Aug
12

Ocean Acidification Claims are Misleading – and deliberately so

Written by Ross McLeod, PSI Researcher on 12 Aug 2014

Chemistry debunks junk climate science in the 'global warming causes ocean acidification' debate. Established Chemistry proves that if temperatures were rising then, conversely, acidification would be falling, not increasing. Such is the woeful science ignorance (or intentional deceit) of climate alarmists. 

ACID TEST

Indisputable facts

  • carbon dioxide (CO2), dissolved in pure water, makes a weak, unstable acid, whilst the ocean water is a very stable buffer with a pH averaging around 8, which means it is alkaline;

  • there isn’t enough CO2 in the atmosphere to make much difference to the ocean’s pH;

  • the concentration of enough CO2 to significantly reduce the ocean’s pH will not come from the atmosphere;

  • the mass of the oceans is a huge 268 times the mass of the atmosphere;

  • CO2 is currently only 0.04% of that atmosphere.

  • Discussion about those facts

    Besides the above chemical and physical facts, it is well known that an increase in water temperature will reduce the solubility of CO2.

    Leave any opened cold carbonated drink – from champagne to Coke - to warm up and see what happens to the fizz, which is CO2 in case you didn’t know. Your warmed champagne/Coke goes 'flat' because the carbon dioxide has escaped the liquid and entered the atmosphere.

    It is therefore not rocket science to state with complete confidence that warm water naturally contains less CO2 than cold water.

    The oceans are outgassing CO2 due to the slight warming trend since the end of the Mini Ice Age (c. 1850's). The exact cause of this trend IS NOT known and remains the subject of much scientific debate! There is evidence that there is a gap of many centuries between planet-wide temperature swings and atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

    The Climate Alarmist’s Case

    Climate alarmists are stunningly contradictory and actually amusing if they didn’t hold the world at ransom over this non-problem of a slight increase in CO2 concentrations.

  • They point out the slight increasing trend in temperatures as alarming!

  • They point out the side effect of this slight increasing trend in temperatures – rising sea levels – as alarming!

  • Then they claim man’s CO2 emissions will increase ocean acidification – as alarming!

  • But you simply cannot have it both ways – that is an “Inconvenient Truth”!

    Summary and Conclusion

  • Either the oceans are getting warmer and the CO2 concentration in seawater is decreasing, which means that ocean acidification from man-made CO2 from the atmosphere is nonsense.

  • Or the oceans are getting cooler and the man-made CO2 from the atmosphere is dissolving in those cooler oceans and causing – insignificant – ocean acidification, which means that warming oceans and the associated sea level rises are nonsense.

  • Take your pick – REAL SCIENCE says you can’t have both.

     Further reading on this subject may be found here:

    http://carbon-sense.com/2012/05/13/acid-ocean-bogeyman/

    http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/acid-ocean-bogeyman.pdf

    Pin it

    Comments  

    John Marshall
    #1 John Marshall 2014-08-12 06:53
    pH of 7.0 is neutral and a fall below this is acidic. Ocean pH varies on many factors but the figures pH 7.6-8.3 covers it. All inside that bracket is alkali. Increased atmospheric CO2 levels and a cold ocean gives high primary production using the CO2 to photosynthesise or form skeletal material, depending on type of organism.
    fossil evidence shows that at times of high atmospheric CO2 content corals thrived. Corals depend on primary production for food.
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    Joseph A Olson
    #2 Joseph A Olson 2014-08-12 07:11
    The oceans are at maximum saturation of multiple gases, byproducts of Earth's fission and discharged at sea floor vents that are below the P-V-T point for liquefaction. Ocean currents then lift these saturated gases to points in the water column where the temperature and pressure allow outgassing, which accounts for the bubbles at every depth. Without these gases from the ocean floor, these bodies would be lifeless. See "Earth's Missing Geothermal Flux" at the Faux science Slayer website.

    The ocean basin is lined with Calcium Carbonate rocks which would dissolve to maintain the alkaline pH, regardless of the minor effect of Carbonic Acid. Ocean acidification is yet another, grant and agenda driven faux science in need of slaying.
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    Philip Foster
    #3 Philip Foster 2014-08-12 08:51
    The key to buffering of ocean pH is in the chemistry of CaCO3. (limestone coral etc.)
    CaCO3 is very insoluble in water but is present in suspension, on ocean floors etc as 'sludge' or just as rocks in general.

