Ocean acidification discussion thread

by Judith Curry

Today the surface ocean is almost 30% more acidic than it was in pre-industrial times, and over the next few decades, the level of acidity of the surface ocean will continue to rise without deliberate action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Increasingly this will cause major problems for many marine organisms like shellfish and corals. – Scott Doney

Numerous people have asked me to do a post on ocean acidification; I haven’t done this since I don’t have much expertise on this.  Scott Doney’s recent congressional testimony provides the impetus for this post.

Scott Doney’s testimony

Excerpts from Doney’s recent congressional testimony [link]:

The ocean takes up roughly one quarter of human emissions to the atmosphere of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning and deforestation. Additional carbon dioxide uptake causes direct changes in seawater acid-base and inorganic carbon chemistry in a process termed ocean acidification. Acidification is independent of warming of the atmosphere but the two are linked through the underlying cause of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide. Growing evidence suggests that ocean acidification will strongly impact many types of marine organisms, from microscopic plankton to shellfish and corals.

Acidification and climate change will put further pressure on living marine resources, such as fisheries and coral reefs that we depend upon for food, tourism and other economic and aesthetic benefits. Scientific observations show that ocean acidification is already occurring around the globe and is amplified in some coastal regions by changing ocean circulation, pollution, and land management practices. Recent near collapses of the oyster fishery in the Pacific Northwest, directly attributed to changing seawater chemistry, had substantial negative impacts on local jobs and economies.

We have an opportunity now to limit the negative impact of ocean acidification in the future. Key elements include curbing human carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere, improved control of local pollution sources, reducing coastal habitat destruction, and better preparing coastal human communities to withstand the amount of ocean acidification and climate change that is unavoidable. At the State and local level, adaptation and mitigation strategies are being developed for ocean acidification. 

Doney’s testimony includes the following topic sections:

  • Social and economic impacts of ocean acidification
  • Ocean and global carbon cycle
  • Ocean acidification and changing seawater chemistry
  • Adaptation and mitigation strategies

Below  is some text from the sections on Ocean and global carbon cycle that explains the basic mechanism:

The ocean uptake of excess atmospheric carbon dioxide, the excess above preindustrial levels driven by human emissions, causes well-understood and substantial changes in seawater chemistry that can affect marine organisms and ecosystems. Carbon dioxide (CO2) acts as a weak acid when added to seawater leading to the release of hydrogen ions (H+) and bicarbonate (HCO3-) ions.

The reaction increases seawater acidity and increases the hydrogen ion activity, thus lowering seawater pH. pH is defined as the negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion activity, so that a 1-unit change in pH is equivalent to a 10-fold change in H+. Most of the extra hydrogen ions react with carbonate ions (CO3 2-) and lower their ambient concentrations.

This second reaction is important because reduced seawater carbonate ion concentrations decrease the saturation levels of calcium carbonate (CaCO3), a hard mineral used by many marine microbes, plants and animals to form shells and skeletons. Many organisms require supersaturated conditions to form sufficient calcium carbonate shells or skeletons, and biological calcification rates tend to decrease in response to lower carbonate ion concentrations, even when the ambient seawater is still supersaturated.

Long-term ocean acidification trends are clearly evident over the past several decades in open-ocean time-series and hydrographic survey data, and the trends are consistent with the growth rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide (Dore et al., 2009). From preindustrial levels, contemporary surface ocean pH is estimated to have dropped on average from 8.2 to 8.1, or by about 0.1 pH units (a 26% increase in hydrogen ion concentration), and further decreases of 0.22 to 0.35 pH units are projected over this century unless carbon dioxide emissions are significantly reduced.

Global upper-ocean chemistry trends driven by human carbon dioxide emissions are more rapid than variations in the geological past. For example, atmospheric carbon dioxide grew by approximately 30% during the transition from the most recent cold glacial period, about 20,000 years ago, to the current warm interglacial period; the corresponding rate of decrease in surface ocean pH, driven by geological processes, was approximately 50 times slower than the current rate driven largely by fossil fuel burning. Many marine organisms appear to be physiologically adapted to relatively constant local acid-base conditions and are sensitive to relatively small variations in pH and the saturation state of calcium carbonate.

Present-day ocean surface waters are supersaturated for the major carbonate mineral forms used by marine organisms, including the more soluble form aragonite (corals, many mollusks) and the less soluble form calcite (coccolithophores, foraminifera, and some mollusks). However, calcium carbonate saturation states of both mineral forms are declining everywhere. Polar oceans are of particular concern because cold surface waters naturally hold more carbon dioxide and started off with lower calcium carbonate saturation states. Model simulations indicate that polar surface waters will become undersaturated for aragonite in the near future for the Arctic (atmospheric carbon dioxide of 400-450 ppm) and by mid-century for the southern ocean off the Antarctic (atmospheric carbon dioxide of 550-600 ppm). This is expected to result in major changes in polar ecosystems.

Other ocean regions also may be more susceptible to aragonite undersaturation because of elevated background levels of carbon dioxide. These include eastern boundary current upwelling systems such as those off the U.S. west coast along coastal California, Oregon and Washington, deep-sea and subsurface oxygen minimum zones, and coastal waters that are already experiencing excess nutrient levels (eutrophication) and low dissolved oxygen (hypoxia) due to human-driven nutrient pollution from land-based activities . Nutrient overloading near shore encourages algal growth that is consumed by microbes, using up dissolved oxygen and releasing even more carbon dioxide locally. Coastal, estuarine, and coral reef systems also experience high levels of temporal variability on diurnal to weekly time-scales, challenging both observational efforts and interpretations of biological experiments.

Scott Doney’s bio information:

My name is Scott Doney, and I am a Senior Scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole MA. My research focuses on interactions among climate, the ocean and global carbon cycles, and marine ecosystems, and I have published more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and book chapters on these and related subjects. I have served on the U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Program Scientific Steering Group and the U.S. Community Climate System Model Scientific Steering Committee. I was the inaugural chair of the U.S. Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry (OCB) Program and am currently on the steering committees for the Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry Program and the U.S. CLIVAR/CO2 Repeat Hydrography Program. I am also a convening lead author for the Oceans and Marine Resources chapter of the U.S. 2013 National Climate Assessment.

Rebuttal

Craig Idso has written comprehensive rebuttal to the NRDC film “Acid Test: The Global Challenge of Ocean Acidification.” [link]

So what’s the story here? Are coral reefs really in their last decades of existence? Will the shells of other calcifying marine life also dissolve away during our lifetimes? The NRDC film certainly makes it appear that such is the case; but a little scientific sleuthing reveals nothing of substance in this regard. In fact, even a cursory review of the peer-reviewed scientific literature reveals that an equally strong case – if not a more persuasive one – can be made for the proposition that the ongoing rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration will actually prove a boon to calcifying marine life. Sadly, however, the NRDC chose to present an extreme one-sided, propagandized view of ocean acidification; and in this critique we present the part of the story that they clearly don’t want you to know.

[25 pages of text, 13 pages of references]

From the Conclusions:

In conclusion, based on the many real-world observations and laboratory experiments described above, it is clear that recent theoretical claims of impending marine species extinctions, due to increases in the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration, have no basis in empirical reality. In fact, these unsupportable contentions are typically refuted by demonstrable facts. As such, the NRDC’s portrayal of CO2-induced ocean acidification as a megadisaster-in-the-making is seen, at best, to be a one-sided distortion of the truth or, at worst, a blatant attempt to deceive the public.

