The Boogey ‘Man’ Exists And He Is Us!
Our CO2 that acidifies the oceans is shown to be safely managed by photosynthesis during daylight hours but after dark it’s natures worst nightmare for life on this blue planet.
A new study, based on the most-extensive set of measurements ever made in tide pools, explains how CO2 driven ocean acidification is and will increasingly put many marine organisms at risk by exacerbating normal changes in ocean chemistry that occur during the dark of night, in the oceans being afraid of the dark has science backing it up!
Conducted along California’s rocky coastline, the study from Stanford University Carnegie Institute Lester Kwiatkowski and Ken Caldiera shows that the most-vulnerable organisms are likely to be those with calcium shells or skeletons. This important paper is found to be published by the Journal Scientific Reports, (no paywall 🙂
Over the past century, the fossil fuel age, humankind has already emitted nearly a trillion tonnes of CO2 into this blue planet’s air. I call that yesterday’s CO2. When carbon dioxide emissions from our collective energy use are absorbed by the oceans, it changes seawater chemistry and makes it more acidic, a process called “ocean acidification.” You can remember the simple chemical formula from your early schooling….
H2O (that’s ocean water) + CO2 = H2CO3 (just add up the bits it is called carbonic acid)
That trillion tonnes of CO2 we have already emitted during the course of our fossil fuel age is mostly destined to dissolve into the 72% of this blue planet that is oceans has ONLY two places it can go once in the ocean.
Either it forms ocean acidifying ‘carbonic acid.’ Or it is taken up by green plants, the ocean phytoplankton that by using sunlight converts that CO2 into more ocean plant life! The acidification process competes with photosynthesis during the day but takes place unabated at night in the dark when the sun is down. Fortunately during the day ocean plant life powered by sunlight fights back to repurpose CO2 into the safest form possible – life itself!
This new and remarkable study has focused on the natural test tubes, petri dishes, that tide pools provide where the researchers (and their students) could study increasing ocean acidity. This work measured how that increase makes it difficult for higher forms of life in ocean water (higher meaning vertebrates and mollusks) that construct their bones, shells and exoskeletons out of calcium carbonate, such as fish, mussels and oysters, to continue to build these protective yet vulnerable and vital parts of their anatomy.
Keep in mind what you already know that the smaller the piece of something that might dissolve in acid the more effectively it dissolves. This means that when sea life is very small it is very much more vulnerable to our ocean acidifying carbonic acid. In high enough concentrations, carbon dioxide and ocean carbonic acid can even cause the shells and skeletons of large robust adult sea life to dissolve entirely, in some places during the dark horror of night this is now seen happening.
This report has nothing to do with the popular spin mastering of everything about CO2 being spun into either ‘global warming’ or ‘climate change.’ The authors of this important paper and I speak only about the perfectly directly measurable quantifiable effects sans any complicated ‘climate modelling’ of CO2 on ocean pasture ecologies. The really scary part that is without regard to how much additional CO2 humankind sends into the air in the future, tomorrows CO2, with or without ‘tomorrows CO2′ mitigation the first, yesterday’s CO2 deadly overdose is already having and will have devastating effects on the oceans.
Observing a variety of California’s natural rocky tide pools on the UC Bodega Marine Laboratory, the authors found that the rate of shell and skeletal growth was not greatly affected by seawater chemistry in the daytime. However, during low tide at night, water in the tide pools became corrosive to calcium carbonate shells and skeletons. The study found evidence that the rate at which these shells and skeletons dissolved during these nighttime periods was greatly affected by seawater chemistry.
Many other researchers have reported on seeing these macro-effects on large adult shells, but that work revealed a mere shadow of the real hazard wherein this nighttime bogey man is in fact far more dangerous to the tiny young marine life.
Being so small, microscopic at birth, the shell forming marine child-life is far more potently prevented from forming its first vital shell. Diving ‘under the covers’ for those babies is to no avail as the bogey man that comes in the night dissolves their ‘covers/shells’ faster than the immature marine life can make them. Commercial shellfish farms up and down the Pacific Coast of N. America are already losing vast amounts of shellfish.
In addition the knowledge gained in these convenient California tide pool micro-systems is readily transferred to the large ocean environment. The large ocean body of our oceans, you know the 72% blue part of our blue planet, is really very much like a giant tide pool. Ocean plant life fills the ocean pastures much like grass fills pastures on land. That ocean pasture grass, the phytoplankton, lives only very near the surface of the oceans in the waters that sunlight reaches.
On the wide open seas the same way that the tide pool micro-pastures repurpose our dangerous CO2 into new ocean life during the day so do the vast ocean pastures that work on the lions share of our deadly fossil fuel CO2 emissions during the day. At night when photosynthesis shuts down we, in our most monstrous bogey man CO2 form, descend upon the blue ocean world to wreak havoc.
“Unless carbon dioxide emissions are rapidly curtailed, we expect ocean acidification to continue to lower the pH of seawater,” said Kwiatkowski, the study’s lead author.
“This work highlights that even in today’s temperate coastal oceans, calcifying species, such as mussels and coralline algae, can dissolve during the night due to the more-acidic conditions caused by community respiration.”
