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Search for acidification

Comments matching the search acidification:

    More than 100 comments found. Only the most recent 100 have been displayed.

  • How big is the “carbon fertilization effect”?

    Bob Loblaw at 04:13 AM on 13 July, 2023

    Rob @ 16:

    daveburton's graph is using different units from the Pro-ocean one - g/100g, rather than mole/kg-atm.

    Before going down this Henry's Law rabbit hole, note that the uptake of CO2 in water is not solely related to the solubility of CO2 in water. The CO2 rapidly dissociates into ions that combine with the calcium carbonate present in sea water.

    Dissociation of CO2

    There is an excellent series here on ocean acidification:

    OA Not OK part zero lists all the individual posts.

    Part 15 mentions how solubility of CO2 depends on the presence of other ions.

    ...but there are many parts to the series. Each individual part is small, so going through them is worthwhile.

  • At a glance - Ocean acidification: Global warming's evil twin

    nigelj at 07:16 AM on 6 July, 2023

    From Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution :

    One of the most common negative responses Sarah Cooley gets when she speaks to community groups about ocean acidification is, “What do you mean, ocean acidification? The ocean is not acidic! Seawater is never going to get below pH 7—so you must not know what you’re talking about.

    That’s partly true, said Cooley, a postdoctoral researcher at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The pH of seawater is near 8, which makes it mildly alkaline, or basic; but any decrease in the pH of a liquid is considered “acidification.”

    “It’s a lot easier to say ‘ocean acidification’ than ‘ocean de-alkalinization,” said Cooley.

    pH is an index of how many protons, or hydrogen ions (H+) are dissolved and free in a solution. The pH scale goes from 0 to 14. A fluid with a pH of 7 is neutral. Below 7, it is acidic; above 7, it is alkaline.

    A small drop in pH means big change in acidity: The pH of seawater is near 8, which makes it mildly alkaline, or basic; but any decrease in the pH of a liquid is considered “acidification.” The key danger factor is an increase in dissolved hydrogen ions.(Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

    The more below or above 7 a solution is, the more acidic or alkaline it is. The scale is not linear—a drop from pH 8.2 to 8.1 indicates a 30 percent increase in acidity, or concentration of hydrogen ions; a drop from 8.1 to 7.9 indicates a 150 percent increase in acidity. Bottom line: Small-sounding changes in ocean pH are actually quite large and definitely in the direction of becoming less alkaline, which is the same as becoming more acidic.

    If you think about it, we use descriptive words like this all the time. A person who stands 5’5” tall and weighs 300 pounds isn’t thin. If he loses 100 pounds, he still won’t be thin, but he will be thinner than he was before he went on the diet. (And we are more likely to comment that he’s looking trimmer than to say he’s not as fat as he used to be.),150%20percent%20increase%20in%20acidity.

  • At a glance - Ocean acidification: Global warming's evil twin

    Gordon at 16:31 PM on 5 July, 2023

    John @20

    Headlines this THIS dont help the cause.

    AI reports 5 - 9 correctly as basic.

    4-5 less acidic

    9-8 more acidic

    Yes, the ocean is alkaline but it will never be acidic.

  • At a glance - Ocean acidification: Global warming's evil twin

    Rob Honeycutt at 15:58 PM on 5 July, 2023

    I think if you asked anyone on the street whether the ocean is acidic or alkaline the top answer would be "I don't know."

    I imagine ocean acidification has a fairly low awareness level in the general public compared to climate change.

  • At a glance - Ocean acidification: Global warming's evil twin

    Eclectic at 15:10 PM on 5 July, 2023

    Gordon @19 ,

    Yes, "acidification"  has well and truly "stuck".  And the ocean is changing in its physical reality of H+  and OH-  ratio (and is changing so rapidly that it is causing adverse effects in the marine molluscs & calciferous micro-fauna, etc.  That change might not matter 10,000 years in the future . . . but for now it is worthy of attention).

    So . . . putting aside your abstract interest in different words  ~ what is the substantive point that you wish to make?

    [ Gordon, I hope you do not represent some ChatGPT-like group, who is simply aiming to improve on AI language skills.  The thread here is about scientific & practical problems of rapid acidification of the planetary ocean. ]

  • At a glance - Ocean acidification: Global warming's evil twin

    John Mason at 14:54 PM on 5 July, 2023

    Gordon #1, #19

    I've known about acidification for some 45 years - since I started doing science at school and took that to A level. But what about people who bunked-off science classes in their teens and have only encountered acid in car batteries?

    I bet if you asked anyone on the street whether the ocean was acidic or alkaline the common response would be acidic.

    I wonder? Hopefully not if they have read the at-a-glance intro to the topic, where I first mention the pH of seawater with, "Now, typical seawater is slightly alkaline at around pH 8.1"

    I don't know what AI you have used but it would be instructive to see what it made of taking a solution from pH 5 to pH 9 - well into the alkaline side of neutral - not that AI is reliable. It tends to tell you what you want to read! But your exercise (Ph 4 to pH 5) only takes a stronger acid to a weaker acid. The solution is still on the acidic side of neutral.

  • At a glance - Ocean acidification: Global warming's evil twin

    Gordon at 14:28 PM on 5 July, 2023


    Exactly, words should be used to improve communication.  I bet if you asked anyone on the street whether the ocean was acidic or alkaline the common response would be acidic.  If you say acidification enough times its gonna stick.  If you look HERE the takeaway will be that the ocean is becoming more of something it is not !

  • At a glance - Ocean acidification: Global warming's evil twin

    Rob Honeycutt at 14:23 PM on 5 July, 2023

    Gordon @15...

    Liquid/frozen and acidic/alkaline are not analogous being that the former has a phase change at zero celcius. The later is merely a definition of a range in pH with no phase change.

    Every time I've run into this entire argument (and it's been many times over) I always ask the other person to look at the scientific literature and see how the term "acidification" is used. I ask them to find any research that uses a different term. 

    Never has anyone taken up that task, and in the end I always do it for them. 

    The term is correct in its usage applied to ocean acidification. The term is consistent with other unrelated research. There are no other terms used that represent the same process. As Eclectic says, it is merely semantics to argue otherwise.

  • At a glance - Ocean acidification: Global warming's evil twin

    Eclectic at 13:55 PM on 5 July, 2023

    Gordon :  putting aside all questions of semantics & wordplay  ~ I must confess that I am failing to grasp the fundamental point which you might be aiming to convey.

    Scientists know that the ocean is undergoing acidification [or de-alkalinisation , if such a word exists].   However: "Acidification"  is the commonly-used term, which is understood by everyone having a scientific interest in the issue at hand.   Just as the (very imperfect) term GreenHouse Effect  is commonly-used and widely-understood [by the science-minded layman, too ].

    Words should be used to improve  communication ~ rather than be used to obscure whatever important point it is that you wish to discuss.  And what is that point which you wish to discuss here in this thread?   Please make yourself clear.

    [Your quote that a "liquid can be a solid"  (@15) is an example of poor communication.]

  • At a glance - Ocean acidification: Global warming's evil twin

    Rob Honeycutt at 11:48 AM on 5 July, 2023

    Gordon, perhaps you'll remember from your chemistry class that "pH" means, essentially, "the power of hydrogen." Right?

    The link you reference is Forbes, hardly a scientific journal by any stretch of the imagination, and one which is more prone to publishing politically motivated opinion articles. And that's exactly what you're reading there.

    No one has ever claimed the oceans are acidic, or have become acidic. No one has ever claimed anything other than the oceans are "acidifying," meaning exactly what it says. 

    You can literally be at a pH of 14, move a solution to a pH of 13, and that would acidification.

    The only possible other word one could use would be "debasification" but good luck finding that in any scientific research. Plus, that would clearly not describe the underlying process that's occurring.

    Bob's point, which you're avoiding, is appropriate. When traveling from NYC to Atlanta no one claims they're going "less north."

  • At a glance - Ocean acidification: Global warming's evil twin

    Gordon at 10:24 AM on 5 July, 2023

    Rob, Acid solutions are composed primarly of H+ ions.  Alkaline solutions are composed primarily of OH– ions.  Neutral solutions contain equal amounts of H+ and OH- ions. When I studied Chemistry (many years ago) we always described the pH of a solution based on its direction from Neutral - <pH7 more/less acidic >pH7 more/less basic.  

    Actually, after reading around it would seem that the term Ocean Acidification has more of a political connotation than a scientific one.

  • At a glance - Ocean acidification: Global warming's evil twin

    Rob Honeycutt at 08:58 AM on 5 July, 2023

    Gordon, a state of being frozen or liquid is determined by a "phase change." The pH of a solution doesn't go through a similar phase change. 

    When you add CO2 to H2O you get H2CO3, or carbonic acid, which further dissociates into H+ and HCO3-. Regardless of where your solution is on the pH scale, that process is called "acidification."

    The "H+" is the key since pH is a measure of free hydrogen ions in a solution.

    I think I have that right.

  • Two attempts to blame global warming on volcanoes

    Rob Honeycutt at 01:05 AM on 5 April, 2023

    JohnSeers @49...  I've heard that one many times before, at least relative to rising atmospheric CO2. What those who make that claim fail to recognize is that CO2 from underwater volcanoes would merely be dissolved into seawater before reaching the surface. It would lead to greater ocean acidification but any atmospheric changes would be limited to the second order effect from changes in the ocean/atmosphere exchange of CO2. 

    This argument seems more of a "what if" argument someone made up, didn't research, and spun up into a new denial theory.

  • It's not urgent

    Bob Loblaw at 22:49 PM on 9 March, 2023


    SkS did a series on the ocean acidification issue a number of years back.

    Part 0 provides an index to the series.

    After it was complete, it was turned into a downloadable booklet.

  • It's not urgent

    EddieEvans at 19:57 PM on 9 March, 2023


    "The net carbon sink into the oceans is far more predictable than the carbon interchange in/out of the biosphere."

    Using the global ocean as a carbon sink has consequences for biodiversity, increasing acidification. There's no free lunch, and no eternal waste disposal for the Anthropocene, I gather. I'm not up to date on the latest research; I left the ocean as a sink with Roger Revelle. I will update my understanding for sure.  There are no positives in any of these GHG matters.

  • 2023 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #5

    slumgullionridge at 23:44 PM on 8 February, 2023

    Rob Honeycutt @13 ...I should report that perhaps no one else on this site, save self, are suggesting a Draconian solution, but serious conversations are taking place across the globe around this topic. Jared Diamond and others have pointed out that civilizations have collapsed for not doing what they clearly knew needed doing to avoid catastrophe. Dithering is a human weakness well understood by the wise, but the wise are seldom in charge. Transitioning would be nice, it's "scientific", but is usually met by the resistance of the masses, who winch at the idea that something other than their Lord God will save them. Then, of course, there are always the Lordless whose motives rely on global conquest, who can't be bothered with climate mitigation when such a prize as the entire planet looms in their vision.

    Already, the global ice is disappearing. That tipping point has been crossed. Transitioning will not remediate this loss because transitioning has already failed. We can't get back the species loss or speed up the AMOC, undo the acidification of the oceans which have already wiped out significant volumes of primary production, etc. So we need Draconian rather than Transitioning solutions in order to get out of trouble. Maybe someone can think up a few that are less Robespierre than mine.

  • Recklessness defined: breaking 6 of 9 planetary boundaries of safety

    One Planet Only Forever at 07:03 AM on 22 July, 2022

    The analogy of the dangerous bus is good. But a Structure analogy may be better, though far less amenable to engaging and colourful story-telling.

    An important point is the unsustainability of life on this planet if any of the identified safe limits (boundaries) are exceeded. A related understanding is that it is likely that additional Boundaries will be identified (the ‘Novel Entities’ category is for newly identified boundaries). And the competition for popularity and profit has proven it is very unlikely to investigate and limit the harm done by its developments.

    The Structure analogy would be something like this:

    • This amazing planet is the only structure/system available to humans that is certain to be able to support life that humans can be a sustainable part of.

    • An environment developed that has sustained a diversity of life for millennia. Life evolved in ways that were sustainable parts of the developed evolving structure/system.

    • Like any physical structure (building), parts of the global life support structure can be degraded. What is important to the future of life is that ‘critically important aspects of the structure are not impacted  beyond the safe limits (degraded or over-loaded)'. The Planetary Boundaries are critically important structure aspects. In Structure design they would be like the elements of the Primary Structure System. If part of the primary system fails the entire structure will fail. The life support structure is at risk of failure if any of the critical boundary safe limits are exceeded. And the magnitude of the failure will increase the longer, and more severely, any safe limit is exceeded.

    • Through the millennia the global life support structure has had parts (regions) develop to be very unlivable ‘considered to be deserted’. But the changes were almost always gradual enough, or localized, allowing life to continue to evolve and adapt to the slow changes. However, occasionally something happened that pushed things beyond a global safe boundary for life and did it so rapidly that a lot of life perished.