Surely, the NRDC and the scientists portrayed in their film should have been aware of at least one of the numerous peer-reviewed scientific journal articles that do not support a catastrophic – or even a problematic – view of the effect of ocean acidification on calcifying marine organisms; and they should have shared that information with the public. If by some slim chance they were not aware, shame on them for not investing the time, energy, and resources needed to fully investigate an issue that has profound significance for the biosphere. And if they did know the results of the studies we have discussed, no one should ever believe a single word they may utter or write in the future. 

Finally, if there is a lesson to be learned from the materials presented in this document, it is that far too many predictions of CO2-induced catastrophes are looked upon as sure-to-occur, when real-world observations show such doomsday scenarios to be highly unlikely or even virtual impossibilities. The phenomenon of CO2-induced ocean acidification is no different. Rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations are not the bane of the biosphere; they are an invaluable boon to the planet’s many life forms.

JC comment:  So whose view of the ocean acidification is correct:  Doney’s or Idso’s?  In this instance, it is instructive for me to describe  my own reasoning process, since I come to this topic with very little first hand knowledge, beyond understanding the basic chemistry of the problem.

When I saw Scott Doney listed as a witness for this hearing, I was very pleased, since he is a scientific heavy hitter on this subject.  However, upon reading the first page of his testimony, the following statement raised my skeptical hackles, especially since their was no evidence or reference to support this:

Today the surface ocean is almost 30% more acidic than it was in pre-industrial times.

I found Doney’s testimony to be highly normative, something that I am not a fan of in testimony by scientists.  I did a word search, looking for ‘uncertain’, ‘disagreement’, ‘debate’, ‘unknown’.  The only statements I found were:

Decisions should incorporate precautionary considerations to account for the fact that potential carbon dioxide thresholds are presently unknown for many aspects of ocean acidification.

The potential biological consequences due to acidification are slowly becoming clearer at the level of individual species, but substantial uncertainties remain particularly at the ecosystem level.

For these reasons, Doney’s testimony didn’t score too high on my credibility meter, in spite of my acknowledgement of his expertise and stature in the field.

I figured that there has to be another side to this story, so I did a quick google search and spotted Idso’s document.  Idso’s document clearly states that there is another side to this story.  Idso’s approach is more credible IMO, since he acknowledges that there are two sides to the story, that at this point may be equally plausible.    I searched for the same 4 words; only spotted one use of ‘unknown’, so I am not sure how useful my little litmus test was.

The issue is this:  failure of the ‘mainstream’ experts to adequately discuss uncertainty and alternative viewpoints leaves a void to be filled by the likes of Idso, with the inadvertent effect of elevating Idso’s essay more than it probably deserves.

That said, I cannot personally judge whether Doney’s or Idso’s arguments are better scientifically, without digging into the primary literature myself; and even then I am not sure how confident I would be in my own ability to assess this.

If we use the Italian Flag method (Michael Tobis will go ballistic if he spots this), we have:

  • Evidence for (green):  Doney’s arguments
  • Evidence against (red):  Idso’s arguments
  • Uncertainty and ignorance (white): there must be plenty here, but I haven’t seen any document that articulates the known unknowns.

I suspect that red and white add up to more than 50%, that is as close as I can come to making an assessment on this.

I would appreciate any good references on this topic, and I look forward to your comments.

Update:  I bring forward here some comments that I made in the thread that clarify my views on this:

Both Doney’s and Idso’s reports are normative. Both provide evidence. Did I say Idso was more convincing than Doney? No. But Idso scored some credibility points by stating that there is disagreement and debate, and actually presented the evidence for (at least in terms of the transcript of the NRDC film). Idso lost credibility points by having Monckton write the preface, which was rather over the top.

Credibility is product of expertise and trust. Doney scores much higher on expertise here. Personally I find it trust inspiring when a scientist acknowledges the existence of disagreement and debate, which is where Idso scored points

There is a 2010 NRC report on Ocean Acidification
http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12904&page=59

Scott Doney was one of the authors of this report.

The money quotes re uncertainty:

“Ocean acidification research is in its infancy.”

“CONCLUSION: Present knowledge is insufficient to guide federal and state agencies in evaluating potential impacts for management purposes.”

I’m taking seriously the list of references (peer reviewed publications) that Idso supplies in his document. I am more interested in evidence and arguments, rather than who supplies them.

If Scott Doney’s testimony had been less normative, I wouldn’t have been tempted to look for alternative view points on this.

Actually, the 2010 NRC report on ocean acidification is probably the best overall review of the topic. My starting point was testimony from the hearing (I am interested in normative behavior by climate scientists when giving testimony); I was put off by the lack of mention of uncertainty so I sought a counter perspective. So one of my main interests in Doney’s testimony is the normative behavior. If I intended this post to be primarily about state of understanding on the topic, I would have stuck with the 2010 NRC report.

See the Annual Reviews of Marine Science article, “Ocean Acidification: The Other CO2 Problem,” with Downey as lead author (http://www.annualreviews.org/eprint/QwPqRGcRzQM5ffhPjAdT/full/10.1146/annurev.marine.010908.163834)  It states:

4. Our present understanding of potential ocean acidification impacts on marine organisms stems largely from short-term laboratory and mesocosm experiments; consequently, the response of individual organisms, populations, and communities to more realistic gradual changes is largely unknown (Boyd et al. 2008).

5. The potential for marine organisms to adapt to increasing CO2 and the broader implications for ocean ecosystems are not well known; an emerging body of evidence suggests that the impact of rising CO2 on marine biota will be more varied than previously thought, with both ecological winners and losers.

6. Ocean acidification likely will affect the biogeochemical dynamics of calcium carbonate, organic carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus in the ocean as well as the seawater chemical speciation of trace metals, trace elements, and dissolved organic matter.

Doney’s testimony did not provide this same sense of uncertainty. Nor did he mention the existence of disagreement and countervailing evidence. Given Doney’s ‘oversight’ in this regard, I would like to understand what basis for disagreement exists and what is some of the countervailing evidence, and what are the main areas of uncertainty. If the ‘mainstream’ experts don’t supply this information (i.e. evidence against as well as evidence for), then it is left for Idso et al. to fill in the blanks.

Experts presenting one-sided evidence with little mention of uncertainty in a field ‘that is in its infancy’ ends up elevating Idso’s report probably more than it deserves.

685 responses to “Ocean acidification discussion thread

  1. if I borrow 1 million when I repay 10,000 I cannot claim to be “more in credit” than before. I’m still 990,000 in debt.

    Likewise any mention of “acidification” of the oceans is between naive and dishonest.

    • Yeah, and here’s an ABSTRACT from such naive authors:

      The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM, ∼55 million years ago) was an interval of global warming and ocean acidification attributed to rapid release and oxidation of buried carbon. We show that the onset of the PETM coincided with a prominent increase in the origination and extinction of calcareous phytoplankton. Yet major perturbation of the surface-water saturation state across the PETM was not detrimental to the survival of most calcareous nannoplankton taxa and did not impart a calcification or ecological bias to the pattern of evolutionary turnover. Instead, the rate of environmental change appears to have driven turnover, preferentially affecting rare taxa living close to their viable limits.

      http://www.sciencemag.org/content/314/5806/1770.full

    • Haha, I wondered how long it would be before someone came along quibbling about the term “acidification”. The fact that it is the very first comment is just perfect.
      Some of us might think that if anything here is “dishonest” it’s trying to turn a discussion on the subject of the effect of changes to ocean pH levels into a discussion about semantics.