    BUT
    when attacked by 'carbonic acid' - ie CO2 dissolved in water - it reacts to form Ca(HCO3)2 calcium bicarbonate or as it is also called Calcium Hydrogen Carbonate.
    This is relatively soluble in water and is ALKALINE in solution being the product of a strong base Ca(OH)2 and a weak acid H2CO3 (carbonic acid). The more CO2 that dissoves in sea water the more alkaline it tends to become.

    Hence Prof. Plimer's statement: "The oceans can only become acidic if the earth runs out of rocks!"

    Further, as there are liquid pools of pure CO2 in deep ocean trenches where the pressures and cold temperatures are sufficient to liquify CO2, the oceans are always effectively saturated in CO2.
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    david russell
    #4 david russell 2014-08-12 15:42
    AGW CO2 cannot produce any meaningful ocean acidification

    Introduction
    The claim is made that AGW CO2 emissions are acidifying the oceans, which may have adverse impact on marine life. Specifically the claim is that due to AGW ocean ph has dropped 30% (a .1 increase in acidity on the ph scale). The below argues annual CO2 related ocean acidification is on the order of 1 part per 50 billion – less than a drop of acid in a swimming pool 4M x 20M x 2M…. actually you’d need 17 such pools!!!
    Pure CO2 is not acidic – there’s no hydrogen in CO2 and as those who remember high school chemistry know, acidity is a function of hydrogen ions. However in water ~1 in 1000 CO2 molecules becomes the weak acid 2HCO3 (carbonic acid). Ocean acidification from AGW thus is an artifact of this carbonic acid. If this carbonic acid were well-mixed in oceans, it would be 1 part in 50 billion.

    The case:

    The ratio of carbonic acid created from CO2 introduced into a liquid is called its hydration equilibrium constant, which for sea water under standard conditions is 1.2 x 10-3. That is, for 1,000 CO2 molecules entering the ocean from AGW, 1.2 will become carbonic acid under standard conditions.
    Human CO2 emissions in 2013 were 36 gigatons, 25% of which were [considered] absorbed into the oceans, or 9 gigatons. Now if only 1.2 molecules in 1000 becomes carbonic acid, that's 9X1.2/1000= 10.8 megatons of carbon dioxide molecules in the ocean from AGW that get converted into carbonic acid per annum. CO2 is about 2/3 the mass of carbonic acid, so the 10.8 megatons of CO2 becomes 10.8X3/2 =16.2 megatons of carbonic acid…. introduced over 139mm square miles of ocean. Per square mile that's about .1165 ton. A cubic mile of sea-water weighs 4.718B tons and as the oceans’ average depth is about 14,000’ or 2-2/3 miles, 12.509B tons of seawater is beneath each square mile of ocean surface on average. We know that ph varies in different parts of the ocean, but let’s hold this fact in abeyance until the end. And let’s ignore the non-standard conditions generally in the oceans. Each square mile of CO2 entering the ocean then is going to dilute the 2-2/3 cubic mile of ocean below it. The .1165 ton of carbonic acid per square mile if mixed with 10B tons of sea-water beneath it results in 1 part per 12.5B/.1165, or 1 part per 107 billion carbonic acid annually from AGW sourced CO2 into the oceans. Adding 1 part of even a strong acid to 107B parts pure sea water results in….no measurable increase in ocean acidity, even if you do this annually for the 5-10 decades or so of heavy AGW.
    Now maybe the oceans ARE getting more acidic. Maybe it’s from something other than human CO2 emissions. Still,…
    IF the oceans are acidifying, it can't be the result of added carbonic acid from AGW. Q.E.D.
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    david russell
    #5 david russell 2014-08-12 15:49
    Correction to the above, the 1 part to 50B in the introduction is actually 1 part in 107B as is shown in the argument.
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    Windy
    #6 Windy 2014-08-12 21:54
    I test this theory with champagne quite often.
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    Frederick Colbourne
    #7 Frederick Colbourne 2014-08-12 23:15
    The claim of imminent ocean acifification is based on the observation the observation that, "The surface waters of the oceans have already acidified by an average of 0.1 pH units from pre-industrial levels." ref 2

    And from the projection that, "By the end of the twenty-first century, projections based on different scenarios indicate that ocean pH will have decreased by 0.3 to 0.4 pH units." ref 10

    Source: Paleo-perspectives on ocean acidification, Trends in Ecology and Evolution Vol.xxx No.x, 2010

    Figure 1 shows the present pH as about 8.0. The same figure shows that the range in pH from glacial to interglacial conditions was only about 0.2 from a high of 8.30 during glacial times to a low of 8.10 during interglacials, roughly where we are now at 8.05.