Caldeira added: “If what we see happening along California’s coast today is indicative of what will continue in the coming decades, by the year 2050 there will likely be twice as much nighttime dissolution as there is today. Nobody really knows how our coastal ecosystems will respond to these corrosive waters, but it certainly won’t be well.”
How To Shoo This Bogey Man Away So Ocean Life Will No Longer Be Afraid Of The Dark
My ocean work is directed at restoration of ocean plant life that has been decimated by yesterday’s CO2 overdose. It is very simple practical and affordable work that I have proven in the world’s largest ocean demonstration project of its kind conducted in 2012.
My restoration that year of a Pacific Ocean pasture repurposed many millions of tonnes of deadly CO2 in the surface ocean waters into vibrant green plankton blooms that restored the health and productivity of the ocean pasture.
Though vast amounts of sceintific instrument measurments were made one more hunmanly palpable proof of the effectiveness was seen the very next year in the largest catch of Alaska salmon resulting from the ocean pasture restoration, where 50 million salmon were projected to be caught instead 226 million of my silver pasture fed beauties swam into the nets of Alaskan fishers. It Just Works!
This work is frequently attacked and falsly and bizarrely accused of being geoengineering by those who market fears that such a low-cost solution to their favourite sales device, ‘climate change’ might interfere with trillions in new taxes from being raised to feed their pork barrel. If it ocean pasture restoration is ‘geoengineering’ then most certainly so too is human planting of trees and agricultural crops and all forms of conservation and restoration of damaged landscapes to say nothing of human caused change to the natural environment.
Indeed the fears of the shyster pathoskeptics are correct as I have proven that we can become practical stewards of ocean plant life at a cost of mere millions per year and in doing so manage the lions share of our deadly CO2, instead of the trillions per year agreed to in the recent Paris Climate Change Accord restoring ocean pastures offers immediate solutions ‘too cheap to meter.’
One of the great tragedy’s of the world’s environment is that it has become the darling/victim of the shysters and hucksters of the green world who have neither one whit of understanding of how science is done nor any care at all about science and the truths it reveals. To them ecology/environment is simply a profitable business and political arena where there are no holds barred, and no lie/click-bait to outrageous. Thus there are persistent lies and smears about ocean pasture restoration and sustaining of ocean plant life to mitigate CO2 as this landmark study proves ocean plant life can and does so effectively.
Natural, restored, and sustained ocean photosynthesis offers the single greatest hope to affordably, immediately undo the great wrong our collective mindless CO2 geoengineering/poisoning of the ocean pastures has wrought. It can immediately restore those most vital ecosystems on the planet back to the condition of health and abundance they and we once enjoyed. Billions of tonnes of noxious CO2 will be repurposed into billions of additional fish to help feed the world’s hungry.
Consequence of doing nothing.
Some who about consequences worry say that we should do nothing and simply allow nature to take its course. They think, or perhaps hope, that if we do nothing then certainly natures oceans will eventually manage the first, yesterday’s, CO2 lethal dose and even tomorrows additional and ever worsening lethal doses that are pouring into our air and oceans every day. Most certainly the vast oceans of this blue planet where life evolved some billions of years ago will sustain life regardless of what we mere humans do – good or bad. But the certain consequence is shocking.
If we do nothing the immediate result will be the further collapse of ocean ecosystems making them uninhabitable for higher forms of ocean life. The first to lose will be those with big skeletons and shells the vertebrates and mollusks. Countless reports of mass ocean dyings are found in the world press today. The ocean microbiota will survive though it’s biological makeup will change likely with a massive shift away from photosynthetic forms back towards the cyanobacterial life which is as has always been the largest part of the ocean ecosystem. Our CO2 will ‘reboot’ this blue planet’s ‘root level operating system’ back to bacterial slime from whence evolution assisted by oxygen resulted in us.
We have a choice! Do nothing and choose ocean death or become ocean stewards and choose ocean life! I choose life, join me!
Reference – Scientific Paper Details: Nighttime dissolution in a temperate coastal ocean ecosystem increases under acidification – Kwaitkowski et al
Abstract: Anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are causing ocean acidification, lowering seawater aragonite (CaCO3) saturation state (Ωarag), with potentially substantial impacts on marine ecosystems over the 21st Century. Calcifying organisms have exhibited reduced calcification under lower saturation state conditions in aquaria. However, the in situ sensitivity of calcifying ecosystems to future ocean acidification remains unknown. Here we assess the community level sensitivity of calcification to local CO2-induced acidification caused by natural respiration in an unperturbed, biodiverse, temperate intertidal ecosystem. We find that on hourly timescales nighttime community calcification is strongly influenced by Ωarag, with greater net calcium carbonate dissolution under more acidic conditions. Daytime calcification however, is not detectably affected by Ωarag. If the short-term sensitivity of community calcification to Ωarag is representative of the long-term sensitivity to ocean acidification, nighttime dissolution in these intertidal ecosystems could more than double by 2050, with significant ecological and economic consequences. Full paper available, no paywall!