    • It is helpful to identify which boundaries are beyond the safe limit. But what is more important is the history and current trend regarding each critical concern. Ocean acidification looks OK at this moment (below the safe limit). But if the trend is ‘rapid recent increase likely to continue that way for a while’ then it is a potentially larger problem than a case where impacts are beyond the safe limit but are declining. And that ‘trend rate’ evaluation would clearly indicate that Climate Change is a major problem (note: in the original Planetary Boundary evaluation, done only a few years ago, Climate Change impacts were below the safe level).

    Humanity has developed, for the first time in history, to undeniably be ‘pushing things beyond global safe boundaries for life so rapidly that a lot of life has and will perish’. Many critical aspects of the planetary life support structure are being rapidly severely degraded because of ‘human development’. And many, but not all, members of the developed global leadership (the global wealthy and powerful) struggle (fail) to help stop the obvious undeniable destruction. The unhelpful ones try to:

    • maintain their status in the Status Quo (maintain popularity and profitability)

    • deny or diminish the severity of problem (promote deliberately misleading marketing to get people to misunderstand the issue)

    • stifle, threaten, or attack anyone who tries to raise awareness or improve understanding of the problem and the required corrections of the developed Status Quo.

  • What you need to know about carbon dioxide removal

    Aeyles at 22:31 PM on 5 May, 2022

    There are a number of obstacles unaccounted for in these "remedies". Two, right off hand, come to mind: Farmers and Ranchers are not required to participate in "improvements", new techniques are "voluntary". Phytoplankton are being wiped out from ocean acidification which proceeds regardless of the effort to employ them in CO2 reversal schemes. 

  • Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    swampfoxh at 01:59 AM on 14 March, 2022

    Evan at 82

    One final "short" then I have to go. Animal Agriculture, arguably the largest multifaceted threat to the planet, responsible for a large share of GGEs, deforestation, desertification, eutrophication and acidification of the oceans, massive excessive fresh water use, widespread habitat destruction, wild animal and plant species extinction, land use degradation. various human illnesses from  hormones and endocrine disruptors...could be outlawed, "today" because we have an adequate, alternative, suitable and available food supply: Plants.  Fossil fuels, burned, essentially affect the balance of gasses in the atmosphere but are not a factor in the above laundry list of damages to the remaining ecosystems.

  • Addressing the Climate Crisis: Evolution or Revolution1

    swampfoxh at 13:08 PM on 7 March, 2022

    I'm curious as to why this discussion revolved, largely, around GGEs from fossil fuels. Industrial Animal Agriculture's direct carbon footprint comes in around 31%. Its indirect footprint is variously estimated between 20% and higher numbers. On top of its footprint, we have to add in the environment damages which include deforestation, desertification, eutrophication and acidification of oceans, habitat loss, wild animal extinction, outsized fresh water use, land use conversions, human disease and disorders, especially cardiovascular...while consuming 85% of global crop tonnage, occupying 45% of arable land, while contributing only 1.5% to the gross global value of goods and services. Should not Industrial Animal Agriculture be targeted for elimination in the same manner as fossil fuels?

  • How weather forecasts can spark a new kind of extreme-event attribution

    wilddouglascounty at 01:26 AM on 15 January, 2022

    #18 Eclectic,

    Thank you again for your continued discussion, which on the whole has been much more extensive on this thread than I ever expected. I agree that "global warming" and "climate change" have become extremely recognizable in the media and the public around the world, and wanting to replace it with a mouthful of words with nearly the same meaning has questionable merit, so I understand why you are wondering why I want to shift it to what seems to be a subtle point which might be lost on most people. And you may be right.

    But there are a couple of points I want to bring up for consideration. The first point is that do you remember when the phrase "global warming" was first popularized, the denialists got a lot of coverage whenever a greenhouse gas turbocharged polar vortex came barreling down from the arctic? Or when the north Atlantic cooling and salt dilution from all the ice melt from Greenland became a thing, potentially causing colder weather for northern Europe, as another example?  The climatological community quickly realized that "global warming" did not adequately capture the complexity of changes that were occurring as a result of the changing atmospheric chemistry that were being observed. So "climate change" became the new replacement mantra, at least in the US community. This is an example of how popular terms are changeable, and made more accurate, thereby short circuiting misinformation in the process.

    The second point to consider is how the use of steroids has played out in the sporting world.  I've used baseball as an example, but steroid use clearly has had its impact across all sports as is evidenced in the Olympics Committee rules development and the increasingly complex monitoring of athletes across all sports. If the conversation in the sporting community just focused on homerun inflation, or increasing serving speeds in tennis, or other sports specific measures, then it would perhaps be harder to connect the dots to reveal the larger cause: steroid use. As we know, climate science has had to look at the much larger net of causality and relationships that impact and are impacted by the increase in the atmospheric greenhouse gas component. The ocean has increased CO2 absorption rates, resulting in acidification. The oceans themselves, not just the atmosphere, is warming, which contributes to sea level rise. The bottom line is that there are several monitoring indexes that are important to watch to understand the impact of greenhouse gas composition in the atmosphere. So just as the sporting community has focused on steroid use as the source of the myriad changes occurring in the sporting community, it makes sense to me to focusing on the source of ocean acidification, sea level rise relating to ocean water temperature, etc. AND climate change: greenhouse gases. It leaves the conversation about whether humanity is causing the problem behind us so we can move ahead with the next steps.  

    Thanks again for persisting, and I hope that this clarifies why I think it is worth considering this.

  • The 1.5 degrees goal: Beware of unintended consequences

    swampfoxh at 04:06 AM on 14 January, 2022

    I certainly did not mean to minimize the contribution of fossil fuel emissions toward the developing climate problem.  It is not an area I spend much time in, anymore, because the science is pretty well "evidenced". But, Industrial Animal Agriculture is flying under the radar and very little dialog exists on the plight of phytoplankton in the ocean, such essential creatures now suffering from ocean acidification.  Dialog, on this site, would contribute much to the big picture. 

  • How weather forecasts can spark a new kind of extreme-event attribution

    wilddouglascounty at 08:19 AM on 6 January, 2022

    MA Rodger,

    Thanks so much for voicing your concerns, which I can assure you are completely unfounded.  You say you feel that I am attempting to paper over the idea that extreme weather will be worse with AGW and cause increasing problems for humanity, but your concerns are completely unfounded. Nowhere do I imply this and I'm sorry you draw this conclusion from my stating and restating that my concern is that people are being inaccurate by saying that the statistical construct we've created to monitor the impact of greenhouse gases, i.e. "climate change" is CAUSING the observed changes (more severe, frequent extreme weather events, sea level rise, acidification, etc.). It is the greenhouse gases that are CAUSING the climate to change, the rising sea levels, the acidification, etc. Climate change is merely a constructed indicator that we use to communicate the impact of increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (and oceans, for acidification's sake). The only way to reduce and reverse AGW is to reduce the greenhouse gases being emitted to a level that the carbon sinks on our planet can absorb in order to return to an equilibrium that results in a climate we have become accustomed to.

    In other words, when talking about attribution, instead of saying that a drought's severity is increased X percent due to climate change, I would like to see folks say that the drought's severity is increased X percent due to a 40% increase in CO2 in the atmosphere or whatever mix of all greenhouse gases you want to choose.

  • Animals and plants can adapt

    Hal Kantrud at 08:36 AM on 20 December, 2021

    "ost extinctions have been linked to immense volcanic events, called Large Igneous Province (LIP) eruptions. These events spew billions of metric tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) into the atmosphere, in many cases triggering marine anoxia (oxygen loss) and ocean acidification due to rapid greenhouse warming. Of the Big Five mass extinctions, the one exception is the end-Cretaceous event. The current scientific consensus is that the end-Cretaceous mass extinction (that wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago) was primarily caused by a large meteor strike (and a resulting, jarring change in climate). In Figure 1, the past three events (end-Permian, end-Triassic, and end-Cretaceous) are positioned at their respective, estimated short-term CO2 spike levels. These CO2 spikes which triggered their respective mass extinctions are not captured in the grey CO2 concentration curve due to its coarser temporal resolution."

    I read where the Tubo volcano about 2MYA resulted in a long cooling period caused by the sun's rays reflecting off the ash in the air.  I would think that would decrease atmospheric greenhouse gasses.  Mass extinctions resulted including nearly all our homonid ancestors, with survivors limited to small populations in Africa.

  • Volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans

    Rob Honeycutt at 05:43 AM on 13 August, 2021

    jon_zz09... My understanding is that, any CO2 emitted from underwater volcanoes would be dissolved before reaching the surface. That could be a complicating factor for ocean acidification, but it does nothing to explain the rapid rise in atmospheric concentrations starting with the industrial revolution.

  • Clock is running on our reliance on vegetation as a steady 'carbon sink'

    swampfoxh at 22:35 PM on 2 April, 2021

       This does not seem like new information. Tim Flannery wrote about this in "The Weathermakers". Plant growth from excess CO2 has always produced toughened leaf structures, undesirable phenolics, etc. At the same time, other scientists report increasing losses in oxygen production by phytoplankton, themselves imperiled by  ocean acidification and warming from the CO2 problem...etc.

  • 2021 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #9

    michael sweet at 07:07 AM on 3 March, 2021


    The statement "CO2 in water does not behave like most other gases" does not relate to the fact that CO2 can force global warming.  Most gasses like O2 and N2 dissolve only is very small concentrations in water.  By contrast, CO2 reacts with water to form carbonic acid H2CO3.  Carbonic acid and its derivitives (HCO3- and CO3-2) are very soluble in water.  Thus much more CO2 to dissolve in water than N2 and O2.  The formation of carbonic acid when CO2 dissolves in water causes ocean acidification and is a very serious problem all by itself.

    Increasing the concentration of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere causes the atmosphere to warm up.  This has been known by scientists since about 1850.  Gasses that stay in the atmosphere for a very long time, like CO2, are said to force the increase in temperature since increasing CO2 forces the atmosphere to warm.  Releasing water into the atmosphere, for example from the chimney of a coal burning power plant, does not result in significant increase in atmospheric temperature.  The amount of water in the atmosphere is controlled by the temperature of the atmosphere.  Any added water simply falls as rain in a few days and the temperature is not affected.  By contrast, CO2 released today will linger in the atmosphere for centuries or much longer.

    Dr. Mann's 1998 paper uses proxies from around the world to estimate past temperatures.  Most are from remote areas.  Your statement "measured on the ground temps in industrial areas" is simply false.  The concept of climate forcing was introduced long before 1998.  If you want to keep your discussion to "the facts" you need to learn the facts first.  As I pointed out above, scientists have known since the 1850's that CO2 can force the temperature of the atmosphere to increase.

    It seems to me that you are copying your arguments from some other web site.  Can you tell us which web site you are getting your "facts" from?  They seem to be the arguments that were shown to be incorrect 20 years ago.  If you tell us where you are getting your misinformation from we probably can refer you to posts that debunk that site specifically.

    Some of the posters you are arguing with have PhD's in hard sciences (I only have a Masters degree in Chemistry).  They have decades of experience dealing with uninformed arguments against Global Warming.  Suggesting that as an engineer who appears young you know the facts better than older scientists who have been around the block is not a strong place to argue from.  I suggest that, instead of challenging other posters and suggesting you alone know the answer, you ask questions to try to find answers you do not know.

  • Warmer climate and Arctic sea ice in a veritable suicide pact

    Eclectic at 22:07 PM on 30 October, 2020

    Prometheus, as you are probably thinking yourself, the Eemian interglacial of 120,000 years ago had warm conditions extending further south than the Arctic sea.  Fortunately for the plants animals and humans of those times, the Eemian interglacial's peak temperature came and went very slowly ~ unlike the rocket speed of today's anthropogenic global warming.  Eemian global human population was not today's 7,000+ million, but probably around a quarter million or less . . .  and they were hunter-gatherers, easily able to move their territory, as conditions gradually changed.  (Slightly different from today ~ when potatoes complain about having to move from their couches when the remote's battery goes flat.)

    The rapid AGW from fossil fuel usage which ( judging by the swift  decisive action of today's politicians ) will continue to cause more acidification of the oceans . . . leading to greater ecological deterioration of oceans, with accompanying major reduction of fish stocks & other marine foodstocks for humans.

    Eemian conditions had a global sea level 5 or more meters above current level.  We could get there in a few centuries, and possibly rather faster than that.  Which will lead to massive migration of refugees.

    And massive loss of fertile farmland.

    Resultant colossal financial & social costs (spread over several centuries, though).

    Extinction of large swathes of plant & animal species (but this may not be of interest to the fiery mind of Prometheus).

    #  Please place a cross against any of the above points which seem unimportant.

  • It's only a few degrees

    MA Rodger at 21:00 PM on 30 June, 2020

    Jasper @3, Yet another take.

    You write "I get that a few degrees make a huge difference. I don't fully understand why a few degrees matter so much." Although a huge difference is suggestive that it does matter, I read your meaning that you are after an authoritiative take on the effects of "a few degrees" and something with a bit of meat on it.

