New model suggests ocean pH falling more rapidly

June 15, 2012 by Lin Edwards, Phys.org report

ocean
(Phys.org) -- A new computer model developed in Switzerland shows that the pH of the ocean waters off the west coast of the US will fall over the next four decades faster than previously thought. The region studied is on the eastern boundary of an upwelling zone, and is important for commercial fishing and for its diversity in marine life.

An upwelling zone is one in which waters from the well up to replace water displaced by summer , which push water away from the coast. The upwelled tends to contain high concentrations of dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2) from the respiration of on the , and this adds to the dissolved atmospheric CO2, which is rising, producing a region of marked decreases in pH.

When CO2 dissolves in it reduces the pH by the production of carbonic acid and release of H+ ions, a process known as “acidification.” According to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the mean pH of open ocean surface water is 7.9-8.3, and even with reducing pH will still be slightly basic. Even very small changes in the pH can affect marine ecosystems, but the effects are poorly known. A reduction of 0.1 in pH corresponds to a 30% increase in H+ concentration.

A reduction in ocean surface pH reduces the amount of carbonate ions in seawater, and these are used by many shell-building creatures in building their shells. A reduction in the carbonate concentration also reduces the saturation state of the mineral aragonite, which is a form of calcium carbonate also commonly used in shell building.

The was developed by a team of researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich and concentrated on the California Current System, the upwelling region off the western coast of the USA. The aim of the research team, led by ocean biogeochemist Professor Nicolas Gruber, was to examine the effects of linking rising atmospheric levels of CO2 and the CO2 already dissolved in the seawater.

The model looked at two different scenarios of atmospheric CO2 levels over the next four decades and how these emissions would add to the CO2 levels in the upper 60 meters of seawater. The scenarios used in the modes were the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) A2 and B1. The results showed that in both scenarios the aragonite saturation rate drops rapidly and the pH falls.

The model predicts the saturation rate of aragonite may drop to below 1 (an undersaturated state) for over half the year by 2050. When aragonite is at undersaturated levels shells made of calcium carbonate would begin to dissolve. At present, Gruber estimates undersaturated levels exist in the region around 2-4% of the time. When the saturation rate is below 1.5, as it would be for much of the year by 2050, shell-building animals such as oyster and mussel larvae and sea snails such as the tiny pteropods (sea butterfly) may find it difficult to harvest sufficient calcium carbonate to build their shells.

The paper was published in the journal Science.

Explore further: Shells slim down with CO2

More information: Rapid Progression of Ocean Acidification in the California Current System, Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1216773

ABSTRACT
Nearshore waters of the California Current System (California CS) already today have a low carbonate saturation state, making them particularly susceptible to ocean acidification. Here, we use eddy-resolving model simulations to study the potential development of ocean acidification in this system up to 2050 under the SRES A2 and B1 scenarios. In both scenarios, the saturation state of aragonite Ωarag is projected to drop rapidly, with much of the nearshore regions developing summer-long undersaturation in the top 60 m within the next 30 years. By the year 2050, waters with Ωarag above 1.5 have largely disappeared and more than half of the waters are undersaturated year-round. Habitats along the seafloor become exposed to year-round undersaturation within the next 20 to 30 years. This has potentially major implications for the rich and diverse ecosystem that characterizes the California CS.

Press release

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16 comments

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88HUX88
Jun 15, 2012
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
NotParker
2.1 / 5 (22) Jun 15, 2012
No actual science was done here. Computer Models are a disaster.

http://wattsupwit...m-walks/
NotParker
2 / 5 (21) Jun 15, 2012
In fact virtually all of science since the 1960's has come in the form of modeling,


"A few years ago a biologist I know looked at how climate change might affect the spread of a particular invasive insect species. He obtained climate-model projections for North America under standard greenhouse-gas scenarios from two modelling labs, and then tried to characterize how the insect habitat might change.

To his surprise, he found very different results depending on which model was used.

Even though both models were using the same input data, they made opposite predictions about regional climate patterns in North America."

AGW in a nutshell. They have a computer model that predicts climate will cause droughts and floods and every scenario in between, and when X happens they point out the one model out of 100 that predicted X.

AGW - the most dishonest "science" since phrenology.
thermodynamics
4.3 / 5 (15) Jun 15, 2012
NP:

Are you saying that AGW is a fraud because they are using computer models?

Or, are you saying it is a fraud because it uses trillions of measurements?

Or are you saying it is a fraud because all climate researchers are frauds?

Or do you just not understand science?
Howhot
3.9 / 5 (11) Jun 16, 2012
You know Mr. Noparks (he hates parks), if you thought computer modeling were an issue; you should look right at the wattsupwiththat website you reference all the time. That site has some real cherry picking going on there.

Their graph on Hansen's 1988 prediction is total madeup crap. His prediction was a 1C change from 1970s to 2010 in gobal average temp. That has come to pass. Someone needs to slap a big headline on the front page of that website "SORRY BUT THE PARTY IS OVER!"


Skepticus
3 / 5 (5) Jun 16, 2012
I don't know why people complain. They do nothing concrete except saliva-powered empty condemnations, no-teeth international laws and unbinding resolutions, etc., in the face of the fact that certain group of people are making a living banking on the suffering and dying off of others, or, expediting of same by obstructions, keeping the status quo, doing favors to their cohorts and allies, weapon sales and other means. but I guess, they are just trying their hardest to make a comfortable living, doing empty condemnation gestures, just like their targets are doing theirs deeds.
NotParker
1.7 / 5 (11) Jun 16, 2012
You know Mr. Noparks (he hates parks), if you thought computer modeling were an issue; you should look right at the wattsupwiththat website you reference all the time. That site has some real cherry picking going on there.

