Overview: ‘Ocean Acidification’

By Rud Istvan

          Long time WUWT readers know that I stopped posting specific ‘Whack-a-Moles’ some time ago here and at Judith’s Climate Etc. My reason was simple. Does no good. The climate fight is now on a higher non-specific ‘belief’ plane.

          Recently Charles asked me for more technical posts. I was going to deconstruct GM’s new “HOPIUM” EV battery named (you cannot make this up) “Ultium”. But there is simply not enough yet available info to make a technical judgment about it. Yes, they are spending $2.3 billion on a new Ultrium pouch cell battery plant. Yes, it is supposed to use more nickel and less cobalt in the cathode alloy, so cheaper. All the critical rest (energy density, power density, cycle life) is still a nullity except in their current stock price….

          Yet ctm’s recent post on the ‘deficient’ shells of pteropods got me going again at the higher general climate science belief plane. So this possible guest post is scientifically general, broadly covering the ‘ocean acidification’ argument and its failures.  For those seeking detailed references, please see essay ‘Shell Games’ in ebook Blowing Smoke, or my recent comments on pteropod shells.

          So, ‘ocean acidification’ is a supposed second order global warming effect, per AR3. Except that was never true scientifically — let alone that ‘acidification’ is a deliberate alarmist misnomer—slightly less alkaline has nothing to do with acids (below pH 7). The AR3 estimate of ocean pH going from  ~8.2 to 7.8 with a doubling of atmospheric CO2 ignored the fact that ocean pH is highly buffered. Taking buffering into account, the max pH reduction from a doubling is 0.15-0.2 pH per the IPCC embarrassingly corrected AR4. This becomes a biological non-problem, since calcifying organisms (corals, pteropods, coccoliths) all regulate their internal calcifying pH to withstand natural ocean pH variances within their natural range. Else, they would not have survived. Yet they did.

          A further alarmist problem is that the natural biologically driven pH ocean range is greater than even the AR4 assertion. The observed range depends on the biological photic zone and seasonality of this ocean sub-segment. In the biologically barren northern Pacific, it is about 0.1. In Pacific estuaries, the seasonal range is about 1.0 or greater. In the extreme of Florida Bay from the Everglades estuary to Key West  (a max of 90 miles) it is from 5.8 in the mangrove fringes in winter to 9.6 near Key West in summer. These extreme differences are driven by rainfall (less in winter), Thallasia seagrass photosynthesis (greater in summer), and evaporation increased salinity (greater in summer.)  Yet the humble yet delicious conch snail thrives in Florida Bay year around all over the Bay. Try ‘farm raised’ Florida Keys conch fritters. Yum.

          This ‘ocean acidification’ misnomer was contrived by warmunists from several distinct parts, all of which were false.

  • Part one was the scary appellation ‘ocean acidification’. Slightly less alkaline is still not nearly acidic, as any high school chemistry class should teach.
  •  Part two was the fundamental physical chemistry buffering error in AR3.
  • Part three was the corals bleaching false death implication, explained by Jim Steele previously here and by his saga of symbiotic Zooxanthellae.

          Parts four and five were the arguably ‘scientific misconduct’ papers promoted by the Seattle Times concerning Papau New Guinea coral reefs and Pacific Northwest Miyagi oyster spawn. Both explained with footnotes in essay “Shell Games’ in ebook Blowing Smoke. The first misconduct was lethal H2S in one of three volcanic seeps, the second misconduct was lethal spat upwelling water pH in a hatchery bay not also managed as a seasonal estuary.

And then there is this new pteropod nonsense, deliberately ignoring the large difference that sea water temperature makes to their metabolism and hence shell formation. Even though the issue was discussed (then ignored) in the paper.

Ocean ‘acidification’ danger is a canard to be fought at the highest levels. Oceans will never truly acidify. Organisms evolved for its varying seasonal pH variations continue to thrive everywhere.

As just one final example of ‘acidification’ nonsense, the coccolithophorids (calcium exoskeleton algae, (the White Cliffs of Dover), have observationally increased almost 30 fold in the North Atlantic in the past 30 years, despite warming ‘acidification’. Coccoliths thrive. Alarmist ‘acidification’ memes do not.

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January 23, 2021 at 05:00PM

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