      • Yes, much more useful to “frame” the discussion with unequivocal terms such as global warming/climate change/climage disruption/global wierding/extreme climate/extreme weather/climate disruption/climate chaos.

      • Words carry meaning, and no word is completely neutral.

        Acidification is the marker of a scam. It makes people believe oceans are turning into skin-dissolving soups. It masks the fact that even if all Earth’s CO2 went into the sea, still the pH would be above 7.

        To use “acidification” is akin to give the Nobel Peace Prize to the Commander in Chief of a nation fighting multiple wars only because he’s made a nice speech.

        (…wait a moment…)

      • “Acidification” has been the word used, completely uncontroversially, in the literature and general discussion of the subject for years, it’s a perfectly adequate and well understood term. Claiming that it was deliberately chosen to scare people is a marker of absurd tinfoil hattery.
        The people who want to play with words are those who claim we should use the less meaningful but of course more benign sounding word “neutralisation”.

    • Nobody seems to have linked so far to the very interesting Walter Starck photos and article of New Guinea natural CO2 vents bubbling up through thriving coral reefs:

      http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/walter-starck-on-coral-and-other-marine-life.pdf

      • Those are so cool. But wait!! Isn’t CO2 the anathema of corals??? What?? Has someone been lying to us??? Say it ain’t so!!

      • Silly parrotfish: As with the ‘undersea volcano’ excuse for ignoring radiative forcing , this analogy falls many orders of magnitude short of quantitative relevance:

        the corals are in a well mixed ocean of water of nigh infinite mass compared to the CO2 flux from the vents.

    • graphicconception

      Quite right. The oceans are alkaline.

      I use the analogy that water at 18° is more frozen than water at 19°C.

      • Bill Norton

        Good one.

      • russellseitz

        Acidity is a measure of hydrgen ion concentration. and as Judith notes, adding CO2 has thus far increased the hydrogen ion concentration in the oceans by 26% thus rendering them more acidic. –

        Sensu strictu, dilution is the only way to render seawater less basic without grossly changing its buffer chemistry

  2. As our hostess points out from Doney’s paper, the phrase “Today the surface ocean is almost 30% more acidic than it was in pre-industrial times.”

    I dont keep the references, so I dont have any offhand, but there are EXTREMELY limited measurements of oceanic pH. The main thing I remember from what I have read, is that measurements at the same place as a function of time can vary by 1 unit on the pH scale. And what 30% means I have no idea. 30% of what? Before I would give ANY credibility of Doney’s work, I would need to see all the references and numeric, empirical data to support his 30%. My guess? It is a complete load of scientific nonsense.

    • David Wojick

      Indeed Jim, we have no way of knowing what the average pH of the ocean was 200 years ago, nor how it has varied before or since. This is a paradigm of false confidence driving a scare, which is SOP for environmentalism.

      • pH is measured with an electrochemical probe. They may have had some very crude galvinometer – based device 200 years ago, but it wouldn’t be very accurate. Until the de Forest tube was invented, the measurement was low precision.

      • Geez, ever heard of proxies, and indeed there are for pH

      • “Geez, ever heard of proxies, and indeed there are for pH”
        Like delta 11 Boron? I saw one that varied between 7.95 to 8.15 pH from 1710 to 1910, that is like +/- 60 percent right :)

      • Those are the local measurements, not the precision or accuracy of the method. Try again

      • Wabbit, “Those are the local measurements, not the precision or accuracy of the method. Try again”

        The precision of a measurement can be misleading especially when the range of natural variability is as large or larger than the “forcing”. Since paleo reconstructions are highly dependent on ocean currents, without a proper model of the ocean currents, “averaging” Paleo reconstructions can lead to false conclusions.

    • Judith Curry says: ” However, upon reading the first page of his testimony, the following statement raised my skeptical hackles, especially since their was no evidence or reference to support this:
      Today the surface ocean is almost 30% more acidic than it was in pre-industrial times.”

      Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_acidification), using data from Calderia and Wickett ( Caldeira, K.; Wickett, M. E. (2003). “Anthropogenic carbon and ocean pH”. Nature 425 (6956): 365–365. Bibcode:2001AGUFMOS11C0385C. doi:10.1038/425365a. PMID 14508477, calculates a 28% increase in the concentration of hydronium ion from pre-industrial times to the present (2003). A value of 30%, ten years later seems pretty solid.

      Perhaps Dr. Curry should do more work before trusting her skeptic hackles.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Owen, I find nothing to support your claim about the 28% in the Caldeira & Wickett paper. They make no claims even remotely like that. However, they do say:

        To investigate the effects of CO2 emissions on ocean pH, we forced the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory ocean general-circulation model (Fig. 1a) with the pressure of atmospheric CO2 (pCO2) observed from 1975 to 2000, and with CO2 emissions from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s IS92a scenario1 for 2000–2100.

        So what you are quoting as gospel is a Wikipedia calculation by some anonymous person, allegedly based on a climate model’s results … I think you might be a bit confused about the meaning of “evidence” that Judith said was missing. Judiths skeptic instincts are good.

        w.

      • Willis,

        Try this Annual Reviews article ( http://www.annualreviews.org/eprint/QwPqRGcRzQM5ffhPjAdT/full/10.1146/annurev.marine.010908.163834). They state a decline in pH of 0.1 pH unit since pre-industrial times. Wikipedia gave 0.11 decline in pH. When you translate to hydronium ikon concentration, you get very close to the 30%.

      • Willis,

        You are the one who is confused. pH values are measured directly and not determined by models. You picked a random quote and thought it applied to pH values. Read the Annual Reviews article. There has been a 30% drop in hydronium concentration, skeptic hackles notwithstanding.

      • Latimer Alder

        @owen

        You say

        ‘pH values are measured directly and not determined by models’.

        If so, then:

        How did they ‘measure pH directly’ in pre-industrial times?

        What instruments did they use?

        Where did they take the measurements?

        How were they calibrated (can’t have been in pH since that concept wasn’t formulated until the 1920s)?

        Where can we examine their results?

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Eli Rabett | July 21, 2013 at 7:53 pm |

      Geez, ever heard of proxies, and indeed there are for pH

      Eli, the claim in question is that we know the difference in oceanic pH between 1750 and today. Jim Cripwell says the 30% claim is bogus, and I agree. I’ve shown in this thread that the claim is nothing but the results of the use of one untested, unverified, unvalidated climate model, with no error estimate and no observational underpinnings. It is NOT based on proxies for pH as you seem to imply.

      For your claim to be relevant, you’d need global measurements of a pH proxy for 1750, and you’d need to compare those to global measurement of that same pH proxy today.

      If you can provide us with a citation to those repeat measurements, for 1750 and for today, then you indeed may have a point.

      If not, you’re not contributing the conversation.

      w.

      • Google Scholar could be your friend Willis

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Eli Rabett | July 22, 2013 at 9:28 am |

        Google Scholar could be your friend Willis

        That’s pathetic, bunnybrain. If you have a reference, point to it. Otherwise, you’re just smearing your own feces on the walls. Not atypical behavior for you, of course, but not very productive behavior either …

        w.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Eli Rabbett: Google Scholar could be your friend Willis

        Would you care to add some information to the thread? the % change that Willis quoted was indeed based on a model. You mentioned “proxies” for past CO2 — could you direct us to some published reports that you find enlightening, or confirm that you respect one of the reports linked here by others?

        On another blog you made an unsubstantiated assertion that this thread is filled with ignorance. You have an excellent opportunity to improve the situation by linking to some evidence.

      • Wow, Willy, you’re exceptionally whiny today, even for you.