    Warming the globe by "a few degrees" will make a big difference to the climate system which has been previously reasonably fixed for millenia and so will bring unprecedented change for human civilisation. But providing an authoritative account of what that change will amount to isn't so easy.

    Will those "few degrees" be enough to stop the AMOC and plunge Europe into a mini-ice age, enough to broaden the Hadley Cells and turn the central US lands and the Mediterranean lands into deserts, to green the Sahara and turn the Amazon into a treeless savannah? The answers are not straightforward. There is no long list if definitive outcomes set out in the headlines of the IPCC AR5 Synthesis Report. The word "risk" features too often when IPCC describes such outcomes.


    But there are a couple of definitive temperature-related outcomes from AGW.

    One is that Greenland will melt out somewhere between +1ºC and +2ºC threatening serious sea level rise. (The IPCC AR5 puts the upper bound at +4°C which is rather a fudge. Antarctica's ice caps are similarly a threat but how quickly they will react to global temperature rise is not well enough understood to be so predictable.) Another is the habitability of the tropics for humanity and perhaps a third is ocean acidification which would be unprecedented in tens of million of years.

    If Greenland were to melt down (a process that once started will not stop as the top of the Greenland ice sheet today sits happily frozen high up in the cold upper atmosphere), the oceans would rise by over seven metres. This compares with the last six thousand years (which spans the period of human civilisation) when changes in sea level could be measures in centimetres. A seven metre rise would be a big problem as so much of our populations today live close to sea coasts. (About a third of humanity inhabit land less than 100 metres above sea level while the loss of both Greenland and Antarctica would raise sea levens 75 metres.) The melt-down of Greenland would take a few centuries to make its mark but the process certainly becomes unstoppable if global warming remains two degrees centigrade above pre-industrial.

    The "few degrees" global temperature rise that accompanied the warming from the last glacial maximum 20,000 years ago and the dramatic impact on climate has been mentioned up-thread. The change in climate resulting from another similar-sized rise in global temperature would be just as dramatic for humanity. If global temperatures rose by six degrees celsius above pre-industrial, it could perhaps be described as a "Steam Age" as the increase in wet bulb temperatures would make the tropics a death trap for humans outside air conditioning. And such a six-degree temperature increase by 2100 is within the projection of the Business-As-Usual scenario of the IPCC.

    The ocean acidification would rival that of the PETM 55 million years ago but would happen in decades rather than tens-of-millenia.

    There is a big pile of reason not to let AGW run beyond +1.5°C. The implications for humanity and for much of the biosphere will be catastrophic if we let AGW run. It's a bit like jumping off a cliff. Predicting the height it would require for the fall to split your skull open is not straightforward but that is no reason to consider jumping. Besides, when you fall it's the intracranial hypertension that usually kills.

  • Australia's wildfires: Is this the 'new normal'?

    Mark Thomas at 17:58 PM on 20 February, 2020

    BaerbelW @23

    In regards to your opening line, I am trying to convey one question not many. I am not questioning ice sheet retreats, temp increase, acidification oceans, CO2 as a greenhouse gas, ice age records, ocean levels.

    I am asking how the climate science community (as I have been refered to address here by Bob @21) rates the impact from broad scale deforestation on climate in Australia, thats all. And a personal reply too as I am seeking dialogue.

    It is specific and it relates directly (moderator, yes?) to the post subject which is what I seek to discuss.  

    Yours Sincerely 


  • Ocean acidification isn't serious

    MA Rodger at 21:09 PM on 21 January, 2020

    This has all got a bit shouty in a couple of days. Perhaps to return to the initial question @84. Markoh asks:-

    "The bit I don't get is that all the limestone deposits in the world which is calcium carbonate were produced when the atmospheric CO2 was many times higher than today. So how did all the shellfish create so much shells that it formed huge limestone deposits with the very high atmospheric CO2 back then??"

    I should point out that there is an SkS OP that directly addresses this question (Why were the ancient oceans favorable to marine life when atmospheric carbon dioxide was higher than today?) but perhaps a more succinct answer would be useful here.

    Although limestones apparently predate shellfish, shellfish (or molluscs with mineral shells) date back to the Cambrian period when ocean pH was lower than today (perhaps 7.9pH or as low as the 7.3pH modelled by Ridgwell 2005). It is only in the last 30My that ocean pH was high as today (& atmospheric CO2 as low as today). With rising atmospheric CO2, the ocean pH is now falling (today it has fallen from 8.2pH to 8.1pH) and making the chemistry of shellfish more difficult. Those organisms using high--magnesium chemistry (as opposed to argon- or low magnesium-chemistry) will be especially vulnerable as will organisms who do not calsify their shells 'internally', but all will suffer. The last example of CO2 driving ocean acidification (the PETM 55My ago) saw limestones entirely absent from geological formations.

    However, it is not the ocean pH that is directly the problem. It is the low concentration of calcium ions that makes shell-formation difficult and such concentrations being pushed low by dropping in pH, not by low pH. Thus over most of the last 500 million years, ocean pH was much lower than today and during these times shellfish thrived.

  • Ocean acidification isn't serious

    scaddenp at 10:45 AM on 21 January, 2020

    It is not in dispute that limestone has been laid down when CO2 concentrations are much higher than today (though buffering means that pH was still around 7.5 or higher). See references I supplied further up. It means that organisms have to expend more energy to extrude shell which over long time frames they can adapt to.

    However, the issue today is very rapid change in CO2 which results in acidification proceeding faster than organism can adapt and far, far faster than buffering by weathering can ameliorate pH. The paleo record shows this has been a problem for organisms in the past during such rapid excursions, and worse still, CO2 levels may be climbing far faster than in any known previous acidification events. Look for papers on PETM.

  • Ocean acidification isn't serious

    scaddenp at 06:32 AM on 21 January, 2020

    Markoh, first thing about biological systems and climate is that overall, lifeforms can adapt/evolve to a wide range of conditions. There is no "perfect" climate. What is problematic is rapid change - change that occurs faster than adaption can manage.

    This applies especially to ocean acidification. Over long timescales (>10,000 years), ocean chemistry is roughly buffered by weathering. Some of the ocean chemistry detail in the "OA is not OK" series. For more about the ocean pH through time, see perhaps this paper.

    What the geological record does tell us though is that past rapid ocean acidification events have indeed been a problem. See this recent review especially, chpt 4, "What the past can tell us".

  • Ocean acidification isn't serious

    Eclectic at 21:55 PM on 20 January, 2020

    Markoh @84 , read this thread's OP  (both the basic and intermediate form) for some detailed information.  You will also find much of interest in the subsequent comments.

    The short answer is the combination of acidity & carbonate & bicarbonate balances, with the gradually-evolved capabilities of organisms to produce calcite and/or aragonite structures (bound in organic matrices that are properly suited to the conditions).  The rapidity of change in modern ocean chemistry ~ is the big problem.   The rapidity of change is outstripping the ability of organisms to evolve to meet the new circumstances.   Some organisms do okay, some are adversely affected . . . and the whole ocean ecology worsens (in the "short term" of a few thousand years).   It's not just the shell-forming creatures, but the huge pyramid of fish species etcetera resting on the calcium-users.

    If you are thinking of purely relevance to humans, then the problem is that we have a huge population ~ and where many have a high proportion of marine diet for protein.

    If I may quote from a NOAA fact sheet :-

    "Ocean acidification is an often overlooked consequence of humankind's release of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere from fossil fuel burning.   Excess carbon dioxide enters the ocean and reacts with water to form carbonic acid, which decreases ocean pH ... and lowers carbonate ion concentrations.  Organisms such as corals, clams, oysters, and some plankton use carbonate ions to create their shells and skeletons.  Decreases in carbonate ion concentrations will make it difficult to form hard structures, particularly for juveniles.  Ocean acidification may cause some organisms to die, reproduce less successfully, or leave an area.  Other organisms such as seagrass and some plankton may do better in oceans affected by ocean acidification because they use carbon dioxide to photosynthesize, but do not require carbonate ions to survive.  Ocean ecosystem diversity and ecosystem services may therefore change dramatically from ocean acidification."   

    [my bold]

    The second problem : is that we don't yet have a firm idea of how bad it would all get, for humans as well as the ocean ecology.   And as the saying goes ~ it would foolish to gamble big-time with Planet-A.

    Markoh, I don't know whether you've see it, but there's an old movie "Soylent Green"  [a mixture of very good and very "corny"] . . . classic Sci-Fi . . . set in the "near future"  ~ grossly over-populated world, food shortages, major civil unrest, deteriorating farmlands (with armed guards).  Suicide is almost a patriotic duty.  In one of the final scenes, the hero learns a State Secret : the oceans are dying.

    That concept was an over-dramatic fantasy, for a 1973 movie.  But more worrying, today.

  • Ocean acidification isn't serious

    Markoh at 19:13 PM on 20 January, 2020

    The prediction is that higher atmospheric CO2 will lead to increased ocean acidification from the CO2 forming carbonic acid. And that the higher acidification will interfere with molluscs and crustaceans being able to form hard shells. The shells are fundamentally calcium carbonate CaCO3.

    The bit I don't get is that all the limestone deposits in the world which is calcium carbonate were produced when the atmospheric CO2 was many times higher than today. So how did all the shellfish create so much shells that it formed huge limestone deposits with the very high atmospheric CO2 back then??

  • I had an intense conversation at work today.

    Eclectic at 21:07 PM on 14 January, 2020

    Barryn56 @ #8 , you are hinting that there is some major causation (of our modern global warming) which must be "not CO2" .

    It would be a kind deed if you explained this in detail at once, for it would relieve some of Doug_C 's unhappiness.

    Sure, the rapid warming and ocean acidification etcetera would still be causing considerable biosphere damage . . . but at least Doug_C & other citizens would feel much less of collective guilt.

    Barryn56 , I hope you are not toying with us readers, by going on to suggest Electric Universe effects, or Cosmic Ray effects, or Planet Nibiru effects, or suchlike fantasies.  A genuine scientific explanation is required from you.  And please don't come out with PRATT*  [*Points Refuted a Thousand Times] or other insane nonsenses which surface all too often on the WUWT website.

  • COP25: Key outcomes agreed at the UN climate talks in Madrid

    One Planet Only Forever at 13:12 PM on 18 December, 2019


    The term 'Greenhouse effect' is related to what is being understood to be altered by human activity.

    But everything simply getting warmer by 1.5C degrees or 2.0C or 3.5C or 5.0C is 'not what is happening'.

    What is happening is rapid difficult to deal with changes of: climate, sea level, ocean temperature, ocean acidification, magnitude and extent of glaciers, ...

    Talking about 'Human impacts on The Greenhouse Effect' misses very important concerns, and can even be welcomed by claiming 'A little warmer would be better'.

  • Residence Time and Prof Essenhigh

    MA Rodger at 03:15 AM on 26 August, 2019

    daveburton @35,

    It would be better if you could come up with some support for your advocacy of Spencer's silly model rather than presenting unsupported assertions that it is "correct". All we have otherwise is the 'big ocean' which you say must be thus effectively an infinitely large sink. You tell us "Mankind has increased CO2 level in the atmosphere by about 47%. We've increased carbon content in the oceans by only about 0.4%." (Note Roy doesn't reckon to your 47% figure.)

    If that was correct that the percentage ocean carbon increase has to match the atmospheric percentage increase (which it doen't), that will have massive implications for a whole lot of stuff. (1) The projections of CO2 levels in the RCP scenarios would be massively revised if Spencer's model were anything like reflective of reality. Now I know Spencer denies that CO2 has any sigificant warming impact on the climate but this CO2 model would give him a brilliant second string to his contrarian bow (and how he needs one, as the other ones have proved pretty useless). (2) The implications for ocean acidification are massive and for fresh water it doesn't bear thinking about. (3) The low CO2 levels of the ice ages will have to be entirely re-thought. If atmospheric CO2 levels drop by a third, there would be 13,000Gt(C) being pumped out the oceans and into .... where? Golly, that's a tricky one!!

    Yet (and I note that up-thread I wrongly called it a blog from last year 2018) in the four months since this model was posted (April 2019), I see no reference to it beyond that blog. It didn't even get a posting on the planet Wattsupia (which is a really bad sign!!!) Is Spencer too busy chatting to fellow contrarians at the Heartland Institute (where he seemed to have said nothing about his grand revalation)? So why the silence? My take is that Spencer's model is so embarassing that Spencer hopes it goes away. So, daveburton, you are not helping the reputation of poor old Roy with your insistence that his model is correct (when it patently isn't).

    By the way, that long fat tail may be a lot stumpier than Spencer's model implies. The idea that the oceans are sucking up carbon at a rate constant with the level of atmospheric CO2 above an equilibrium of 295ppm(v) doesn't seem to hold over the period 1958-2010. Rather than a constant level of uptake, the rate has dropped by a half from the start of this period (1959-78) to the end of this period (1991-2010). That isn't exactly constant over centuries as Spencer's model assumes.

    In truth, daveburton, your words do correctly assess Spencer's model when you say "If you start with a physically impossible assumption, you get a physically impossible result." That is exactly what Spencer's silly exercise in curve-fitting has done.