    So a very small drop in pH below 8.0 would be extremely unusual for the Holocene.

    Whether or not s small drop in pH is probable and whether or not a small drop would have the biological and economic consequences projected are the real issues.

    The impact of CO2 on "aragonite" in the Arctic was the main focus of the paper in reference 10.

    How valid the results of this study of the Arctic for the future of the world ocean? That depends on how how well the model depicts the entire world ocean.

    (Climate System Model CSM1.4-carbon of the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR))

    The Wikipedia article on "aragonite" is quite balanced. Along with papers with pessimistic views, the Wikipedia article mentions other papers, "However, some studies have found different response to ocean acidification, with coccolithophore calcification and photosynthesis both increasing under elevated atmospheric pCO
    2."

    There is no chance of the world ocean becoming acidic. the issue is whether the world ocean will remain alkaline enough to support the level of aragonite needed by micro-oragnisms.

    So yes, speaking and writing about the "acidification" of the oceans is misleading much in the same way as the term +greenhouse gas". But is there any other way to express the physical and chemical concepts to a largely scientifically-illiterate public.

    How would you explain either concept to a 10-year old or to your grandmother who finished her education at high school?

    Having said that, whatever the justification for using these non-physical terms to explain science to the public, there is no excuse for using these unscientific terms in scholarly papers and textbooks.
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    David Appell
    #8 David Appell 2014-08-13 01:22
    All chemical compounds have a property called "acidity," a function of its hydogen ion activity. When this number increases, regardless of the compound's pH, the compound is said to be "acidifying." Our ocean's has increased by 30%.
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    Pat Obar
    #9 Pat Obar 2014-08-13 11:16
    Quoting David Appell:
    All chemical compounds have a property called "acidity," a function of its hydogen ion activity. When this number increases, regardless of the compound's pH, the compound is said to be "acidifying." Our ocean's has increased by 30%.


    More blather from Appell! Please demonstrate "any" link of any ocean acidification to an increase in atmospheric CO2? Just another Climastrology lie!
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    David Appell
    #10 David Appell 2014-08-13 11:29
    Quoting Pat Obar:
    Quoting David Appell:
    All chemical compounds have a property called "acidity," a function of its hydogen ion activity. When this number increases, regardless of the compound's pH, the compound is said to be "acidifying." Our ocean's has increased by 30%.


    More blather from Appell! Please demonstrate "any" link of any ocean acidification to an increase in atmospheric CO2? Just another Climastrology lie!


    Of course there's a link. But that wasn't at all the point of my comment.
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    bill
    #11 bill 2014-08-13 12:04
    "All chemical compounds have a property called 'acidity,' "

    Shirley, you're not serious.
    Quote | Report to administrator
    David Appell
    #12 David Appell 2014-08-13 12:50
    Quoting bill:
    "All chemical compounds have a property called 'acidity,' "

    Shirley, you're not serious.


    davidappell.blogspot.com/2012/07/yes-ocean-acidity-has-increased-by-30.html
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    Pat Obar
    #13 Pat Obar 2014-08-13 15:50
    Quoting David Appell:


    PO "More blather from Appell! Please demonstrate "any" link of any ocean acidification to an increase in atmospheric CO2? Just another Climastrology lie!"

    DA "Of course there's a link. But that wasn't at all the point of my comment."

    Nothing of your 2012 nonsense has anything tom do with increasing atmospheric CO2. Just another Climastrology lie!
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    Miner49er
    #14 Miner49er 2014-08-13 15:56
    Quoting David Appell:
    All chemical compounds have a property called "acidity," a function of its hydogen ion activity. When this number increases, regardless of the compound's pH, the compound is said to be "acidifying." Our ocean's has increased by 30%.