        Is it just that the mere suggestion that you learn some science, something you have studiously avoided so far, enrages you? Why would that be?

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Robert | July 24, 2013 at 2:04 pm |

        Wow, Willy, you’re exceptionally whiny today, even for you.

        Willy? Is that what we’re doing, playing childish name games? OK, Roberta, great hearing from you.

        Is it just that the mere suggestion that you learn some science, something you have studiously avoided so far, enrages you? Why would that be?

        Oh, Roberta, you say such cute things when you’re upset, it’s quite endearing actually. But me enraged? I politely asked carrotbreath to spit out what he’s trying to say. I’m more than happy to learn, but Eli just saying “Google Scholar could be your friend Willis” is meaningless.

        Or at least I was as polite as one should be to bunnies like him playing childish games. But that’s all just in fun. If I get enraged at Eli, Roberta, you won’t be in any doubt about it, your hair will start self-combusting just from watching him fry.

        But that would be like smashing cockaroochies with a Louisville Slugger, so you likely will never see that come to pass. Eli’s small fry, not worth wasting my blood pressure on.

        All the best,

        w.

        PS—As to whether I’ve ever learned any climate science, Nature magazine thought so when they published my peer-reviewed “Communications Arising” … and you?

  3. David Wojick

    The first sentence in the excerpt is wrong. He says “The ocean takes up roughly one quarter of human emissions to the atmosphere of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning and deforestation.” He is referring to the arithmetic difference between human emissions and the CO2 concentration increase. But in fact all human emitted molecules are gone in about 5 years, roughly half into the ocean. That is, the CO2 increase is not composed of human emissions.

    The open question is whether the CO2 increase is even caused by human emissions. If not then we have nothing to do with the so-called acidification (more properly called neutralization). His testimony is what I call “AGW science” which means science that assumes AGW.

    • “The open question is whether the CO2 increase is even caused by human emissions.”

      Not even close to being an open question.
      Humans are responsible, of this there is no doubt.

      • Heh, the Carbon Cycle, a piece of cake. Doubtless.
        =================

      • David Springer

        Actually by the very act of doubting, however unqualified, the person you responded to falsifies your assertion that there is no doubt.

        Perhaps you mean there is no qualified doubt?

        Unfortunately Murry Salby doubts it and he is very qualified.

        So what exactly do you mean, Bob?

      • David, isn’t the gist of what Salby is saying is that the atmospheric increases in CO2 are due to the gas coming out of the oceans, and here we are discussing the observation that the pH of the oceans are decreasing because CO2 is dissolving in them?

        http://www.pnas.org/content/106/30/12235.abstract?sid=6096bf34-dab5-4ed5-a9e0-5fb2ba4f0592

        There is no doubt that Salby is incorrect.
        Salby’s qualifications and motivations are what I doubt.

      • “Actually by the very act of doubting, however unqualified, the person you responded to falsifies your assertion that there is no doubt.”

        Actually, it doesn’t; that’s not how language works.

        You can of course if you want be one of those boring and ignorant people who tries to get kids to say “may I” instead of “can I” in the belief that the latter is incorrect. But you’re just wrong.

  4. Mayor of Venus

    On July 9, Wattsupwiththat posted a lengthy essay by a guest blogger, Steve Burnett, on this very topic. He describes himself as “a lowly chem engineering graduate who has found neither a job nor an academic position in this economy.” So in my opinion he has made some excellent use of his time writing this article discussing ocean PH, buffered chemical reactions, etc. His conclusion: Yes, increased atmospheric CO2 is reducing ocean PH, BUT it’s much too small to be measureable, and it doesn’t mean anything of consequence for the oceans.
    This planet has very little CO2 in the atmosphere compared to my planet or even to Mars. Consider a thought experiment (Einstein’s favorite kind of experiments): Dissolve not just a portion of the increasing atmospheric CO2 in the oceans, but ALL the CO2 in the atmosphere. What are the consequences? On land, all plant life will end except in greenhouse containment. In the oceans, I would again expect nothing of consequence. The total CO2 in the atmosphere is much smaller that what is already in the oceans.

    • “On July 9, Wattsupwiththat posted a lengthy essay by a guest blogger, Steve Burnett, on this very topic. He describes himself as “a lowly chem engineering graduate who has found neither a job nor an academic position in this economy.” So in my opinion he has made some excellent use of his time writing this article discussing ocean PH, buffered chemical reactions, etc. His conclusion: Yes, increased atmospheric CO2 is reducing ocean PH, BUT it’s much too small to be measureable, and it doesn’t mean anything of consequence for the oceans.”

      So a scientific ignorant climate denier doesn’t understand ocean pH?

      “Dog bites man.”

  5. Dr. Doney’s first two sentences, the basis for the rest of his remarks, are false. They are false notwithstanding abundant references, especially IPCC Reports, available to support them.

    1. Human CO2 emissions at about 6 GtC/yr enter the atmosphere to mix with natural emissions of about 90 GtC/yr from the ocean, 120 GtC/yr from land, and possibly another anomalous 270 GtC/yr from leaf water. The popular model for anthropogenic CO2 makes it an isotopically lighter mix than the other forms and the background in the atmosphere. However, no assignment of dissolution coefficients for 12CO2, 13CO2, and 14CO2 exists that can cause only 25% of ACO2 to be dissolved per year while 100% of the natural CO2 from 3 different sources dissolves. No other parameter is available to differentiate molecules of CO2 according to their sources. The isotopic mix in the atmosphere is different than any of the sources so dissolution of natural CO2 cannot be preferred over Anthropogenic CO2. The types of CO2 according to source do not exist in the atmosphere.

    2. The basis for the model for acidification applies the carbonate chemical equations of equilibrium. No part of the climate is in equilibrium, including specifically the surface layer of the ocean. CO2 dissolves according to Henry’s Law and Henry’s Coefficient for CO2 in water. That coefficient depends primarily on temperature, secondarily on salinity, and perhaps to some degree lost in the noise on isotopic weight. It does not depend on the pH of the water. The surface layer is not a buffer against dissolution. The atmosphere is not forced to be an accumulating buffer holding excess CO2. To satisfy the physics, the surface layer must be an accumulating buffer allowing CO2 to dissolve according to Henry’s Law.

    The chemical equations of equilibrium do not apply. CO2 is neither especially long-lived nor well-mixed. The ocean is not acidifying because of human activity. The Keeling Curve is not global, but instead regional. Atmospheric CO2 is increasing because of global warming, and not the reverse. Global warming is caused by the Sun, especially its radiation over the past century plus or minus a half century which is dominantly absorbed and stored in the ocean because the ocean is dark and because it has a high heat capacity (inertia in some Earth sciences).

    • Dr Doney’s sentences are not false. He knows what he is talking about.

      “Human CO2 emissions at about 6 GtC/yr enter the atmosphere to mix with natural emissions of about 90 GtC/yr from the ocean, 120 GtC/yr from land, and possibly another anomalous 270 GtC/yr from leaf water…”

      Pointless. He isn’t trying to track the exact molecules. Every year we emit, well, now closer to 10 Gt C. Meanwhile the sea emits and absorbs about 90 Gt C/yr through seasonal changes etc, as it has, in a balanced way, for millennia. And about 100 GtC/yr is reduced by photosynthesis, and subsequently oxidised by respiration and combustion, a process that again has been balanced for millennia.

      But the 10Gt/yr that we emit is new, and accumulates. The increased C accumulates in the atmosphere, sea and land. We’ve emitted in total about 370 Gt C. There’s about 180 Gt in the air. Dr Doney says 25% went into the sea, which seems right to me.

