18 Apr 2010, 10:30am
Oceanic studies
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EPA’s Efforts Will Have No Effect On Ocean pH

by Ken Schlichte

Oceans are not acidic, despite front-page headlines, “EPA tackles acidic oceans.”

Oceans are actually alkaline with a surface pH of around 8.1.

The article with this headline in the Olympian stated that the EPA is exploring whether to use the Clean Water Act to control greenhouse gas emissions because climate change legislation is stalled in Congress. The Washington Department of Ecology had originally been asked to use the Clean Water Act to regulate emissions, but stated that there wasn’t enough data about acidification of specific bodies of water to justify any such listings.

The serious concern being used by the EPA to justify its control of greenhouse gas emissions is the up-welling of deep ocean water along the West Coast by northwest summer winds. This deep ocean water is alkaline, but is somewhat less alkaline than the surface ocean water because it is colder and therefore contains more dissolved carbon dioxide.

The deep ocean water up-welling along the West Coast may not been have exposed at the ocean surface for centuries and the EPA efforts to control current greenhouse gas emissions will therefore have no effect on the pH of this deep ocean water for many years. These EPA efforts will also have no effect on the northwest winds and the ocean up-welling that they will continue to create along the West Coast.

The reference:

EPA tackles acidic oceans

Agency looks at Clean Water Act to help in fight

LES BLUMENTHAL, The Olympian, April 04, 2010 [here]

WASHINGTON - The Environmental Protection Agency is exploring whether to use the Clean Water Act to control greenhouse gas emissions, which are turning the oceans acidic at a rate that has alarmed some scientists.

With climate change legislation stalled in Congress, the Clean Water Act would serve as a second front, as the Obama administration has sought to use the Clean Air Act to rein in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases administratively.

Since the dawn of the industrial age, acid levels in the oceans have increased 30 percent. Currently, the oceans are absorbing 22 million tons of carbon dioxide a day.

Among other things, scientists worry that the increase in acidity could interrupt the delicate marine food chain, which ranges from microscopic plankton to whales.

“There are all sorts of evils associated with this,” said Robert Paine, an emeritus professor of biology at the University of Washington. … [more]

Some additional comments:

derekcrane wrote:

The key element of the article is that “some scientists” are alarmed. Many aren’t. The ph of the oceans is 8.1, which is alkaline, and there has been no measured acidification.

Menzie wrote:

This article doesn’t say squat. It doesn’t give the “measurement units” that were used. For all we know, it could be billionths of a PH level, which doubling would do virtually nothing to in the grand scheme of things. Another horrible article designed to social engineer and scare the masses into giving up their cars and go back to eating vegetables and tree bark.

Dr. Walter Starck, one of the pioneers in the scientific investigation of coral reefs and editor of Golden Dolphin [here] (a video CD magazine of diving and underwater photography) adds:

Another factor not fully appreciated by most is that as there is no photosynthesis in the deep ocean, the CO2 in deep water is the accumulated total from all aerobic life there for hundreds of years. Likewise the O2 level is similarly depleted and the pH lower. Recent attempts to attribute the lower pH and higher CO2 content associated with upwelling of deep water to the increase in atmospheric CO2 can only be either scientific incompetence or fraud.

12 Apr 2010, 7:20pm
Oceanic studies Salmon science
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Dead Zone Dire Report

The impending doom attributed to “dead zones” on the Oregon’s continental shelf is the latest “climate change” scare-mongering in the Dead Tree Press.

Dead zones are hypoxic (low-oxygen) areas in the world’s oceans. They are natural deep sea oceanographic phenomena caused by a lack of mixing with surface waters. Dead zones have been present, it is assumed, ever since oceans formed on this planet a few billion years ago.

Some researchers, notably Jane Lubchenco, current Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), claim that dead zones are growing due to global warming [here, here]. However, oceanographic models have failed miserably in predicting dead zones, which have appeared to have shrunk in the last few years [here], contrary to model predictions.

But the scare-mongering won’t go away. The science is settled, except for the fact that it isn’t.

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