Their graph on Hansen's 1988 prediction is total madeup crap. His prediction was a 1C change from 1970s to 2010 in gobal average temp. T


2011 0.339

1973 0.077

or

1979 0.049

Maybe IPCC math says that = 1C but it doesn't.
NotParker
2 / 5 (8) Jun 16, 2012
You know Mr. Noparks (he hates parks), if you thought computer modeling were an issue; you should look right at the wattsupwiththat website you reference all the time. That site has some real cherry picking going on there.

Their graph on Hansen's 1988 prediction is total madeup crap. His prediction was a 1C change from 1970s to 2010 in gobal average temp. T


2011 0.339

1973 0.077

or

1979 0.049

Maybe IPCC math says that = 1C but it doesn't.


And to be clear, Hansen predicted 1.2C if CO2 rose by 1.5% per year.

CO2 rose by 2.5% per year.

Therefore he was predicting a 1.5C rise from around 1973 to 2010.

He was off by 1.2C. A MASSIVE FAIL.

http://wattsupwit...0-wrong/
NotParker
1.8 / 5 (10) Jun 16, 2012
NP: Are you saying that AGW is a fraud because they are using computer models?


They use hundreds of models and cherry pick the results they want and they are still wrong.

The classic is Hansen's own model.

1.5% CO2 increase per year = 1.2C warming to 2010.

In fact, CO2 increased by 2.5% per year.

Using his model, temperature should have gone up 1.5C with such a CO2 increase.

Temperature went up .3C.

Normal scientists would retract their theory since it was demolished by what the IPCC claims are good measurements of CO2 and temperature.

XQZME
1.8 / 5 (5) Jun 17, 2012
The ocean is alkaline and in no danger of becoming acid. If the average pH of the ocean drops from 8.1 to 7.8 by 2100 as predicted, it will still be alkaline.
San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography and other authors published a study showing how much the pH level (measuring alkalinity versus acidity) varies naturally between parts of the ocean and at different times of the day, month and year. Guess what. The noise is greater than the signal.
"On both a monthly and annual scale, even the most stable open ocean sites see pH changes many times larger than the annual rate of acidification. In many freshwater lakes, pH changes that are orders of magnitude greater than those projected for the 22nd-century oceans can occur over periods of hours.

http://online.wsj...Darticle

off the Yucatan, where underwater springs make seawater actually acidic, studies have shown that at least some kinds of calcifiers s
XQZME
1.8 / 5 (5) Jun 17, 2012
The IPCC's modeling cronies have just been told that the figures used for greenhouse gas forcings are incorrect, meaning none of the model results from prior IPCC reports cant be considered valid. What has caused climate scientists' assumptions to go awry? Short lived aerosol particles in the atmosphere changing how greenhouse gases react in previously unsuspected ways. The result is another devastating blow to the climate catastrophists' computer generated apocalyptic fantasies.

In a stunning article entitled Improved Attribution of Climate Forcing to Emissions, a group of researchers from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University in New York, led by Drew T. Shindell, have called into question the values used to calculate the forcing due to various greenhouse gases. We calculated atmospheric composition changes, historical radiative forcing, and forcing per unit of emission due to aerosol and tropospheric ozone precursor emissions in a coupled composi
XQZME
1.8 / 5 (5) Jun 17, 2012
VD: Can you can stop your ad hominem attacks long enough to explain why all 23 models in AR4 do not conform to real data? Do you have any data at all to support your hypothesis? If not, the report to George Soros, who is paying you to troll that you are an utter failure.
http://opinion.fi...ty-test/
NotParker
1 / 5 (5) Jun 18, 2012
XQZME- You are citing an article from the "Financial Post"....on climate models. That's like citing an article from Coke on why Pepsi sucks....


Only if you are a fanatic. Like you. Fail.
NotParker
1 / 5 (4) Jun 18, 2012
XQZME- You are citing an article from the "Financial Post"....on climate models. That's like citing an article from Coke on why Pepsi sucks....


Only if you are a fanatic. Like you. Fail.


NO! You're the fanatic! Not ME! You fail!


The fanatic attacks the messenger. Why you needed to smear the Financial Post eludes me, but it makes everyone realize you are a fanatic.
NotParker
1 / 5 (4) Jun 19, 2012
can you follow as to why I dimissed it's validity.


Not really. Since it appears you never tracked down the journal paper the article was discussing.

http://nikolaos.k...tzes.pdf

From this journal:

http://www.journa...casting/

The article was discussing a peer reviewed paper in the Jounral Of Forecasting.
Howhot
5 / 5 (2) Jun 20, 2012
Nopark (he hates parks BTW) is one of these rightwing gonzo cases where he believes the all of the science community is wrong and he the absolute authority. I've never seen a person in all the conferences I've been pull out so-much crap from so many dubious references. If they aren't dubious sources, he cherry picks data.

Bottom line, Noparks is another BS spreader.

XQME (aka X-scum) another rightwinger from the freeper class that has not a clue about the environmental impact of mountaintop removal and just thinks it's moving dirt. He doesn't post as often as Noparks, but he is obviously reading the same websites.

I'm sorry, but you guys just site BS all the time.

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