      “The chemical equations of equilibrium do not apply. CO2 is neither especially long-lived nor well-mixed.”

      They do. Mass action is very widely used in chemistry, and one never has perfect equilibrium. In dynamic equilibrium there is a forward reaction and a back reaction, and the equilibrium equation follows when the rates are approximately equal. All that is required for that is that the rates are fast on the scale of measurement, which is days, weeks, months. And they are.

      You can see this from the old blowing into lime water experiment. The lime water clouds (CaCO3) then clears (bicarb) before your eyes. These are the reactions involved in carbonate equilibration in the sea. They are fast.

      • “But the 10Gt/yr that we emit is new, and accumulates.”

        What do new molecules mean? And why do only new ones and not old ones accumulate? Are you and Dr. Doney suggesting that new molecules come enteric coated?

        IPCC says, “the equilibrium values for partitioning CO2 between air and seawater and associated seawater pH values are well established (Zeebe and Wolf-Gladrow, 2001; see Box 7.3). AR4, Ch. 7, p. 528. OK, so far. But what IPCC doesn’t report is

        “within the surface boundary layer of the ocean gas exchange atmosphere-ocean. the seawater carbonate chemistry deviates appreciably from equilibrium.” Zeebe, R.E., D.A. Wolf-Gladrow, D.A., & H. Jansen, “On the time required to establish chemical and isotopic equilibrium n the carbon dioxide system in seawater”, Mar.Chem. 65 (1999) 135-153, Abstract.

        When all chemistry has is equilibrium equations, it uses them. This is the principal that when your only tool is a hammer, the whole world is nails.

        And when your equilibrium equations lead to violations of Henry’s Law, you should know that you’ve gone too far. The same authors elaborate under “Carbon Dioxide, Dissolved (Ocean)

        “Carbonate chemistry

        “In thermodynamic equilibrium, gaseous carbon dioxide (CO2(g), and [CO2] are related by Henry’s law:

        “CO2(g) = [CO2], with K0

        “where K0 is the temperature and salintiy dependent solubility coefficient of CO2 in seawater. The concentration of dissolved CO2 and the gufacity of gaseous CO2, fCO2, then obey the equation [CO2] = K0 X fCO2, where the fugacity is virtually equal to the partial pressure, pCO2 (within ~1%). Zeebe, R. E., and D. A. Wolf-Gladrow, Carbon dioxide, dissolved (ocean). Encyclopedia of Paleoclimatology and Ancient Environments, Ed. V. Gornitz, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Earth Science Series, in press 2008.

        Note a couple of things. First, the requirement is for thermodynamic equilibrium, not dynamic equilibrium. Second, Henry’s coefficient does not depend on the pH of water. We may not have determined K0 for a nonequilibrium state, but that does not imply that CO2 no longer readily dissolves in proportion to its partial pressure. But that is the implication in the AGW model when it makes CO2 (of one particular species) accumulate in the atmosphere waiting for the surface layer to equilibrate, and in the bargain lowering its pH.

        What do you mean by “perfect equilibrium”? Are you thinking that equilibrium is a metric, that it comes in degrees, instead of being a state?

        Thermodynamic equilibrium requires the system to be isolated from its surroundings, thermally and mechanically (and chemically, too, for that matter). The surface layer chemistry deviates appreciably from equilibrium, and never equilibrates as long as the Sun, the tides, wind, currents, and the deep ocean exist. The rates are not fast as you claim, but instead are zero.

        CO2 dissolves in the surface layer according to Henry’s Law at unknown rates. None of its species accumulates differently from the other species, whether of the fossil fuel variety or new. IPCC through AR4 never discovered Henry’s Law.

      • “What do new molecules mean? And why do only new ones and not old ones accumulate?”
        No-one’s trying to identify molecules here except you – and to no sensible purpose. All the CO2 molecules behave in the same way, whatever their origin.

        The basic arithmetic is set out by Zeebe. Pre-industrial, there were 600 Gt C in the air, 500 Gt in the biosphere, and 1000 Gt C in the surface ocean. The exchanges of 90Gt/yr air/bio had been going on for millenia, but in balance so the basic numbers hadn’t changed.

        Then we dug up and burnt 370 Gt fossil C. The molecules mixed, but there are just more of them. That’s what accumulated means. About 200 Gt C more in the air, and, according to Doney, 370/4=92.5 Gt more in the sea. You don’t need isotopes to work that out.

        And as Doney says, there’s a lot more Gt C that we could dig up.

        “First, the requirement is for thermodynamic equilibrium, not dynamic equilibrium.”

        Why? Who said? The use of equilibrium relations is simple. If reagents can mix, they will react, and their concentration will diminish. The rate will also then diminish. The products can back react, and as their concentration increases, the back reaction will be faster. Dynamic equilibrium is simply the point where the two rates match, and the law of mass action just matches the two kinetic relations.

        It’s stable because if there gets to be an excess of reagent, the forward reaction goes faster than the back until the excess is consumed. And if that happens quickly on the timescale you are considering, the law of mass action is good. No mumbo-jumbo about thermodynamic equilibrium.

      • Nick Stokes, 7/21 0857

        ?Why? Who said?”

        Why? Because that is the state of the art. Some scientific arts are stuck in the linear world, and stuck in equilibrium.

        Who said? Are you serious? I had just given you the citation immediately preceding the quote you made, and following it said, Note a couple of things. You are not reading in context.

        “The use of equilibrium relations is simple.”

        You’ve gone back to the hammer and nails analogy. Science has no objection to a scientist sticking equations into his work willy-nilly, but if he stops there no one will take him seriously. The scientist needs to show that his equations are applicable, compliant with their derivation. He needs to show that his equations produce results, specifically predictions of future observations, which can be tested (a hypothesis) or which have been tested successfully (a theory).

      • Jeff G,
        “But what IPCC doesn’t report is
        ‘within the surface boundary layer of the ocean gas exchange atmosphere-ocean. the seawater carbonate chemistry deviates appreciably from equilibrium.’ “

        But what you didn’t report is the next sentence:
        “It can be shown that a time-dependent description of the carbonate system is indispensable when time scales smaller than 90 s are involved (length scale of the diffusive boundary layer ~10^-4 m)”.

        There’s not much of the ocean in that boundary layer.

      • Nick Stokes, 7/21 @3_04 am

        You quote me accurately re the ocean surface boundary layer from Zeebe, but then slip off the tracks by saying,

        “But what you didn’t report is the next sentence: … “, referring to “the diffusive boundary layer of ~10-4 m”, to which you add “There’s not much of the ocean in that boundary layer.”.

        Of course. You discovered not an error of omission, but the reason for not including the exception. The omission was recognition that the diffuse layer is highly irrelevant to the OSBL and the thermodynamics of climate. The heat capacity of the OSBL is about 10^6 as large as that in the diffusive boundary layer, as shown with this definition:

        “The turbulent mixing in thin ocean surface boundary layers (OSBL), which occupy the upper 100 m or so of the ocean, control the exchange of heat and trace gases between the atmosphere and ocean.” Bold added, Belcher, et al., “A global perspective on Langmuir turbulence in the ocean surface boundary layer”, abstract, 9/12/12.

        So where Zeebe hypothesizes his chemical equilibrium equations apply is in the layer one tenth of a millimeter deep. Where he explains they don’t apply is in the OSBL, commonly called the surface layer or the mixed layer, identified as the region gas (and heat) exchange occurs.

