without actually inputting their take on the question posed.
Try it, let us know what you think, maybe add a link or two and be promoted to sceptic...
dachpyarvile
1 / 5 (9) Jan 25, 2010
Parsec,

My problem with the study above is that they took samples without putting in place controls. I realize that the above scientists did put a lot of effort and time and expense into the study. I acknowledge that. They really had a chance to show something of value in the debate.

I can think of several additional controls that could have been set up that would have made this study a whole lot better.

That is my beef with it, not necessarily that there were not enough samples taken but primarily the lack of controls and the fact that much of the sampling was done in waters that do not have much in the way of currents!

More or less standing water will acidify more quickly than moving and mixing water.

What they should have done is have two or three ships sampling differing portions of the North Pacific at the same time (currented and non).

They also should have taken coral samples for use in comparative delta-11B analysis. They could have had a comparison record.
dachpyarvile
1.5 / 5 (8) Jan 25, 2010
...Your idea of sampling in an area with currents would have introduced the confounding variable of significant horizontal mixing....


Interestingly enough, they did not feel that all currents would be confounding to the overall result. In point of fact, a smaller part of the sampling actually did take place in waters with heavier currents, such as that near Kodiak, Alaska.

Your point is moot, therefore. They very much could have taken more readings in currented waters. They simply chose not to do so.
MikeyK
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 27, 2010
Interestingly enough, they did not feel that all currents would be confounding to the overall result. In point of fact, a smaller part of the sampling actually did take place in waters with heavier currents, such as that near Kodiak, Alaska.
Your point is moot, therefore. They very much could have taken more readings in currented waters. They simply chose not to do so.

Are you confusing yourself (again). So you are now complaining because they took fully representative samples along the entire North East Pacific including areas with currents and dead zones...hmmm sounds like an excellent sampling range to me, so what are you complaining about...
dachpyarvile
1.7 / 5 (6) Jan 27, 2010
The only one confused is you. Most of the samples came from waters with a relative lack of currents. The ones that did come from currented waters came from a region that has acidic rivers pouring into the ocean. You do understand why the waters of Alaska are on the acidic side do you not? Do you understand the process of setting up proper controls in experiments and data acquisition such as the above? That is my chief complaint.

This study could have been so much better and somewhat more conclusive had such controls been set in place.