  • Models are unreliable

    Eclectic at 09:02 AM on 10 August, 2019

    Rupisnark , the presence (or absence) of a "gnat", does not somehow abolish the herd of rampaging elephants [melting ice, rising sea-levels, rising temperatures, ocean acidification].

    To continue the metaphor — a policy of ignoring the elephants is exactly the policy which will result in the unnecessary death of millions (mainly the poor) and in unnecessary damage to our world economy.

    Your rhetoric is seriously misplaced.

    And the good Dr Christy is being disingenuous with his audience.  His comments are akin to saying: "Oh, we humans have only changed the atmospheric composition by one part in 10,000 . . . such a tiny figure could surely, surely, surely never alter the climate, eh?"

  • 2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #17

    swampfoxh at 08:56 AM on 30 April, 2019

    When are we going to admit that Animal Agriculture is around 50% of global emissions?.  We go after the fossil fuel industries (which we should) and ignore the elephant in the room.  Animal Ag has been flying under the radar for the last 50 years of climate change discourse.  Animal Ag is primarily responsible for deforestation, desertification, eutrophication of the oceans, significant acidification of the oceans and outsized NOx emissions, wild animal habitat loss, outsized fresh water use, polluted watersheds, untreatable communicable diseases, raising, slaughtering, packing, transportation, storage and even freezers and their associate refrigerant chemicals...not to mention methane emissions.  And it doesn't even end there...those are the bigger ones.  SKS has an evaluation on Animal Ag emissions, but frankly, it doesn't count everything.  The World Bank commissioned WorldWide Watch to take a look at Animal Ag's impact...they came up with 51% about a decade ago.  Animal Ag needs to be revisited and if the numbers WorldWatch came to aren't close, we need a new look by the scientific community... and new action to change the food marketplace from animal products to plants.

  • Earth’s oceans are routinely breaking heat records

    michael sweet at 22:46 PM on 11 March, 2019

    Dr. C,

    Your question is difficult to understand.  You seem to suggest that as the ocean warms, more CO2 will dissolve in it.

    This notion is mistaken.  As the temperature of a liquid increases the solubility of a gas in the liquid decreases.  Specifically, as the temperature of the ocean increases the solubility of gasses in the ocean decreases.

    That means that as the ocean temperature increases it will outgas CO2 and lead to more CO2 in the atmosphere.  Human emissions are so large that this effect is negligible so far.

    An additional problem is that increasing ocean temperatures means less oxygen dissolved in the ocean which kills fish and other organisms.  This effect is significant and parts of the ocean, especially the tropics and the deep ocean, are becoming more depleted in oxygen.

    I have very strong recollections of boiling water in General Chemistry lab to remove the CO2 for use in titrations.  Hot water does not hold gasses.

    The moderator refers to the fact that as the gas pressure increases more gas dissolves in the ocean.  This effect causes much more CO2 to dissolve in the ocean, about 25% of released CO2, and causes increased ocean acidification.  If you do not mind ocean acidification killing all the fish than this effect does reduce air concentrations of CO2.  If humans stopped emitting CO2 today the atmospheric concentration of CO2 would decrease as the deep ocean absorbed more CO2 due to the concentrations effect.

    Does that answser  your question?

  • What's in the Green New Deal? Four key issues to understand

    swampfoxh at 03:50 AM on 3 March, 2019

    TO: nigelj

    Nope, not an animal rights person. I am an organic farmer (plants only and using no animal fertilizer).  I teach a 3 hour course called "Climate Change" Impact of an Outlaw Species" and am always perplexed at how animal agriculture can fly below the radar with respect to its ousized contribution to GGEs.  The deforestation of the Amazon and Indonesia, alone, is enough to raise the worry lines on my forehead, yet many "peer reviewed" studies try to tell us that animal ag is "only 14%-18% of emissions.  This area needs a lot more work.  I suggest we not look at animal ag, the global industry, ...we should proceed from the following:

    "What if there was no animal agriculture (animals owned as property) on planet earth?  What emissions (and other climate problems) would we not have?"  We would not have substantial emissions from deforestation, desertification, eutrophication, acidification of our oceans, outsized fresh water usage along with the environmental costs to move water around, we'd have more suitable and sustainable wild animal and native plant habitat...hugely reduced medical costs from healthier populations, no more raising, feeding, slaughtering, packaging, transporting, refrigerating, waste management (or even kitchen garbage disposers) vastly less pesticides, herbicides, endocrine disruptive artificial homones, antibiotic resistances...and the list of benefits could go on...and on.   

  • What's in the Green New Deal? Four key issues to understand

    swampfoxh at 06:27 AM on 2 March, 2019

    TO: Nigelj

    Yes, a "difficult to prove" set of numbers. Both the UN FAO and the World Bank have a separate set of numbers because they are including a different set of categories.  EPA ignores animal ag's contribution to GGE in the areas of deforestation, desertification, eutrophication of the oceans, acidification of ocean water from animal ag chemicals, etc, etc, fresh water depletion and native species extinctions.  Both of these studies ignore the GGE of slaughterhouses, on site refrigeration, refrigerated transport of market ready animal products and all of the people who's personal GGEs are emitted by being employed in animal ag.  It probably gets worse.  On the other hand, fossils fuels are easy to count because governments know how much we dig up, how much we sell, and how much money, per gallon or MCF, all governments get from producers.  And yes, my population numbers are a little low...seems like I just looked them up a few months ago and they set at 7.3 billion, but by adding more than 177,000 people per day to the planet...don't take very long for things to add up.

    Regards,  and thanks for your continued participation in the dialog.


  • New research, February 4-10, 2019

    RedBaron at 02:33 AM on 23 February, 2019

    @1 nowhearthis,

    Very little in science is absolute. However, yes indeed there are solutions, but to understand this you must go back to basics.

    This problem is not only about emissions. This is a carbon cycle. Trying to fix this by eliminating carbon emissions is tackling the problem with one hand tied behind our backs. It won't work, and several researchers have made the claim we already passed the point where that alone it actually can’t work.[1] There are two sides to this and BOTH must be improved, less emissions and more sequestration.

    You need to go back to basics and rethink what causes Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) to begin with.

    1. We are burning fossil fuels and emitting massive amounts of carbon in the atmosphere as CO2 mostly but also some CH4 and a few other greenhouse gasses.[2]
    2. We have degraded the environmental systems that would normally pull excess CO2 out of the atmosphere.[3][4] (mostly grasslands[5])
    3. By putting more in the atmosphere and removing less, there is no other place for the excess to go but the oceans. They are acidifying due to absorbing just part of the excess.[6] (roughly 1/2)
    4. That still leaves roughly 1/2 of emissions that are building up in the atmosphere and creating an increased greenhouse effect.[7] (from ~280 ppm to 412+ppm CO2)

    So this leads directly to the way we must reverse AGW:

    1. Reduce fossil fuel use by replacing energy needs with as many economically viable renewables as current technology allows. Please note that most current forms of ethanol gas additive are not beneficial because they further degrade the sequestration side of the carbon cycle and take more fossil fuels to produce than they offset.[8]
    2. Change agricultural methods to high yield regenerative models of production made possible by recent biological & agricultural science advancements.[9][10]
    3. Implement large scale ecosystem recovery projects similar to the Loess Plateau project, National Parks like Yellowstone etc. where appropriate and applicable.[11][12][13]
    4. In short we need to reduce carbon in and increase carbon out of the atmosphere to restore balance to the carbon cycle.

    Carbon Cycle

    Currently at our technology and manufacturing capacity today, we have several technologies that can reduce fossil fuel use. Solar, Wind, Hydroelectric, Geothermal, Nuclear, and even Natural gas as a replacement for coal all helps reduce CO2. It would squash economies to 100% absolutely eliminate all fossil fuels and cement emissions, but we can right now, at a profit, with current manufacturing capacity and technology, dramatically reduce fossil fuel emissions of CO2 and CH4.

    So this alone is not enough though. reducing fossil fuel emissions is not a panacea.

    However, there is only one thing we humans do at scale large enough to geoengineer the other side of the carbon cycle, and that is agriculture. We have been doing that poorly for ~5-10 thousand years, but we know how to fix that side of the carbon cycle too. And sure enough, if we first reduce fossil fuel emissions, then change agriculture to these more modern science based organic methods, the two combined is more than enough to yield a net negative carbon footprint at an actual profit. No net cost at all actually.

    Here is the outline of how we can balance the carbon cycle with the new scientific developments in regenerative organic agriculture.

    Can we reverse global warming?


    There is a hold up though. In the energy sector there is a huge misdirection and obfuscation campaign paid for by the fossil fuel companies. A book was written about this called "The merchants of Doubt".

    What is less known is that a similar campaign exists in agriculture to protect the massive agribiz conglomerates dependant on fossil fuel based haber process nitrogen fertilizers made from natural gas, cheap oil to run tractors and fuel grain dryers, centralized refrigerated storage, and thousands of miles long distribution and shipping logistics networks. The whole "Green Revolution" system is massively energy inefficient, as it was designed long ago when fossil fuels were cheap and abundant.[14]

    So the solution is easy actually, although so far no countries politicians have had the balls to tackle this full Monte except the Aussies.[15] No absolutes are needed, just everyone chipping in the best they can bring to the table. And unfortunately, as soon as the Aussies did, the next election cycle the Merchants of Doubt won and it was canceled.

  • 1934 - hottest year on record

    Eclectic at 00:26 AM on 31 January, 2019

    LTO , my comment is a general one :-

    Granted that our knowledge of localized climatic conditions becomes increasingly imperfect as we look backward through the past century (and indeed, past millennium) . . . is there any substantive conclusion (from that truism) which you wish to present to the readers of this thread?

    You make the valid point that there should be better understanding of "statistics and treatment of errors".   But (so far) you have not drawn any substantive conclusion (from that point) regarding the science of modern climate.   Are you trying to show that the mainstream/consensus assessment of AGW is wrong in a major way?   And if so . . . how is it wrong?

    You yourself have indicated ( in #87 , though in a passive way ) that the contrarian scientists who undertook the BEST project did end up in confirming the mainstream science.   Which is also confirmed by the simple physical evidence of melting ice / rising sea level / oceanic acidification / species migration / etcetera.

    And as for "statistics and treament of errors" . . . none of us should forget that the methodology of statistics has the primary purpose of illuminating/assessing scientific "fact" (or more grandly, "truth").   I am sure you would like to agree that statistics ought not to be used to obfuscate, or to persuade the reader toward falsehoods & pseudo-science.   Of course.

  • 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #47

    swampfoxh at 08:57 AM on 27 November, 2018

    Is Animal Agriculture flying below the radar when we look at sources of emissions?  The Assessment focus is on fossil fuels, but when one adds deforestation, desertification, eutrophication, acidification of oceans, wild animal habitat loss, outsized water usage, health related problems and the transportation and medical infrastructure to handle Animal Ag, its product distribution and its suspected negative dietary impacts...not to mention freezers with their refrigerants are, for the most part, to store animal flesh...Animal Ag looks like the largest emitter...??? We know what is in our Animal Ag thread here at SkS.  Does it need another look?

  • Climate science comeback strategies: Al Gore said what?

    prophtch44 at 06:04 AM on 14 November, 2018

    I have been a skeptic for many years.  Not of climate change but the degree of man's role in the change.   That being said I don't think it's wise to whistle past the grave yard.   There are so many pressing problems that need resolution.  For example.  Plastic in our oceans, mono-cropping, acidification of our oceans, and many others just to name a few.  We need to make alternative energy sources affordable to the average consumer.  Most people don't have 35,000 dollars for an electric car or 100k for solar panels.  Practical solutions would dictate that these alternate sources must become more accessable.  

    While I am not alarmed and hysterical about climate change and global warming I am not a gambling person.  We should try to err on the side of caution without going to extremes.  Consider all the outcomes of measures to control climate and will they really work.

    I think it is also important to important to hear all sides of the issue.  So called "concensus" findings is not always scientific.  For over 100 years practically 100% of all scientists believed in "Luminous Aether" .  Even as late as 2002 there were some experiments being done to disprove it's existence.  So don't hedge all your bets on concensus.   All scientific concensus needs is one good repeatable experiment to disprove it or at least cast doubts on a concensus.  

    Keep the discussion open as well as our minds.

  • Republican lawmakers react to the IPCC report – ‘we have scientists’ too!

    wilddouglascounty at 23:20 PM on 18 October, 2018

    I believe that the whole debate has been obscured by terminology, specifically looking at the changing weather patterns and referring to it as climate change--hear me out a bit.  Scientists have a good understanding of the causes that drive the changing weather patterns and increasing severity/frequency of extreme weather events, but when they summarize that dynamic as being “caused” by “climate change,” it confuses many, many people. We need to look at it more like baseball. That's because “climate” is an abstraction, i.e. the averages of actual weather events over time. “Climate” is very analogous to the “batting average” of a baseball player, which is an abstraction created by averaging the numbers of hits and misses the player performs over the baseball season, right? But if the player’s batting average jumps 50 points, from say .250 one season to .300 the next season, we start looking for the reasons. If blood tests show that the player has started using steroids this season, we say that the player’s batting average jump was “caused” by his using steroids because of what we know about the physiological effects of steroids on the human body. It’s not that he doesn’t possess a wide range of skills that got him to the major league in the first place; it just means that those skills were enhanced through the presence of steroids. When he steps up to bat and hits another home run, we say that the home run was “juiced” or likely assisted by his use of steroids. What we DON’T say is that the home run was “caused” by the increase in his batting average.