        The equations don’t apply in the mixed layer because it “deviates appreciably from equilibrium”. Unfortunately, Zeebe writes about equilibrium as if it were a metric, and that may be confusing. No distance function exists by which to order processes on an equilibrium/disequilibrium scale. IPCC makes the same kind of mistake writing about “highly nonlinear” and “strongly nonlinear” processes. A linear relation follows a first order equation; a nonlinear process does not.

      • Jeff,
        “You quote me accurately re the ocean surface boundary layer from Zeebe, but then slip off the tracks by saying,”

        Well, you truncated the quote at both ends. Here’s a bit more:
        “For example, within the microenvironment of
        marine plankton or within the surface boundary layer of the ocean (gas exchange atmosphere-ocean) the seawater carbonate
        chemistry deviates appreciably from equilibrium. It can be shown that a time-dependent description of the carbonate system is indispensable when time scales smaller than 90 s are involved (length scale of the diffusive boundary layer ~10^-4 m)”

        He’s talking about the micro-environment of plankton. He doesn’t mention the top 100m anywhere – you introduced that. In the text he says:
        “While a description by equilibrium properties is reasonable for most of the mentioned phenomena an analogous treatment of processes on small time and length scales is inadequate. On small length scales (diffusive boundary layer ≤10^-2 m) where the transport or the supply of chemical substances is not governed by advection or turbulent mixing (Lazier and Mann, 1989), chemical conversion and diffusion are the dominant mechanisms.”
        Top cm, not 100m. You have it the wrong way around.

        I should have disputed your thermodynamic equilibrium claim further. You gave a quote where Zeebe was talking about Henry’s law, not the laws of mass action. Yes, that relates to the surface transport, and as Zeebe says elsewhere, applied to the diffusive boundary layer. But this post is about the sea-water chemistry, once the CO2 is in solution. That is where the law of mass action is used, correctly.

      • Apparently I made it too difficult. Here it is by the numbers.

        1. Zeebe et al. (1998) identifies two regions in which “the seawater carbonate chemistry deviates appreciably from equilibrium.” These are “the microenvironment of marine plankton” and “the surface boundary layer of the ocean (gas exchange atmosphere-ocean)”. The latter is the OSBL, and it is distinct from a micro-environment.

        2. IPCC: “Equilibration of surface ocean and atmosphere occurs on a time scale of roughly one year. … The magnitudes and uncertainties in local gas exchange rates are maximal at high wind speeds. In contrast, the equilibrium values for partitioning of CO2 between air and seawater and associated seawater pH values are well established (Zeebe and Wolf-Gladrow, 2001; see Box 7.3)”. Bold added, AR4, ¶7.3.4.1 Overview of the Ocean Carbon Cycle, p. 528.

        3. IPCC’s equation 7.1 in Box 7.3 is Z&W-G (2001), Chapter 1: Equilibrium, eq. 1.1.4, p. 3. IPCC’s equation 7.2 in Box 7.3 is its eq. 7.1 to which (a) CO3(–) is added to the first two terms, and for the third term, (b) “H+ then reacting with CO3(–) to form a second HCO3(-) ion”. Reaction (b) is the top equation in Wolff-Gladrow (2006) cited earlier, slide 4, which is part of “The carbonate system: equilibrium”, id., slide 3.

        4. According to the authors, these are all equilibrium relations assumed to apply to the surface ocean, where gas exchange occurs. The layer is called the surface boundary layer of the ocean by one source, and the “surface ocean” by another. In the literature, the OSBL has even more names, but it is nominally 100 m thick, varying with wind speed (making it turbulent, mixed, and of course not equilibrated) and latitude. It’s maximum is 30 m in the Equatorial band, 60 m in the mid latitudes, and ranging around 120 m in the Antarctic. See Deng, et al., Coupling winds to ocean surface currents over the global ocean, 2009, Figure 3f, p. 264. However, you could guess that the OSBL is much thicker than 100 microns because IPCC says the assumed equilibration would take a year.

        5. The formulas are uncoupled from whatever happens in the diffuse surface layer requiring 90 seconds (Zeebe (1998)) in a layer 0.0001 meters thick.

        6. The solution to the equilibrium equations is the Bjerrum plot, where the various concentrations depend on OSBL pH. Zeebe (1999), Figure 1.1.2, p. 5. Without mentioning Bjerrum, it is IPCC’s source to rely on “associated seawater pH”, above.

        7. Zeebe’s notice that the OSBL deviates appreciably from equilibrium alerts scientists not to rely on the equilibrium carbonate equations in the mixed layer, which IPCC and Climate Etc. posters do.

      • Jeff, OK, by numbers:
        1. “These are “the microenvironment of marine plankton” and “the surface boundary layer of the ocean (gas exchange atmosphere-ocean)”. The latter is the OSBL, and it is distinct from a micro-environment.”
        No, it is not. You have no evidence for that. There is no multi-meter scale quoted in the paper. He says explicitly in the quote that he is talking about a layer of “gas exchange atmosphere-ocean”. There’s no gas exchange from 100 m depth.

        Here’s an explicit para in full:
        “While a description by equilibrium properties is reasonable for most of the mentioned phenomena an analogous treatment of processes on small time and length scales is inadequate. On small length scales (diffusive boundary layer ≤10^-2 m) where the transport or the supply of chemical substances is not governed by advection or turbulent mixing (Lazier and Mann, 1989), chemical conversion and diffusion are the dominant mechanisms. The characteristic time scale of diffusion can be estimated by τ=l^2/D, where l is the length scale (m) of the boundary layer and D~10^-9 m2/s is the diffusion coefficient of the dissolved chemical species. With the typical length scale of the diffusive boundary layer of gas exchange at the ocean-atmosphere interface (0.3–1.5×10^-4 m (Emerson, 1995.) or of larger marine plankton such as aggregates or foraminifera (3×10^-4 m ) Wolf-Gladrow et al., 1999)) one obtains a characteristic time scale of 1–90 s. Since the establishment of chemical equilibrium is of the same order of magnitude (as will be shown in this paper) processes faster than this cannot be adequately described by a time-independent consideration.”

        He’s using molecular diffusivities! That’s not going to work in the top 100m. It’s all in mm and seconds. Microscale.

        2. ” IPCC: Equilibration of surface ocean and atmosphere occurs on a time scale of roughly one year”
        You were taking IPCC to task for ignoring Zeebe, remember? But this is a matter of transport processes, not chemical kinetics, as the numerous references to wind speeds etc show. All of Zeebe’s kinetic timescales are in the <90 sec range.

        3,5,6. So?

        4,7. More on OSBL. That’s not what he’s talking about.

      • Your citation is an early introduction to the paper, which the authors restrict to microenvironments where diffusivity might be applied. Diffusivity fails in the surface layer not because it is thick, but because it is in disequilibrium.

        Diffusivity applies on the microscale because models on that scale are not affected by advection or turbulence. The paper excludes the OSBL because it is dominated by advection and turbulence, among other processes that perpetually keep it in disequilibrium. That layer does not, as IPCC claims, equilibrate on a time scale of a year or any other length of time.

        As the authors say in the abstract previously quoted for you, “within the surface boundary layer of the ocean (gas exchange atmosphere-ocean) the seawater carbonate chemistry deviates appreciably from equilibrium” That layer is the OSBL.

        It contradicts your negative assertion. Yes, it is distinct. And the evidence is in the paper, in the restriction of the known carbonate chemistry to equilibrium, and in the authors’ explicit warning. The evidence exists. It also comes from thermodynamics which defines equilibrium to exclude the surface layer of the ocean, whatever name you choose for it.

