tirsdag den 10. marts 2009

Ocean Acidification and Climate Modelling

One problem of human carbon dioxide emission is that the acidity of the world's oceans will rise. This is known; the question is rather how well do we understand this?

A research team from Bristol University will present their findings on this at a climate science conference which opens in Copenhagen today. The Guardian reports

The Bristol scientists cannot talk about their unpublished results until they are announced later today. But a summary of the findings seen by the Guardian predicts "dangerous" levels of ocean acidification and severe consequences for organisms called marine calcifiers, which form chalky shells.

It says: "We find the future rate of surface ocean acidification and environmental pressure on marine calcifiers very likely unprecedented in the past 65 million years." The scientists add that the situation in the deep sea is of even "greater concern".

The scientists compared the current acidification rate with a giant prehistoric release of greenhouse gas, which geologists know caused widespread extinction of deep water species.

The summary reads: "Because the rates of acidification between past and future are comparable, and [because] there was widespread extinction of benthic organisms [lowest living], one must conclude that a similar level of extinction is more likely than not in the future."

Ken Caldeira is quoted thus

"The choice to continue emitting carbon dioxide means that we will be an agent of biological change of a force and magnitude exceeded only by the causes of the great mass extinction events. If we do not cut carbon dioxide emissions deeply and soon, the consequences of ocean acidification will stand out against the broad reaches of geologic time. Those consequences will remain embedded in the geologic record as testimony from a civilisation that had the wisdom to develop high technology, but did not develop the wisdom to use it wisely."

What should be remembered is the incorrect use of "we" implied in using "civilisation" in the above quote. The working class does not own and control the means of production and thus has no real say in how and what is produced.

Simulations by the UK Met Office give some gloomy news, as reported by the Independent

The world's best efforts at combating climate change are likely to offer no more than a 50-50 chance of keeping temperature rises below the threshold of disaster, according to research from the UK Met Office.

The key aim of holding the expected increase to 2C, beyond which damage to the natural world and to human society is likely to be catastrophic, is far from assured, the research suggests, even if all countries engage forthwith in a radical and enormous crash programme to slash greenhouse gas emissions – something which itself is by no means guaranteed.

The chilling forecast from the supercomputer climate model of the Met Office's Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research will provide a sobering wake-up call for governments around the world, who will begin formally negotiating three weeks today the new international treaty on tackling global warming, which is due to be signed in Copenhagen in December.

1 kommentar:

nainoa sagde ...

The Real Problem is Not Tomorrows CO2 But Yesterdays CO2

EU President says environmentalists want to command human behavior. Hearing the president of the EU frame the context of "global warming" in this context is most welcome. It inspires comment. He is both right and wrong. He is quite correct in his observation that the dark green movement has been and is exploiting global warming and climate change to seize power and run modern society back to some stone age fantasyland. He is utterly wrong to equate this with the notion that there is no problem with fossil CO2. There is a big problem only its not bearing down on us at the slow pace of changing glaciers, it is much near than that.

While many international leaders debate or work toward emission reduction strategies and carbon capture and storage the real problem is not tomorrows CO2 but yesterdays CO2. Nor is the central problem the role CO2 has in Global Warming.

We must turn our attention to the 1000+ gigatonne carbon bomb, two centuries of accumulating CO2, still mostly in the air as it takes centuries for airborne CO2 to equilibrate with the rest of the planet. Reports call the alarm of ocean acidification, adding acid flames to the raging fires of fossil CO2. What's missing is mention of the best, only, means to fight ocean acidification and CO2 in the air.

Just 500 gigatonnes of yesterdays CO2 has reached the oceans where Revelle's Rule tells us 80% of CO2 ends up. The first carbon bomb will be exploding in the ocean for more than a century even if we stop the emission of new CO2 today. No amount alternative energies, recycling, bicycling, or "clean coal" will tend to the first carbon bomb. Sure lets reduce the size of the second bomb but first things first. Here's how.

ONLY ocean replenishment and restoration can enlist, as allies, the most powerful force of nature - the ocean plants, the bloomin' plankton. But high and rising CO2 in the air is not only responsible for ocean acidification worse it has fed green plants on land making them greener, bushier, and living longer making them "good ground cover."

Ground cover improvements have reduced the amount of dust blowing in the winds by 1/3 in just a few decades. For the oceans dust in the wind brings vital mineral micro-nutrients that terrestrial Yin (dust) is just as important as rain, the Yang, blowing from sea to land nurturing plant life. Since earth and ocean satellites went aloft 30 years ago we've measured decimation of ocean plants, 10% are gone from the Southern Ocean, 17% from the N. Atlantic, 26% from the N. Pacific, and 50% from the tropical seas. Just yesterday, a few decades past, ocean pastures grew more verdant consuming 4-5 billion tonnes more CO2 each year than today.

Today, as stewards of our blue planet, we must replenish ocean micro-nutrients to restore the verdant ocean pastures. If we bring the ocean plankton blooms back to levels seen only 30 years ago those plants will annually convert billions of tonnes of CO2 into ocean life instead of acid ocean death. Those verdant restored ocean pastures will deliver 7 times the CO2 reductions called for by the Kyoto Protocol.

To begin, and we must without delay, the work requires only tens of millions of dollars, to succeed in a matter of a decade requires only a few billion dollars. In the bargain the restored oceans will feed everything from tiny krill to the great whales and everything and everybody in between - fish, seabirds, penguins, seals and us.

Replenish and restore the oceans without delay. Read more at www.planktos-science.com