    But that’s exactly what the media and the scientific community has latched onto saying about the increasing frequency and severity of weather events. In baseball, enhanced performance is clearly understood to be an outcome of steroid use, and not referred to as “batting average change,” which sounds nonsensical and confusing. The scientific community clearly understands the physical role of carbon in the atmosphere and oceans and with great confidence can say that the resulting changed atmospheric and oceanic chemistry is what is driving the more extreme weather events, oceanic acidification and sea level rise. Excess carbon in these system and the resultant changes is “juicing” the atmosphere in the same way that steroids can juice the baseball player’s performance, and if we start saying that Hurricane Michael and Hurricane Florence were carbon-juiced weather events or some such terminology, the public will “get it” and will be more likely to move past the climate change debate and get down to what we’re going to do to get the carbon back into the earth so our weather patterns, sea levels and acidification will gradually return to levels we can live with.

  • There’s one key takeaway from last week’s IPCC report

    Ted Franklin at 11:13 AM on 16 October, 2018

    @Art Vandelay - Geoengineering will certainly be proposed but the schemes that have been the subject of speculation so far are deeply flawed.  Take, for instance, spraying sulfates into the atmosphere to increase the Earth's albedo.  This will do nothing to halt acidification of the oceans.  And whenever the program comes to a halt (as indeed all things come to an end), ia future generation will be doomed to suffer the immediate global warming effect of all the CO2 that has accumulated in the atmosphere while sulfates produced a false sense of security. There is no proven technology to get around the need to stop burning fossil fuels if we wish to limit global temperature anywhere near 1.5 degrees C.  This report is the first IPCC report to consider a pathway that does not depend on the BECSS technogy that is not now and may never be economically viable.

  • California plans to show the world how to meet the Paris climate target

    swampfoxh at 03:26 AM on 19 September, 2018

     I think the true impact of Animal Agriculture is closer to 50% of global emissions when you account for desertification, deforestation, eutrophication and acidification of the oceans, wild animal habitat loss, the raising of massive animal feed products and fresh water use by Animal Ag.  Seems to me that California isn't dealing with these issues and other external costs associated with Animal Ag.  Does anyone tracking along with have a scientifically defensible number for Animal Ag's contribution to GGEs?  Is California's 18% defensible?

  • California's response to record wildfires: shift to 100% clean energy

    Doug_C at 03:40 AM on 5 September, 2018

    It's also likely that the massive impactor that hit in the Yucatan region about 65 Mya triggered a dramatic increase in the flow of magma from the Deccan Traps in what is now India also releasing massive amounts of carbon dioxide, resulting in climate change that took out about 70% of species on Earth at that time.

    Asteroid impact, volcanism were one-two punch for dinosaurs


    There's very little doubt left that rapid excursions in atmospheric carbon dioixde are associated with some of the most destructive periods in the Earth's past.

    250 million years ago it was continental scale flood basalts in what is now Siberia that drove atmospheric CO2 levels rapidly up in pulses that caused climate change that eventually killed almost life in the oceans and most terrestrial life.

    65 Mya an impactor hit what is now Yucatan and would have rung the entire planet like a bell. 11 on the Richter scale at the site of impact and 8-9 everywhere else on Earth. The Deccan Traps probably experienced an effect similar to soil liquifaction as a result of this massive tremblor, vastly increasing the release of greenhouse gases from this one source.

    All the evidence says to be very careful when it comes to rpaid changes in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide and climate change. Especially when it comes to the impacts on the oceans.

    Where currently almost all the heat is going that is being downloaded from the atmosphere from the addition of hundreds of billions of tons of CO2 from human activities.

    Ocean Heat Content And The Importance Of The Deep Ocean

    And where all that additional CO2 has already resulted in a rapid acidification of the oceans which is hitting the web of life there right at its base.

    Ocean acidification may cause dramatic changes to phytoplankton



    Most of the official responses from policy makers worldwide seem extremely lukewarm compared to the magnitude of negative changes that have already occured with far more to come as it will take decades for the Earth to come back into a radiative balance with the CO2 we have already emitted due to the lag created by the vast thermal capacity of the oceans.

    We're relying on the lungs of the Earth to buffer us from a rapid warming of the Earth's surface and to absorb massive amounts of CO2 we emit constantly.

    And these factors have already altered the most important natural system on Earth in ways that are troubling to say the least.

    A dramatic change in policy in California needs to be followed by a dramatic change in policy everywhere that does reflect the existential nature of this process.

  • California's response to record wildfires: shift to 100% clean energy

    Doug_C at 02:49 AM on 5 September, 2018

    Bob Hoye @8

    Alarming new study makes today’s climate change more comparable to Earth’s worst mass extinction


    "In “High-precision timeline for Earth’s most severe extinction,” published in PNAS on February 10, authors Seth Burgess, Samuel Bowring, and Shu-zhong Shen employed new dating techniques on Permian-Triassic rocks in China, bringing unprecedented precision to our understanding of the event. They have dramatically shortened the timeframe for the initial carbon emissions that triggered the mass extinction from roughly 150,000 years to between 2,100 and 18,800 years. This new timeframe is crucial because it brings the timescale of the Permian Extinction event’s carbon emissions shorter by two orders of magnitude, into the ballpark of human emission rates for the first time.

    How does this relate to today’s global warming?

    Climate and CO2 have changed hand-in-hand through most of geological time. Mostly these changes happened slowly enough that the long-term feedbacks of Earth’s climate system had time to process them. This was true during the orbitally-induced glacial-interglacial cycles in the ice ages. In warmer interglacials, more intense insolation in northern hemisphere summers led to warmer oceans which were in equilibrium with slightly more CO2 in the atmosphere by adjusting their carbonate levels. In glacial times with less intense northern hemisphere summer insolation, the cooler oceans dissolved more CO2, and carbonate levels adjusted accordingly. The changes occurred over gentle timescales of tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years – plenty slow enough for slow feedbacks like the deep oceans and ice sheets to keep pace.

    Rapid carbon belches, such as in the Permian and today, occur within the timeframe of fast feedbacks (surface ocean, water vapor, clouds, dust, biosphere, lapse rate, etc) but before the vast deep ocean reservoir and rock weathering can cut-in to buffer the changes. The carbon overwhelms the surface ocean and biosphere reservoirs so it has nowhere to go but the atmosphere, where it builds up rapidly, creating strong global warming via the greenhouse effect. The surface oceans turn acidic as they become increasingly saturated in CO2. The oceans warm, so sea levels rise. Those symptoms should sound familiar.

    Burgess et al’s paper brings the Permian into line with many other global-warming extinction events, like the Triassic, the Toarcian, the Cretaceous Ocean Anoxic Events, The PETM, and the Columbia River Basalts, whose time frames have been progressively reduced as more sophisticated dating has been applied to them. They all produced the same symptoms as today’s climate change – rapid global warming, ocean acidification, and sea level rises, together with oxygen-less ocean dead zones and extinctions. They were all (possibly excluding the PETM - see below) triggered by rare volcanic outpourings called “Large Igneous Provinces,” (LIPs) that emitted massive volumes of CO2 and methane at rates comparable to today’s emissions. The PETM may also have been triggered by a LIP, although that is still debated.

    Can we seriously expect Earth’s climate to behave differently today than it did at all those times in the past?"

    Even if this is a 1 in 1000 chance it's an incredibly poor bet to make.

    And as we're experiencing here already, the journey to total catastrophic collapse is not a nice smooth process. It is chaotic and at times very destructive.

    I'm pretty sure that as the oceans go through tipping point after tipping point as we drive them to a state of systemic failure, the impacts in human terms are going to be truly nasty.

    Like the estimated 1 billion people who depend on coral reef systems for their existence right now not having anything to eat in a few decades.

  • California's response to record wildfires: shift to 100% clean energy

    swampfoxh at 01:28 AM on 5 September, 2018

    To Bob Hoye:

    Yup, more CO2 means more O2, but that's not really where the problem lies.  The issues is the mass death of phytoplankton from ocean acidification that prevents these little creatures from making shells to protect themselves against the very sunlight that lets them photosynthesize. 

  • 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #23

    nigelj at 14:08 PM on 11 June, 2018

    The article on economic modelling is persuasive. But do these economic models do a cost benefit analysis over the next 100 years, or do they consider costs over 1000 years, which is the time frame of the most significantly elevated CO2 levels? It would seem to me a 1000 year period of more destructive weather globally would be a pretty massive total cost. I don't think we could limit the studies to just this generation of people (picking up on what OPOF said)

    How would you even put an economic cost on animal species extinctions, loss of habitat, ocean acidification  etc? Yet these are all intuitively negative sorts of consequences.

    I have total respect for people trying to model all this, because its obviousy exceptionally complicated with so many factors to consider. It may be a case of trying to think more widely than economic modelling. There are many reasons to reduce carbon footprints in addition to crude cost factors, we will run out of fossil fuels anyway, etcetera. This is how I rationalise it all.

  • Climate's changed before

    Philippe Chantreau at 09:22 AM on 8 May, 2018

    mkrichew, your theory will have some serious hurdles to overcome in order to fit the present warming. The oceans are net carbon sinks at present, not sources; part of the gigantic amounts of carbon dioxide injected in the atmoshere go into solution in the oceans, and lead to acidification. There is an entire thread devoted to the subject on this site. Furthermore, what would be warming up the oceans in the first place? You'd have to find some seriously exotic source of heat to explain the kind of energy accumulation seen across the planet's oceans, another subject that is explored in SkS threads. Even if there was such a mysterious forcing, oceanic chemistry shows that they are not outgasing any CO2. I don;t feel obligated to link any references considering that all these considerations figure in already existing SkS threads. Use the search engine.

  • 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #15

    Lachlan at 15:44 PM on 19 April, 2018

    Riduana, I wouldn't be too picky about the difference between climate change and global warming.  Both global warming and the predominant changes in climate come from an increase in the heat content near the earth's surface.

    However ocean acidification (which you list as a consequence of global warming) is a substantially different issue.  The main reason for increased acidity is an increase in the amount of CO2 dissolved in it.  That is a consequence of increased CO2 in the atmosphere, and not (primarily) caused by the increased heat content.  It would not happen if there were a sudden rise in CH4 without the rise in CO2, whereas climate change and global warming would.

  • 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #15

    Riduna at 13:00 PM on 17 April, 2018

    Climate Change or Global Warming?

    Dr Sheperd appears to be confused by the terms Global Warming and Climate Change – which are quite different. One term does not describe the other and should not be used in an attempt to do so.

    Global Warming is a term which describes the causes of and extent to which the planet is warming. The effects of that warming include depletion of land based ice, sea level rise, ocean acidification, thermal expansion, and climate change.

    Climate Change is a term which describes the way in which climate changes. They manifest themselves as measurements of the incidence, duration and intensity of climate events involving precipitation, drought, temperature and wind.

  • On climate change, zero-sum thinking doesn't work

    swampfoxh at 01:57 AM on 4 April, 2018

    I would like to get the scientific community to feed back on the impact of Animal Agriculture on the emerging climate crisis.  A recent UN study seemed to fault Animal Agriculture for nearly 50% of global emissions because Animal Ag contributed to desertification, deforestation, eutrophication and acidification of the oceans, wild animal habitat loss, inefficient land use, excessive water usage and health issues affecting over-utilization of medical resources.  While the list didn't end there, it would be good to know what subscribers to this site have to say.  If my request is off topic, please offer a re-direct.  Thank You.

  • How could global warming accelerate if CO2 is 'logarithmic'?

    DPiepgrass at 15:57 PM on 30 March, 2018

    Tminus, that's interesting. I suppose it makes intuitive sense that heat added at the ocean surface would take a long time to leave, because the heat can migrate downward and stay deep for a long time before radiating from the surface eventually. On the other hand, 70-75% of sea level rise is due to ice melting so that's a larger concern. Here too, methane will help ice melt earlier. Clearly methane is a problem, but in this context it's a question of how big the problem is relative to CO2. Since CO2 causes ocean acidification and methane doesn't, on the whole I'm still inclined to think CO2 is much worse. But I'm not opposed to removing the word "much" in "much less serious".

  • Great Barrier Reef is in good shape

    Ping34 at 17:20 PM on 29 March, 2018

    In the article, it mentioned that CO2 dissolves in water and causes ocean acidification. Therefore, the CO2 amount are highly found in both atmosphere and ocean? If so, then GBR is really in big trouble because this is a big synergy caused from both the global warming and ocean acidification. Am I understand correctly?