        Carbonate chemistry in the surface layer does not buffer against CO2 uptake. The surface layer, not the atmosphere, is a buffer holding any additional CO2.

      • I was on vacation last week and missed your latest act of willful stupidity.
        May one ask why you think that atmospheric CO2 is in ‘equilibrium’ with the atmosphere when the ocean isn’t in equilibrium with itself, with respect to depth?
        You do know that plant life absorbs photons and CO2, which is buffered by inorganic carbonate, and convert it to organic carbon.
        Waste products and dead biotic fall in depth and are oxidized all the way down, both aerobically (until all the water column is anaerobic) and anaerobically (utilizing Mn or Fe orSulphate/Sulphide or nitrate/nitrite as electon acceptors).
        Organic carbon is made at the surface from CO2 and falls to the depths, like snow. It is then converted to methane/CO2/Carbonates and makes its way up.
        Why the hell do you think that CO2 is in ‘equilibrium’ at the surface when O2/DIC/Sulphate/Sulphide/Methane/Nitrite/Nitrate/Ammonia or indeed any biotic species are not? Seriously, with the possible exception of noble gasses and nitrogen, NOTHING is in or near to chemical equilibrium.
        However, as you have a problem with understanding this lift thing, here is a little crib sheet

        With hv:-

        CO2 + H2O + MAGIC —-> -(CH2O)- + O2

        No hv:-
        -(CH2O)- + O2 + MAGIC —-> CO2 + H2O

        Have a look at your ‘near equilibrium’, work out why the surface of the oceans are denuded of inorganic carbon and rich in organic carbon.

        read about the bios and look at the profiles of BIOTIC changes in BIOTIC gasses like O2/CO2/H2S.

        http://www-odp.tamu.edu/publications/201_SR/synth/syn_f2.htm

        http://www-odp.tamu.edu/publications/201_SR/synth/syn_f3.htm

        Equilibrium, stick your head in the oven and your feet in the freezer, and you should be at ‘near-equilibrium’.

      • Right Nick,

        Just as he knows what he is talking about concerning pH change in the Pacific Northwest.

        The change in pH is real. The impact to the oyster industry is real. What is not real is solid evidence the change is the result of human CO2 emissions. I find it almost mind blowing how researchers are able to focus on just one “possible” factor and ignore or offer just passing lip service to other factors. They are fully aware of upwelling cold water currents off the coast. They are fairly sure these currents change. What they don’t know is how they change, when they change or how the changes impact overall pH. Instead research assumes the change is due to CO2 emissions.

        Here are a couple of interesting questions:

        1) If you don’t know or can’t quantify the amount of CO2 contributed by upwelling currents, how can you determine the percentage increase is due to human emissions?

        2) Since the pH change only impacts shell fish at the larva stage, west coast producers have come up with the solution of shipping their larva to Hawaii. After the first few weeks, they have developed enough to accommodate NW waters. Do, since CO2 concentrations have a global impact, why is it Hawaiian waters are not experiencing the same problems? Could it have something to do with upwelling currents?

      • Knowing, how much other factors than higher atmospheric CO2 concentration contribute may be difficult, but knowing the influence of higher atmospheric CO2 concentration when also other important quantities related to ocean chemistry are measured is not that difficult.

        A comparison of the directly measured changes in pH and changes of pH calculated from other empirically measured quantities is one way of seeing, how everything fits nicely together. From this more complete analysis of the situation the influence of additional CO2 can be estimated reliably – for that particular location.

        The above applies directly to the best known case near Havaii. There are many more relevant measurements of ocean chemical composition than direct measurements of pH. Something can be concluded from those, but it remains certainly true and acknowledged by marine scientists that much more data is needed to get a full picture of all parts of oceans.

      • Pekka,

        So how do you determine whether upwelling currents or atmospheric concentrations are the source of CO2 driving the change? Do they come with name tags or wear a uniform to tell them apart?

        I use to do root cause analysis related to component failures at a nuclear power plant. From what I’ve followed on the subject related to NW oyster issues, it appears that the root cause was first selected with research then focused on finding evidence for it. That is backwards from how the analysis is suppossed to work.

    • David Springer

      Jeff Glassman | July 19, 2013 at 2:43 pm | Reply

      “1. Human CO2 emissions at about 6 GtC/yr enter the atmosphere to mix with natural emissions”

      You should have have stopped right there and conceded the point, Jeff. Everything else you wrote on that point reeks of prevarication. While technically true it’s exceedingly weak and does more harm than good to bother bringing it up.

      “2. The basis for the model for acidification applies the carbonate chemical equations of equilibrium. No part of the climate is in equilibrium, including specifically the surface layer of the ocean.”

      Yes but the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics dictates the system move towards equilibrium, or greatest entropy, absent anything driving it away. This statement that the ocean surface isn’t in equilibrium just comes off as argumentative and irrelevant.

      “CO2 dissolves according to Henry’s Law and Henry’s Coefficient for CO2 in water. That coefficient depends primarily on temperature, secondarily on salinity, and perhaps to some degree lost in the noise on isotopic weight. It does not depend on the pH of the water.”

      It certainly depends on the partial pressure of CO2 impinging on the water’s surface and the amount of CO2 dissolved in the water already. I’m beginning to think you don’t know WTF you are talking about.

      “The chemical equations of equilibrium do not apply. CO2 is neither especially long-lived nor well-mixed.”

      Long lived? How long has there been CO2 in the atmosphere? Billions of years I believe is the correct answer. You already stated carbon atoms don’t wear individual name tags identifying their source so it seems like CO2 in the atmosphere is practically forever.

      Impeaching “well-mixed” is semantic at best. There’s no practical difference in CO2 partial pressure over the ocean surface that doesn’t average out to zero over a year. Predictability and stability of well mixed CO2 across the globe extends vertically in the atmosphere as well.

      I’m pretty certain at this point you’re parrotting very poor to simply wrong counterpoints. Do you publish on Principia Scientific by any chance?

      “The ocean is not acidifying because of human activity.”

      Beyond reasonable doubt it certainly is acidifying. The question is by how much and to what effect. The answer to the first is very little and the answer to the second is unknown. The effect is so small and poorly investigated even guessing whether the outcome is a net negative or positive is a value judgement. The positive effects of fossil fuel production are legion at least to humans and domestic animals. How do we measure the value in being able to feed 7 billion humans (more or less) and a billion dogs, cats, horses, a billion head of cattle, etc. against possibly damaging a coral reef? Some will say you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet. Some will say the broken eggs should be people not exotic sea life that is so dependent on a perfect pH that the next supervolcano that comes along will make them extinct.

      In reality nature is more adaptable than you might think. Ocean pH has been a great deal lower in the evolutionarily recent past. Atmospheric CO2 has been hugely larger as well. In fact that’s the norm and the past few million years is a very rare cold period. The way evolution works is that there is, waiting in the wings in small numbers through recessive genes, pre-adaptations to all the normal conditions life has experienced over evolutionary spans of time. These recessive genes come to the fore very quickly when needed. Given evolution over the past 500 million years when virtually all modern emerged and radiated largely occurred while the planet had no polar ice caps and atmospheric CO2 up to ten times current level, and the planet was green from pole to pole, and life did so well it was able to sequester huge amounts of energy in fossil fuel beds. It’s reasonable to argue that, on a values basis regarding all life equally, the optimum climate is the one the warmists want to move away from. I call them “ice huggers”. I’m actually the greenie. I’d like to see the earth green from pole to pole and the way to get there appears to require a phuckava lot more CO2 and a lot less ice.