    Do you mean "decrease"? An "increase" means the solution has become more alkaline. And yes, there IS a difference--an alkaline solution cannot dissolve aragonite and other carbonates.
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    David Appell
    #15 David Appell 2014-08-13 17:26
    Quoting Miner49er:
    Do you mean "decrease"? An "increase" means the solution has become more alkaline. And yes, there IS a difference--an alkaline solution cannot dissolve aragonite and other carbonates.


    No, I meant increase -- the ocean's acidity has increased by 30%. It has become more acidic. Less alkaline.

    It's not a matter of what it reacts with, it's a matter of what the activity of its hydrogen ions is.
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    Pat Obar
    #16 Pat Obar 2014-08-13 19:11
    Quoting David Appell:
    Quoting Miner49er:
    Do you mean "decrease"? An "increase" means the solution has become more alkaline. And yes, there IS a difference--an alkaline solution cannot dissolve aragonite and other carbonates.


    No, I meant increase -- the ocean's acidity has increased by 30%. It has become more acidic. Less alkaline.

    It's not a matter of what it reacts with, it's a matter of what the activity of its hydrogen ions is.


    David,
    Please give it up! You are spouting only a completely falsified fantasy! You have not even a conjecture of what may be in this physical.

    -pat-
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    DennisA
    #17 DennisA 2014-08-14 05:39
    The "30% increase in acidity" mantra is repeated ad infinitum. The origin of it is described here: scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/acid_seas.html and goes back to IPCC AR4.

    AR4 WG1
    Quote:
    "A decrease in surface pH of 0.1 over the global ocean was calculated from the estimated uptake of anthropogenic carbon between 1750 and 1994 (Sabine et al., 2004b; Raven et al., 2005)

    The mean pH of surface waters ranges between 7.9 and 8.3 in the open ocean, so the ocean remains alkaline (pH > 7) even after these decreases.

    The consequences of changes in pH on marine organisms are poorly known (see Section 7.3.4 and Box 7.3). For comparison, pH was higher by 0.1 unit during glaciations, and there is no evidence of pH values more than 0.6 units below the pre-industrial pH during the past 300 million years (Caldeira and Wickett, 2003)

    A decrease in ocean pH of 0.1 units corresponds to a 30% increase in the concentration of H+ in seawater, assuming that alkalinity and temperature remain constant."
    Hence we get the claim that “the ocean” has become "30% more acidic" since the start of the industrial revolution.

    So the basis of all the hype is a calculation from an estimate, which gives a very precise figure of 0.1pH decrease, they don’t even know the consequences of changes in pH and 0.1 is well within the range of variation quoted in AR4.

    Once the scare had been introduced, it grew legs and had to be nourished and in 2005, the Royal Society published a report entitled, "Ocean acidification due to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide."

    The members of the committee producing that report included one Dr. Ken Caldeira, of Stanford, at that time at Lawrence Livermore laboratory. He was accompanied by scientists from the University of East Anglia (UEA), Southampton University and Plymouth Marine Laboratory, both the latter institutions are part of the UK Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, based at UEA and the main body in the UK promoting draconian emissions control on behalf of the UK government.

    The Royal Society produced a cut and paste updated report in 2007, and again in 2009, with the same panellists. Thus is consensus achieved and acidification of the oceans is now "fact", the science is settled. Who would question the wise science from an august and venerable body such as this?
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    David Appell
    #18 David Appell 2014-08-14 11:36
    The 30% number is used because it's scientifially accurate.

    The National Academy of Sciences has its own report on ocean acidification, published in 2010. But I'm sure you know much, much more than all the educated professionals who study the subject day-in and day-out. Do you have any journal papers on the subject I can read?

    Quoting DennisA:
    The "30% increase in acidity" mantra is repeated ad infinitum. The origin of it is described here: scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/acid_seas.html and goes back to IPCC AR4.

    AR4 WG1
    Quote:
    "A decrease in surface pH of 0.1 over the global ocean was calculated from the estimated uptake of anthropogenic carbon between 1750 and 1994 (Sabine et al., 2004b; Raven et al., 2005)

    The mean pH of surface waters ranges between 7.9 and 8.3 in the open ocean, so the ocean remains alkaline (pH > 7) even after these decreases.