  • Burning coal may have caused Earth’s worst mass extinction

    nigelj at 06:56 AM on 17 March, 2018

    Aleks @24, thank's for the comments.

    "So, correct statement may be: “Burning coal is a culprit, but not CO2”.

    I doubt that its that simple. It's entirely possible the extinction during the permain was a combination of global warming from CO2 and methane released by a combination of coal burning and very high levels of mass volcanic activity, along with the considerable ash clouds and sulphur oxides and other toxic material released by the coal. We know all the factors are dangerous for life and all could happen simultaneously, so its certainly plausible. The evidence points that way.

    "At first, 2000 ppm is much less than 7000 in Cambrian or 4000 in Devonian period when both terrestrial and marine life was actively developing."

    These high levels of atmospheric CO2 were reasonably constant over very long periods of tens to hundreds of millions of years, so species would adapt easly enough. The problem is a more sudden spike of CO2 that causes global warming over hundreds of years to thousands of years, maybe a few million years, and this is much harder for species to adapt to.

    The Permian event was over a few thousands of years apparently and more important initiated quite suddenly. You can see from the graph in the Peter Ward article, and that other extinctions correlate with spikes in CO2 emissions in his graph.

    "Secondly, the increase of temperature can be explained by the release of heat into the atmosphere during combustion, without resorting to the theory of greenhouse effect."

    I doubt it. Provide a link to an explanation and full calculations.

    "Third, the combustion of coal is accompanied by the release of toxic gases SO2, NOx, and CO that kill living things both directly and through acid rains (SO2 and NOx)."

    Yes but see my comment above. This most probably combined with global warming.

    "Finally, the death of marine organisms is due to acidification of seawater by dissolution of SO2 and NOx and it triggered by H2S."

    CO2 also acidifies oceans. It's perfectly feasible that they all contributed.

    I'm not a chemist, but I wasn't born yesterday.

  • Burning coal may have caused Earth’s worst mass extinction

    aleks at 01:36 AM on 17 March, 2018

    Yes, I was wrong about the burning of coal, as I was guided by “”. The “secret” value of CO2 level in the period under review was found in Wikipedia article “Permian-Triassic extinction event”. This value is of 2000 ppm and rise in temperature is of 8oC (original source is not in open access).
    So, correct statement may be: “Burning coal is a culprit, but not CO2”.
    At first, 2000 ppm is much less than 7000 in Cambrian or 4000 in Devonian period when both terrestrial and marine life was actively developing.
    Secondly, the increase of temperature can be explained by the release of heat into the atmosphere during combustion, without resorting to the theory of greenhouse effect.
    Third, the combustion of coal is accompanied by the release of toxic gases SO2, NOx, and CO that kill living things both directly and through acid rains (SO2 and NOx).
    Finally, the death of marine organisms is due to acidification of seawater by dissolution of SO2 and NOx and it triggered by H2S.

  • 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    BaerbelW at 05:04 AM on 28 February, 2018

    NorrisM @ 160 & 164 is a website dedicated to just this particular and worrying issue. It has lots of graphics and articles to explore.

  • 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    NorrisM at 02:09 AM on 28 February, 2018

    Bob Loblaw @ 161 & 163

    Thanks for the reference re ocean acidification. 

    As for the studies, I printed the 50 page assessment of the IPCC that I read which is at home so I will defer trying to locate the information now.  My wife is not impressed with how much time I am spending on my notebook so I do have to watch my time spent.  Clearly I have not read everything published by the IPCC but what I did read was the IPCC making the statements that I have referenced above which obviously took into account everything they had published.  I will locate it when I am home in late March.

  • 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    Bob Loblaw at 12:30 PM on 27 February, 2018

    NorrisM @ 160:

    There is a good but lengthy series of posts on ocean acidification at SkS. The last post in the series (with links to all other parts), is here:

  • 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    NorrisM at 10:59 AM on 27 February, 2018

    michael sweet @ 153

    I have to say that what troubles me most about what is happening with climate change is the increasing acidification of our oceans and the potential loss of our coral and the implications this has for our oceans and the living organisms in it.  Maybe this is how you get to "conservatives".

    There is no way to fix this by spending money later.  I personally do not see the nation states of this world coming together.  If they cannot even clean up the plastic in the oceans, then what hope is there for the coral?  I am not very conversant on this.  Is there a thread on this website which deals with the loss of coral and ocean acidification?

  • Natural gas killed coal – now renewables and batteries are taking over

    Conradin sakison at 03:33 AM on 13 February, 2018

    I'm sorry to have to write this, folks, but the problem is not the annual rate of CO2 emissions. It is the accumulated sum of all CO2 emissions since Watt perfected the steam engine, or since people started using coal to keep warm in winter.
    So a global switch from coal to something that cuts the emissions rate in half (presuming that the methane released does NOT wipe out the improvement) only reduces by half the rate at which the problem is worsening.
    The fact that gas turbine backup is essential nearly everywhere that the wind and solar "renewables" are installed, explains why Germany's Energiewende has predictably failed to improve Germany's CO2 emissions. The worst part of it, unless you have a financial interest in fossil carbon, was the choice of nuclear power to be replaced.

    The logic of Industrial Oceanic Warming and Acidification demands that  as soon as possible, we reduce the role of fossil carbon to that of horse-drawn carriages, and then find a way to recapture the carbon dioxide from the seas and the air.
    Dr. Alex Cannara, in a presentation about Ocean Acidification , goes into this topic.

  • Climate change is increasing flood risks in Europe

    jclairea at 01:42 AM on 10 February, 2018

    @nigelj, I really enjoyed your “rough guesstimate simplified calculation,” for it was very helpful to understand the weight of climate costs through your comparison of these costs to global GDP. As climate patterns continue to become more obscure, I reckon we will see even greater costs associated with the inevitably stronger and more frequent storms, droughts, spurts of desertification, ocean acidification and warming, and increased habitat loss. We are at a pivotal point where turning to mitigation strategies appears like an appropriate next step, but it may not be enough, and to your point, climate change costs certainly outweigh those associated with mitigation. According to, 80% of our planet’s fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground in order for us to stay below two degrees Celsius of warming. In order for this to occur, the shift to renewable energy must be of utmost priority for nations around the globe, notably the most industrialized and populated. While mitigation techniques offer quick, temporary relief, they are still acting upon the fundamentally destructive, problematic system we have in place. I believe that we must work to absolutely transform the structure of our society from one of capitalist industry to that characterized by virtues of ecological reciprocity and stewardship, if we wish for real change to occur!

  • Ocean acidification isn't serious

    John Hartz at 11:54 AM on 31 January, 2018

    Recommended supplemental reading:

    Scientists Pinpoint How Ocean Acidification Weakens Coral Skeletons, News Release, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Jan 29, 2018

  • Scott Pruitt insincerely asked what's Earth's ideal temperature. Scientists answer

    SingletonEngineer at 23:24 PM on 20 January, 2018

    @ Bozza:

    I understand that Australia is no newcomer to malaria, having eliminated it in the Top End during and after WWII (DDT??).  There is no reason to forget that the disease's name comes from the Latin or Italian, meaning "bad air".  Europe eliminated malaria only recently.

    Malaria is no joking matter, however the above demonstrates that it is probably manageable.  One emerging tool is vaccine, currently being developed in several promising research establishments in Australia and elsewhere.

    Other effects of climate change, such as sea level rise and ocean acidification, may not be so accommodating.

  • Ocean acidification isn't serious

    michael sweet at 04:53 AM on 14 January, 2018

    Tom Dayton,

    Aleks posted a bunch of nonsense on ocean acidification in November, 2017.  There are a few posts from him here on the OA is not OK series you referenced.  Aleks does not understand ocean carbonate chemistry and cannot understand chemistry when it is explained to him.

  • Ocean acidification isn't serious

    Michael Schroeder at 01:37 AM on 29 December, 2017

    A question on ocean acidification from a non-scientist historian who's abidingly concerned about anthropogenic global climate disruption (and teaches freshman college students about this stuff in a first-year seminar on "People & the Planet" at a small liberal arts school in Central PA): 

    I'm reviewing climate change denialist Gregory Wrightstone's book, "Inconvenient Facts" (2017), and I'm a bit puzzled by one of his assertions.  On p. 110 he writes: 

    "During the Cambrian, Ordovician and Silurian periods of the early Paleozoic era (543-416 million years ago), CO2 usually exceeded 4,000 ppm, reaching a maximum of nearly 8,000 ppm in the Cambrian period.  The later was ~20 times today's concentration.  When we compare CO2 levels to the rock record from the author's home turf in the Appalachian Basin of the eastern United States, we find that most of these CO2-enriched periods were dominated by limestone deposition.  Limestone deposition could not have occurred had the oceans been 'acidified'.  Most of the limestone was deposited during the periods of highest CO2 concentrations." 

    Thanks to this website and the references in this comments section, I've been able to find ample evidence discounting most all of Wrightstone's other assertions on ocean acidification, but this one has me puzzled.  How were marine organisms able to make hard shells, and deposit massive amounts of limestone, when atmospheric CO2 (and oceanic carbonic acid levels) were so high?  It's my understanding that when atmospheric CO2 reaches ~550 ppm, CO2 absorption by the oceans & the spike in oceanic carbonic acid levels renders marine animals incapable of forming hard shells.  So how were these huge limestone deposits created when atmospheric CO2 levels (and oceanic carbonic acid levels) were so high?

    Thanks in advance for helping me (and my students) understand the science involved here.

  • OA not OK part 20: SUMMARY 2/2

    aleks at 11:45 AM on 29 November, 2017

    Michael sweet @76, @77
    I did not accept that “not enough NO2 and SO2 are emitted to affect ocean pH”. In any case, the effect of these gases on pH will be much greater than of CO2. Great emission of SO2 during industrial revolution is shown in MA Rodger's post #23 here:
    “The Pacific Ocean water is lower in pH because it is older than the Atlantic ocean. One time more CO2 has dissolved lowering the pH in the Pacific ocean”. This explanation contradicts not only the fact that CO2 concentration in the surface layer is approximately the same, but also the elementary logic. CO2 in seawater is in dynamic equilibrium with CO2 in the atmosphere. Partial pressure of CO2 and water surface temperature increased and decreased countless times, so it's impossible to suggest that many millions of years enhanced concentration of CO2 in Pacific left unchanged.
    @77. About “dry wall plant”. You said before that this object is made from the material extracted from the scrubber after absorption of gas emission from the coal power plant. I'd like to recall that the absorbent in this case is Ca(OH)2 that reacts not only with SO2, but with CO2 that is the main component of emitted gases, hence, scrubber material consists mainly of CaCO3. This issue is relevant to our main problem, since it is about whether scrubbing can eliminate SO2 and NO2 emissions into atmosphere. Evidently, it can not, because this process is expensive, time and labor consuming and leads to a huge amount of solid waste. Therefore, emissions of acid gases into the atmosphere do not stop, especially in China, India which consume more than half the world's coal production.
    I will not discuss your assertion about complete dissociation of H2CO3 in alkaline buffer solution based on “a reference from expert”. There is no specific calculation – there is no discussion. Let's consider real values of CO2 in seawater (table 1.2, p.24) in the work I cited before: The concentrations of carbon containing species in seawater are (micromole /kg): bicarbonate 1718, carbonate 239, dissolved carbon dioxide 9.6. Even assuming that all CO2 converts to H2CO3 and it dissociates completely, amount of [H+] from CO2 is less than from 1mg NO2 converted to HNO3 (~22 micromole [H+]).

  • What do Jellyfish teach us about climate change?

    nigelj at 06:37 AM on 26 November, 2017

    Aleks, Michael Sweet, this published research appears to be what is very relevant. 

    "Impact of anthropogenic atmospheric nitrogen and sulfur deposition on ocean acidification and the inorganic carbon system"

    Scott C. Doney,*† Natalie Mahowald,‡ Ivan Lima,* Richard A. Feely,§ Fred T. Mackenzie,¶ Jean-Francois Lamarque,‖ and Phil J. Rasch‡

    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Sep 11; 104(37): 14580–14585.
    Published online 2007 Sep 5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0702218104
    PMCID: PMC1965482
    Environmental Sciences, Sustainability Science, Environmental Sciences


    On a global scale, the alterations in surface water chemistry from anthropogenic nitrogen and sulfur deposition are only a few percent of the ocean acidification and Δ[DIC] increases expected from the oceanic uptake of anthropogenic CO2. However, impacts on seawater chemistry can be much more substantial in coastal waters, on the order of 10–50% or more of the anthropogenic CO2-driven changes near the major source regions and in marginal seas.

  • What do Jellyfish teach us about climate change?

    aleks at 03:57 AM on 24 November, 2017

    I apologize to the other opponents, but so far I'll only reply michael sweet (@15 and @24).

    @15. "Scientific consensus is that CO2 is causes ocean acidification". The correctness of the scientific theory is determined not by voting, but by how it corresponds to the facts. Your assertion that SO2 from coal burning power plants absorbs in scrubbers refers to particular cases and is refuted by the data given in @23 (thanks MA Rodger for interesting information). I'll only add that not only SO2 and NO2 are absorbed in scrubbers, but first of all CO2 (absorbent Ca(OH)2). That's why "dry wall plant" you saw is built not from CaSO4, but from CaCO3 with impurities of CaSO3, Ca SO4, Ca(NO2)2, and Ca(NO3)2. It's not a good building material.

    @24. "The actual value of the mmol of H+ ions formed from 34 mmol of CO2 is about 37 mmol". This is possible only if H2CO3 dissociates completely (??) as a monopritic acid and partly as a diprotic acid. It contradicts the facts established in chemistry.

  • Ocean acidification isn't serious

    John Hartz at 01:41 AM on 23 November, 2017

    [JH] Recommended supplemental reading:

    Ocean acidification: climate change's evil twin by Lars Bevanger, Deutsche Welle (DW), Nov 21, 2017

  • What do Jellyfish teach us about climate change?

    michael sweet at 09:03 AM on 21 November, 2017


    On doing background reading on the topic of CO2 and ocean acidification I found this reference.  It appears to be classroom material written by someone who does research in this area.  

    It states:

    "At typical surface seawater pH of 8.2, the speciation between [CO2], [HCO3−], and [CO3 2−] is 0.5%, 89%, and 10.5%,"

    Looking back at your calculation at 9, you claim that 34 mmol of CO2 would yield 0.12 mmol of H+ ions.  At 19 you state that the .12 mmol is 30 times too high.

    The actual value of the mmol of H+ ions formed from 34 mmol of CO2 is about 37 mmol.  The calculations you base your argument on are off by approximately a factor of 9,000 or four orders of magnitude. 

    It appears that you used the properties of distilled water for your calculation and not the properties of the ocean.  Since we are discussing Ocean Acidification, you must use a pH of 8.2 in your calculation.  

    You have botched the calculation.  When done correctly it is clear that CO2 is the primary contributor.  We do not even have to consider that NO2 and SO2 are removed by the environment.  You would not receive a passing grade in my AP Chemistry class for this work. 

    When I tried to Google the contribution of NO2 and SO2 to ocean acidification I was unable to find any information, even in frequently asked questions.  The contribution of these ions must be insignificant or I would have found it.  You have provided no links to support your wild claims.

    Scientists have shown that your agument is based on flawed calculations and has no merit.

  • What do Jellyfish teach us about climate change?

    Philippe Chantreau at 04:57 AM on 19 November, 2017

    I think that NO2 in the ocean is unlikely to contribute significantly to acidification. NO2 is a difficult nutrient to obtain, and is likely to be consumed immediately. Pelagi Bacter Ubique, possibly the most abundant species of all, favors base pairs A-T because they require less nitrogen. The daily struggle for nitrogen defines the entire life of an immense number of marine organisms. 

  • What do Jellyfish teach us about climate change?

    michael sweet at 04:53 AM on 19 November, 2017


    Everyone who keeps an aquarium is familiar with the nitrogen cycle in water which converts ammonia into nitrogen gas via nitrate ion: NH3-->NO2- --> NO3- --> N2.  Sulfate SO4- also has a natural cycle.  You can easily Google this information.  It is not my job to look up commmon knowledge for you. 

    Harvards "superbug" is unable to convert all the CO2 in the atmosphere to energy as demonstrated by the Keeling curve's yearly increase.  This is an interesting press release but has no bearing on our conversation.

    You have made the assertion that NO2 and SO2 gas contribute to ocean acidification.  You have been refered to posts containing extensive literature citations that show the scientific consensus is that CO2 is causes ocean acidification. 

    Since you are making the claim that scienitsts are incorrect, it is your responsibility to provide data to support your claims.  Seat of the pants arguments unsupported by data or expertise do not count on this site.  It is not my responsibility to summarize the OA is not OK series for you here because you have not bothered to read it yet.

    I have a masters degree in Chemistry and have taught college level chemistry for the past ten years.  I am unimpressed by your claims of novel calculations.  Keep in mind that the chemists who did the experiments described in the OA is not OK series know much more about the acid/base buffer systems in the ocean than either you or I.  They know that the Ka of sulfuric acid is greater than the Ka of carbonic acid.   

    Your naive calculation of relative masses of emitted gasses from an unscrubbed smokestack does not convince anyone familiar with the chemistry.  Today I drove past a coal burning power plant.  There is a dry wall plant built next door that uses the calcium sulfate from the scrubber to make their dry wall.  How much did that sulfer contribute to ocean acidification compared to the CO2 they vented into the atmosphere?  While I drove my car emitted CO2 but no NO2 or SO2.  So much for your calculation.

  • What do Jellyfish teach us about climate change?

    MA Rodger at 02:34 AM on 19 November, 2017

    aleks @13.

    While you are correct when you say "small amounts of SO2 and NO2 produce in water solution more acid than large amout(s) of CO2," is this relevant to the proverbial price of cheese if there are increasingly "large amount(s) of CO2" within today's oceans that are significantly increasing ocean acidity, while there is not a sign of even the beginings of the "amounts of SO2 and NO2" you talk of. Maybe I have missed something, but you do appear to be talking drivel. Oceans are suffering acidification (more +H) and the cause is indisputably due to rising atmospheric levels of CO2.

  • “Toasted, roasted and grilled” or already over the hump?

    One Planet Only Forever at 12:36 PM on 15 November, 2017

    Digby Scorgie@13,

    The complication I see is that the environmental systems are constantly trying to rebalance. So there is a time lag between the changes of the rates of human impacts and the corresponding changes of the Keeling curve.

    If human impacts remained constant for an extended, but reasonably short, period of time then the rate of increase of CO2 should also be constant. The complication is that a warmer ocean will likely absorb less CO2. As the constant rate of human impacts goes longer then the rate of CO2 ppm change will increase. Because of the increasing urgency of action to curtail these human impacts, increasing every year that the CO2 level increases, hopefully there will not be a long period of steady significant human impacts.

    If human impacts are declining then the rate of increase of CO2 would also be declining.

    The constant efforts of the environment to rebalance means that a small but constant amount of human impacts would result in a flat/steady CO2 level in the atmosphere, but the acidification of the oceans would be continuing to happen.

    Once human activity impacts are reduced to zero impact on CO2 in the atmosphere the rebalancing/adjustment mechanisms described in Phase 1, 2 and 3 in Box 6.1 of the IPCC report would result in a reduction of CO2 in the atmosphere, but to a level significantly higher than the 280 ppm starting point.

  • What do Jellyfish teach us about climate change?

    nigelj at 11:22 AM on 14 November, 2017

    Aleks @6,  sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are not causing ocean acidification because concentrations are massively lower than carbon dioxide as below.

  • What do Jellyfish teach us about climate change?

    nigelj at 12:30 PM on 10 November, 2017

    Aleks says ocean acidification from CO2 is "insignificant". The following is from NOAA:

    "Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the pH of surface ocean waters has fallen by 0.1 pH units. Since the pH scale, like the Richter scale, is logarithmic, this change represents approximately a 30 percent increase in acidity. Future predictions indicate that the oceans will continue to absorb carbon dioxide and become even more acidic. Estimates of future carbon dioxide levels, based on business as usual emission scenarios, indicate that by the end of this century the surface waters of the ocean could be nearly 150 percent more acidic, resulting in a pH that the oceans haven’t experienced for more than 20 million years."

    Doesnt look very "insignificant" to me. Ph change also differs from Aleks calculation.

    The article has information on impacts currently on sea life including pteropods, coral, shellfish etc,  and also projected impacts. None of it looks "insignificant". Also detail on data collection etc.

    Relatively small changes can often have large repercussions. We see this as a constant feature in natural world and also technology.

  • What do Jellyfish teach us about climate change?

    michael sweet at 10:19 AM on 10 November, 2017


    From the preface of your reference:

    "Ocean acidification is an undisputed fact. The ocean presently takes up one-fourth of the carbon CO2 emitted to the atmosphere from human activities. As this CO2 dissolves in the surface ocean, it reacts with seawater to form carbonic acid, increasing ocean acidity and shifting the partitioning of inorganic carbon species towards increased CO2 and dissolved inorganic carbon, and decreased concentration of carbonate ion. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the 18th century, surface-ocean acidity has gone up by 30%. The current increase in ocean acidity is a hundred times faster than any previous natural change that has occurred over the last many millions of years. In the case of unabated CO2 emissions the level of ocean acidity will increase to three times the preindustrial level by the end of this century." (my emphasis)

    Chemists who actually work in this field think that ocean acidification is an important problem.  Your assertions are not scientificly based.  Next time try to find a reference that supports your position.

  • What do Jellyfish teach us about climate change?

    aleks at 08:19 AM on 10 November, 2017

    As a chemist, I'd like to comment the author's statement: "As humans emit more greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, in particular) into the atmosphere, the chemistry of ocean change". At first, it's necessary to clarify that in IPCC list of greenhouse gases only CO2 can dissolve in water and change its acidity (not CH4, N2O, CFCs, etc.). So, the question is: how can the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere to impact on the ocean acidity?

    Simple calculations based on Henry constant for CO2 in pure water and H2CO3 dissociation constant show that change in CO2 partial pressure from 0.0003 to 0.0004 atm (that takes place in last 100 - 150 years) will decrease pH by 0.06. Indeed, this difference will be negligibly small because the solubility CO2 in saline water is less than in pure water, and ocean water contains carbonate-hydrocarbonate and boric acid-borate buffer systems. The composition of ocean water and its acidity are examined in detail in the comprehensive work of the Europen Comission

    Estimation of pH in this work (p.26) gives the value of 8.1 (not acidic!). Of course, the local temporary acidification of ocean is possible, but it is caused not by CO2, but by SO2 and NO2 that are much more acidic than CO2.

  • SkS Analogy 10 - Bathtubs and Budgets

    Evan at 04:10 AM on 23 October, 2017

    aleks@33 Yes, H2O is a primary combustion product together with CO2. For "clean fuels" such as CH4, twice as much H2O is emitted as CO2. But the excess H2O just falls out of the system as precipitation. So the only increase of the steady-state H2O concentration is through the Clausius-Clapeyron equation, and is not due to direct emission of H2O. That is, the only way that the steady-state concentration of H2O can increase is if there is an increase of temperature first. Direct emissions of H2O do nothing to inrease to increase steady-state concentrations of H2O.

    Regarding uptake of CO2 doubling, I am not an expert in this area, but this number does not surprise me, and it does not make me feel better. Consider that for about 10,000 years during the Holocene that background CO2 concentrations were about 280 ppm. The fact that the concentration was stable means that sources and sinks were in equilibrium. Then comes the industrial revolution and we start to ramp up CO2. By the late 1960's the CO2 concetration had increased to about 325 ppm. This is an increase of 45 ppm above the steady-state value during the Holocene. The result is that the earth starts to absorb more CO2 to draw down the concentration and to try to restore balance. Now we are at about 405 ppm, or about 125 ppm above preindustrial, and about 3 times higher than the 45 ppm inbalance representative of the late 1960's. So it is not surprising that the rate of sequestration has doubled in the last 50 years, because the increase above preindustrial has tripled. Far from making us feel better, the fact that we are dumping such huge levels of carbon into the natural system represents a deviation from the steady-state balance we had for 10,000 years, and such a dramatic departure should make us worry about what effect this will have. Such as ocean acidification. We know some of the good benefits, but we may yet discover that there are other not-so-good effects lurking in the dark.

  • SkS Analogy 10 - Bathtubs and Budgets

    Evan at 09:29 AM on 14 October, 2017

    Fox news tends to down play the risks of global warming, ocean acidification, and climate change. However, here is a quote from Fox news.

    "Rising sea levels caused by climate change is expected to exacerbate storm surge flooding."

  • SkS Analogy 10 - Bathtubs and Budgets

    RedBaron at 08:52 AM on 14 October, 2017

    cjones @10

    You got caught in the merchant of doubt minefield. I get it. They can be sneaky and have fooled many. But be sure that while yes indeed from time to time CO2 levels have been higher, it was certainly not a good thing. Actually it is associated with several mass extinctions.

    The logic fallacy of the merchants of doubt fallacy goes a little like this: CO2 was higher in the past, and life thrived in the past, so current higher CO2 levels will make life thrive even more.

    The problem is we also had many mass extinction events in the past too. And sure enough if we look closely at the fossil record, we find that the mass extinctions mostly happened either directly or indirectly from this high CO2 levels when they went on runaway feedbacks for various reasons.

    The evidence is pretty clear actually, although still debated and not certain, it is pretty likely. Far more likely than runaway CO2 being a good thing.

    Great Dying 252 million years ago coincided with CO2 build-up

    Timeline of a mass extinction

    Ocean acidification and the Permo-Triassic mass extinction


    and not only the permian extinction. It is actually a common theme in many mass extinction events.