    The consequences of changes in pH on marine organisms are poorly known (see Section 7.3.4 and Box 7.3). For comparison, pH was higher by 0.1 unit during glaciations, and there is no evidence of pH values more than 0.6 units below the pre-industrial pH during the past 300 million years (Caldeira and Wickett, 2003)

    A decrease in ocean pH of 0.1 units corresponds to a 30% increase in the concentration of H+ in seawater, assuming that alkalinity and temperature remain constant."


    Hence we get the claim that “the ocean” has become "30% more acidic" since the start of the industrial revolution.

    So the basis of all the hype is a calculation from an estimate, which gives a very precise figure of 0.1pH decrease, they don’t even know the consequences of changes in pH and 0.1 is well within the range of variation quoted in AR4.

    Once the scare had been introduced, it grew legs and had to be nourished and in 2005, the Royal Society published a report entitled, "Ocean acidification due to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide."

    The members of the committee producing that report included one Dr. Ken Caldeira, of Stanford, at that time at Lawrence Livermore laboratory. He was accompanied by scientists from the University of East Anglia (UEA), Southampton University and Plymouth Marine Laboratory, both the latter institutions are part of the UK Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, based at UEA and the main body in the UK promoting draconian emissions control on behalf of the UK government.

    The Royal Society produced a cut and paste updated report in 2007, and again in 2009, with the same panellists. Thus is consensus achieved and acidification of the oceans is now "fact", the science is settled. Who would question the wise science from an august and venerable body such as this?
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    Geert F de Vries
    #19 Geert F de Vries 2014-08-18 09:37
    My calculation says that 0.1 pH points lower means 20.57% "more acidic", not 30%.
    Namely 10^8.1 / 10^8.0 = 0.7943 = 1 - 0.2057.
    So much for accuracy of the warmists.
    (this holds for any 0.1 drop in the exponent).

    The oceans' pH variation caused by river outlets and gletchers sliding off Greenland and Antarctica with a pH of 7.0 goes all the way to 8.6 somewhere, so as to have the ocean-wide avg of 8.1. Should that pH 7 infusion not worry our climastrologists ? It really is a lot more acid w.r.t. the average 8.1 than the CO2-infested water at 8.0.

    My suggestion is to stop the rivers emptying into the ocean and building catchment reservoirs instead (use them to irrigate the deserts and drought places like California), and we have to think of a plan to isolate the icebergs in a special corner of this earth. Lake Chad comes to mind.
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    David Appell
    #20 David Appell 2014-08-18 14:23
    Geert: Your calculation is wrong. It's done correctly here:

    davidappell.blogspot.com/2012/07/yes-ocean-acidity-has-increased-by-30.html

    ractional change in activity = 10^0.1 - 1 = 0.26 = 26%


    Quoting Geert F de Vries:
    My calculation says that 0.1 pH points lower means 20.57% "more acidic", not 30%.
    Namely 10^8.1 / 10^8.0 = 0.7943 = 1 - 0.2057.
    So much for accuracy of the warmists.
    (this holds for any 0.1 drop in the exponent).

    The oceans' pH variation caused by river outlets and gletchers sliding off Greenland and Antarctica with a pH of 7.0 goes all the way to 8.6 somewhere, so as to have the ocean-wide avg of 8.1. Should that pH 7 infusion not worry our climastrologists ? It really is a lot more acid w.r.t. the average 8.1 than the CO2-infested water at 8.0.

    My suggestion is to stop the rivers emptying into the ocean and building catchment reservoirs instead (use them to irrigate the deserts and drought places like California), and we have to think of a plan to isolate the icebergs in a special corner of this earth. Lake Chad comes to mind.
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    David Appell
    #21 David Appell 2014-08-18 14:47
    >> Should that pH 7 infusion not worry our climaatolgoists?
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    David Appell
    #22 David Appell 2014-08-18 14:50
    Sorry, don't know why previous comment was blank.

    I asked, who's projecting a pH of 7? Not these guys:

    www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/figure-10-24.html
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    David Appell
    #23 David Appell 2014-08-18 14:56
    "My suggestion is to stop the rivers emptying into the ocean...."

    The ocean's volume is about 10^18 m^3.

    The flow of freshwater rivers into the ocean is about 1 Sverdrup (= 10^6 m^3/s).

    So it would take about a trillion seconds for the rivers to overturn the ocean, or about 32,000 years.

    That's never happened, because of course, there's a reason water becomes saline when it's in the ocean.
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