    Doubling Of CO2 Levels In End-Triassic Extinction Killed Off Three Quarters Of Land And Sea Species


    CO2 levels and mass extinction events

  • Ocean acidification

    RedBaron at 02:03 AM on 23 September, 2017

    Great idea. We already have one. It’s called C4 perennial grasses in symbiosis with AMF. [1]

    C4 carbon fixation - Wikipedia

    C4 metabolism originated when grasses migrated from the shady forest undercanopy to more open environments,[2] where the high sunlight gave it an advantage over the C3 pathway. [3]

    … Today, C4 plants represent about 5% of Earth's plant biomass and 3% of its known plant species.[4][5] Despite this scarcity, they account for about 23% of terrestrial carbon fixation.[6][7] Increasing the proportion of C4 plants on earth could assist biosequestration of CO2 and represent an important climate change avoidance strategy.

    Glomalin is Key to Locking up Soil Carbon

    Of course that “scrubber machine” while capable of cooling the planet: Cenozoic Expansion of Grasslands and Climatic Cooling is currently plowed, herbicided, burned, overgrazed, undergrazed, eroded, paved over and otherwise molested to the point that it basically no longer works very well. This means approximately 1/2 of emissions goes into the oceans and that's why we have ocean acidification. If we put that back in the soil where it belongs, then we solve both problems at once. Two birds with one stone. (actually a whole flock of birds but that is for a different thread)

  • 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #26

    Gingerbaker at 11:44 AM on 4 July, 2017

    Michael Sweet

    The link study addresses many of the issues listed in your review paper. 1 Kg olivine sequesters 1.25 kg Co2.  When ground up into powder, it works very fast, and also produces carbonate which will address ocean acidification. To sequester 1 year's worth of our current CO2 emissions, it would require 7 cubic kilometers worth of stone.  This would be a large operation - making olivine the 3rd largest mining product.  It would cost $250 billion a year.

    We would obviously need to stop burning carbon.  But this would be a relatively inexpensive way to reduce atmospheric CO2 levels quickly.  Quite a bargain, really.

  • It's not bad

    Eclectic at 01:25 AM on 3 July, 2017

    Banbrotam @375 , you seem to be applying selective vision to the situation.

    First, you should clarify to readers (and to yourself) how much precisely of present-day rapid global warming is caused by human activity.  If you hold that rather less than 50% of warming is anthropogenic, then you might well have a point that it would be a struggle to halt or reverse the global warming process.  However, the facts are against you there — in actuality, the human causation is very close to 100% (as you will discover if you educate yourself about the issue).  And therefore your denial of reversibility carries no weight.

    Secondly, what are the "positives" of climate change (i.e. global warming) that you would wish to mention?  Sure, you can point to some small areas, such as southern Patagonia and northern Russia, which would (from a human perspective) benefit from a few degrees of global warming.  But — taken as a whole, the planet would be 95+% worse off.  Especially for the human race in total, and also for most marine life [re temperature for the coral reef systems, and re acidification for much of the rest of the marine biosystem].

    If you stop and think it through, Banbrotam, it will occur to you that the present-day plants and animals have evolved to suit the world temperatures (typified by the climate of approx 100 years ago) of the Holocene period.  And so you would expect major disruption from very rapid rise in global surface temperature — and so you would be hard-put to find any definite "positives" arising from AGW.  And so you would not be surprised that such "positives" [should they exist] are rarely mentioned in discussions.

    Remember too, that the present large size of world human population is already pushing the limits of sustainabilty.  Any small advantages to AGW (e.g. in northern Russia) are enormously outweighed by more general disadvantages — and particularly so in the Tropics.

    Banbrotam, the only real debate that remains, is how to expeditiously tackle climate change.  A scientist (for instance: yourself) will of course realise that denial of reality is not "debate" but is simply slogan shouting [which here on SkS is named sloganeering].

  • Humans are greening the planet, but the implications are complicated

    Eclectic at 21:47 PM on 6 May, 2017

    LinkeLau, like you I would not care to quantify the degree of benefit coming from "increased greening".  However, not many years ago there was a study by agricultural scientists, indicating that another 1 degree rise in AGW would cause a roughly 5% drop in wheat/maize/rice production (per Hectare), and 2 degree rise would cause a 10% reduction.  If so, then this reduction in food for humans would override any benefit from increased leafy food for livestock.

    Alas, I have not managed to re-discover the reference for the study, but IIRC it involved 3 research centres, one of which was in Sri Lanka and one in USA or Europe, and one in Australia I think.

    In trying to quantify things, we must remember that the increased greening of the land would not apply to the 73% percent of the globe which is ocean ( and including Antarctica ).  And probably not apply to a further 3% which is already commited to conventional crops.

    I speculate that there would be no extra sequestration of carbon by seaweeds, since they are already suffering from a surfeit of "available carbon" courtesy of ocean acidification.

    Rainforest would be in the region of 2% [and falling] of global area, and that amount is small and unlikely to be permitted to increase.  So an increased "cloudiness" would likely not occur, to have any effect on cooling through more reflectiveness.

  • Models are unreliable

    Glenn Tamblyn at 14:25 PM on 14 March, 2017


    Although we don't have multiple planets to run experiments on, we do have a long history of climate on this planet. Paleoclimatology is able to estimate climates going back 100's of millions of years. And one recent meta-study put all this together to estimate what climate sensitivity actually was from that history

    Thus graph is adapted from the PALEOSENS study. The study looked at several dozen papers that had estimated climate forcings and sensitivities over various geological ages. It harmonised the methods they had used to produce a common method of estimating sensitivity to a radiative forcing, due to CO2 or anything else. Then John Cook applied the accepted forcing from CO2 - 3.7 W/M2 per doubling of CO2 to get ECS.

    The different periods are LGM - Last Glacial Maximum, 20,000 years ago. Pleistocene/Pliocene - millions of years ago. Miocene/Eocene 10's of millions. PETM (Paleocene/Eocene Thermal Maximum) was a period 55 million years ago where a rapid warming event occurred, The Cretaceous is the end of the age of the Dinosaurs up to 65 million years ago, and the Phanerozoic is the entire period back to 420 million years ago.

    As you can see none of these studies suggest particularly low values for ECS. A few do suggest higher than 3 and there are several outlier studies that John hasn't included that do suggest even higher values.

    To me the Earth has run the experiments for us and these are the results. ECS of less than 2 seems very unlikely.

    A second aspect we learn from paleo studies is about speed. The LGM was probably 5 C colder than now as a global average. The warming (and retreat of the ice sheets) took around 10,000 years. so 0.05C/century. Now temps are rising at of the order of 1 C/century and that might increase. CO2 varied over the same period, rising by around 100 parts per million (ppmv) from 180 to 280. Thats 1 ppm/century. Today CO2 is rising at around 1ppm every 20 weeks.

    During the PETM, temperatures spiked up by around 6 C, a small extinction event happened and an ocean acidification event. A sediment core sample from Svalbard from this period puts the rate of change of CO2 concentrations then at only 1/10th tha pace of today.

    To find a geological period where CO2 concentrations rose probably faster than today we have to go back 252 million years, to the end-Permian Mass Extinction event. A vast volcanic event lasting 10's and possible 100's of 1000's of years in Siberia included periods where CO2 levels may have risen faster than today. The end-Permian event saw 75% of families of species on land go extinct, 96% in the oceans.

    Where changing climate is concerned, 'Speed Kills'.

  • Increasing CO2 has little to no effect

    RenaissanceMan at 22:07 PM on 17 January, 2017

    Incidentally, the profound effect of water vapor on warming is clearly and demonstrably felt on cloudy nights, where water acts as a powerful blanket, warming local temperatures.  The carbon dioxide concentration does not vary remotely as much as humidity, so that on cool, clear nights, the "forcing" argument is out the window, along with heat.

    On a side note, another bogus claim is that "increasing ocean acidification" (sic) results from higher carbon dioxide concentrations dissolving in ocean water.  

    1. The ocean is not "acidic," it is alkaline. In fact, it is 18 times more alkaline than pure water. (The pH scale is logarithmic, and ocean water has a pH of ~8.2)

    2.  Degassification is a primary natural source of carbon dioxide.  It leaves the ocean, rather than dissolving in it.


    “One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. We redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy.” – Ottmar Edenhofer, who co-chaired the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change working group on Mitigation of Climate Change from 2008 to 2015

  • Trump questionnaire recalls dark history of ideology-driven science

    denisaf at 08:35 AM on 23 December, 2016

    Whilst these decision moves by the Trump's are disturbing, they will not influence the continuing rapid, irreversible climate disruption and ocean pollution, warming and acidification. There is little moderation than can be done to so the emphaisis should be on adapting to the inevitable consequences of sea level rise and more storms, wildfires, floods, droughts and other dleterious events.

  • Ocean acidification isn't serious

    Tom Curtis at 10:55 AM on 22 December, 2016

    Andrew1776 @67 cites Rahman and Shingjo (2011) as stating that "... the rate limiting step of coral mineralization is CO2(aq) + H2O CaCO".  

    With regard to that claim, it should first be noted that what is produced by Andrew1776 is not a valid chemical formula, something somebody with his claimed expertise should know.  The correct formulas are:

    1. CO2(g) ↔ CO2(aq)

    2. CO2(aq) + H20 ↔ H2CO3

    3. H2CO3 ↔ H++ HCO3-

    4. HCO3- ↔ H++ CO32-

    5. Ca2+ + CO32- → CaCO3

    Equation (2) represents the rate limiting equation, but that is not the whole story.  It is equation (5) that represents the production of calcium carbonate.  The crucial compound whose abundance controls the final rate of production of CaCO3 is CO32-.  The ratio of the various reaction components in equations (2) through to (4) is determined by, among other things, the acidity of the water.  It is shown on this graph (note the logarithmic scale):

    You will notice that with the expected decrease in pH by the end of this century wiht BAU, the proportion of CO32- falls by more than 50%. That is just the ratio to the other compounds, of course, and as Andrew1776 is keen to point out, CO2(aq) will rise, and the relative amount of the other compounds with it.  In fact, with business as usual, it will approximately double:


    The net effect is that the absolute quantity of CO32- will fall, and with it the rate of calcification.  That is in addition to any direct adverse effects from acidification. 

  • Ocean acidification isn't serious

    Eclectic at 16:27 PM on 21 December, 2016

    Andrew1776 @70 and prior posts (including recently in other threads) ,

    you fail to recognize or acknowledge that land-based and sea-based life forms have diverged in their evolution for 100's of millions of years (regarding body chemistry).  In your passionate desire for marine creatures to make a problem-free transition to a low pH (or high phlogiston) condition in an eye-blink of evolutionary time, you are (it seems) indulging in wishful thinking of the most unrealistic kind.

    In short, your revolutionary and idiosyncratic idea of an unproblematic abrupt change in physiological conditions , is an idea which comes several hundred million years too late.

    Please remember that we a playing for high stakes - and the rapid "unnatural" acidification is a matter involving the entire planetary ocean : not a micro-experiment on a saline gallon or two in a kitchen sink.   The high stakes require an intelligent risk-management approach to the situation, don't you agree?

    An approach based on extensive biological knowledge, rather than on poorly-informed caprice.

  • From the eMail Bag: CO2 in the air and oceans

    barneyfife303 at 03:21 AM on 7 December, 2016

    How does the Ocean fight acidification? 

  • Trump or NASA – who's really politicising climate science?

    denisaf at 14:59 PM on 1 December, 2016

    This is an interesting discussion of the perception by a range of communities of the likelihood of climate change. But it is misleading as it focusses on the variation of perception rather than on the fact that the overwhelming view, especially amongst those knowledgeable of the scientific backing, is that rapid, irreversible climate change (and ocean acidification and warming) is under way. So the article adds to the confusion rather than fostering the mitgration and amelioration that the precautionary principle ordains

  • Explainer: Paris Agreement on climate change to ‘enter into force’

    raindog at 11:50 AM on 17 October, 2016

    scaddenp#6 I think that there is significant consensis among researchers (and, perhaps, even policy makers — "By all accounts, countries have acted with remarkable haste in ratifying the Paris Agreement") that, even if we are able to limit warming to 2°C (which seems unlikely), we have already triggered significant "positive feedback" conditions (such as Arctic melting, releases of methane, acidification of the ocean, extinction of other species, etc.) that will contribute to climate change in a sort of snowball effect that cannot be controlled or reversed.

    [Gavin Schmidt, director of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies]... is the highest-profile scientist to effectively write-off the 1.5C target, which was adopted at December’s UN summit after heavy lobbying from island nations that risk being inundated by rising seas if temperatures exceed this level. Recent research found that just five more years of carbon dioxide emissions at current levels will virtually wipe out any chance of restraining temperatures to a 1.5C increase and avoid runaway climate change. (

    It seems that even a commitment to 2°C may be too little, too late (as it appears is already the case for some small island & low-lying nations already suffering effects of sea-level rise, for example).

    I understand the "irreversible", in this context, to mean something similar to "cannot be controlled by human efforts" (e.g., geo-engineering).

    Perhaps we should just talk about it for another 5 years and see what happens ... ?


    no dapl

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