      • David,

        “Everything else you wrote on that point reeks of prevarication. While technically true it’s exceedingly weak and does more harm than good to bother bringing it up.”

        Don’t you just hate it when someone prevaricates with the truth?
        You are correct that what I wrote is exceedingly weak. I’ve barely touched on all the errors and fraud in AGW. We just have to pick away at it, one point at a time.

        “[T]he 2nd Law of Thermodynamics dictates the system move towards equilibrium, … “.

        IF the system is isolated. The surface layer is not. Thermodynamics has little tolerance for amateurish dabbling, and climate is a thermodynamic problem.

        “It [Henry’s Law] certainly depends on … the amount of CO2 dissolved in the water already.

        No. Not at all. The amount of CO2 dissolved depends only on the temperature and salinity of the water, and someday we may learn that it depends ever so slightly on isotopic weights.

        ” I’m beginning to think you don’t know [profanity deleted] you are talking about.”

        Uh huh.

        “Long lived? How long has there been CO2 in the atmosphere? Billions of years I believe is the correct answer.”

        That is not what long lived means. It refers to the following:

        “Turnover time (T) (also called global atmospheric lifetime) is the ratio of the mass M of a reservoir (e.g., a gaseous compound in the atmosphere) and the total rate of removal S from the reservoir: T = M / S. For each removal process, separate turnover times can be defined. In soil carbon biology, this is referred to as Mean Residence Time.” AR4, Glossary, p. 948.

        As of AR4, the atmosphere contained M = 762 Gt of carbon in the form of CO2. It was being removed at the rate of S = 212.4 Gt/yr. That makes T = 3.6 years. If you add to S the 270 GtC/yr for leaf water from the TAR, then T = 1.58 years. Lifetime is the mean time of molecules in the reservoir.

        That formula is IPCC’s formula from its Glossaries, but one never used in the mainbody of TAR or AR4, and instead contradicted.

        However, it is not uniquely IPCC’s. It’s the problem of emptying a leaky bucket from first year high school physics. IPCC says,

        “Carbon dioxide cycles between the atmosphere, oceans and land biosphere. Its removal from the atmosphere involves a range of processes with different time scales. About 50% of a CO2 increase will be removed from the atmosphere within 30 years, and a further 30% will be removed within a few centuries. The remaining 20% may stay in the atmosphere for many thousands of years. AR4, Executive Summary, The Carbon Cycle and Climate, p. 501.

        That section was co-authored by David Archer, PhD, Professor, Computational Ocean Chemist. He wrote, “The mean lifetime of fossil fuel CO2 is about 30-35 kyr.” Archer, D. (2005), Fate of fossil fuel CO2 in geologic time, J. Geophys. Res., 110, p. 11. That’s true but for very small values of k (in kyr). IPCC cited Archer’s 2005 paper several times in AR4, Ch. 7, but 35,000 years was a bit too long for even an IPCC editor to swallow. Those citations include this:

        “Due to the slow CaCO3 buffering mechanism (and the slow silicate weathering), atmospheric pCO2 will approach a new equilibrium asymptotically only after several tens of thousands of years (Archer, 2005; Figure 7.12).” AR4, ¶7.3.4.2, p. 531.

        That needs qualification. It will never reach thermodynamic equilibrium, the kind of equilibrium specified and necessary, as in Henry’s Law, the carbonate equations, and the 2d Law. So the time to reach thermodynamic equilibrium is infinite. On the other hand, it will reach a dynamic equilibrium as far as we know on about the timescale required for a bottle of freshly opened soda to go stale. In other words, instantaneously on weather scales, much less climate scales. (Remember, I’m now talking about the time now for the surface layer to equilibrate, not the lifetime of a CO2 molecule in the atmosphere.)

        That’s how we must expose the fraud of AGW: one little point at a time. But it’s a fertile field to plow.

  6. I wonder what Murry Salby would say about Doney’s paper.

    • Salby would whine. Or it’s like asking what Claes Johnson would think.

      • David Springer

        I think we might agree on at least on the notion that anthropogenic activity is causing atmospherice CO2 to rise and it’s well mixed. Of course we’ll irrevocably depart on whether the rise is a good thing or a bad thing when all things are considered. Personally I think the earth’s normal state of no polar ice caps is the best configuration for living things. Since that’s not the state it’s in now in this instance that makes me the progressive and you the conservative. My irony meter peggeth.

    • Salby would disagree with both Doney and Idso, because they both say carbon is going into the ocean, not coming out as Salby says. He is a bit of an outsider in this topic of the carbon cycle and even the Heartland “skeptics” seem to have disowned him.

  7. “30% more acidic”
    That’s about the same thing as 1% less basic.

    “Twice nothing is still nothing.” – Cyrano Jones

    • Weather, n. The climate of an hour. A permanent topic of conversation among persons whom it does not interest, but who have inherited the tendency to chatter about it from naked arboreal ancestors, whom it keenly concerned. The setting up of official weather bureaus and their maintenance in mendacity prove that even government are accessible to suasion by the rude forefathers of the jungle.

      Once I dipped into the future far as human eye could see,
      And I saw the Chief Forecaster, dead as any one can be–
      Dead and damned and shut in Hades as a liar from his birth,
      With a record of unreason seldom paralleled on earth.
      While I looked he reared him solemnly, that incandescent youth,
      From the coals that he’d preferred to the advantages of truth.
      He cast his eyes about him and above him; then he wrote
      For I read it in the rose light of the everlasting glow:
      “Cloudy, variable winds, with local showers; cooler; snow.
      Halcyon Jones.

      H/t Ambrose B., TDD.
      ==============

    • On a good day in my lab, the uncertainty in my pH readings is about +/- 0.03 pH units. That’s the best it ever gets. However, I know from experience that problems with equilibration of the solution and separately with the pH probe itself can often lead to uncertainties of up to +/- 0.1 pH units. My students may record the number at time to the nearest 0.01 units, but I always round them to the nearest 0.1 units. “Knowing” the pH 55 million years ago is a joke. There would have to be large error bars on the numbers. Even today using a better pH meter than mine, you need to report error bars. SInce the ocean is a huge dynamic solution, the pH will probably not stay steady for minutes at a time. This needs to be expressed with error bars greater than that reported by the instrument manufacturer. So pH 8.2 +/- (??) from 200 years ago and pH +/- (??) from one spot in the ocean on a certain day at a certain time. Some studies have monitored ocean areas for longer periods of time and the pH fluctuates constantly. Does an average pH over some time frame mean anything? It would depend on how much the pH varied during the observation time. If it only varied by a few tenths of a unit, then yes. If it varies by 4-5 pH units, not at all. The range over what period of time should be reported no matter what as this is critical information.

      • Don’t feel alone in your concern about naive accuracy claims. Few people seem to understand the care and difficulties involved in obtaining accurate, repeatable measurements. Tree rings and oxygen isotopes providing accuracies of hundredths or thousands of a degree? Sure! We just average a bunch of them and that will cancel our the noise in the readings and make them more accurate! Whoever makes that claim should be forced to work in an instrument calibration lab for a few weeks. That would likely temper their confidence.

  8. “30% more acidic” is misdirection as acidity is not measured by concentration, but by pH, pH = -log[H+], the negative log of the proton concentration.

    Furthermore, ocean pH has barely changed and is still within the normal historical range. Suggesting that it has is dishonest. And, if pH drops, the water becomes less basic as the pH is still around 8 on the basic side of neutrality on the pH scale.

    And, seawater is a complex buffer solution and carbonic acid a very weak acid that simply cannot overcome the buffer. Buffers resist pH changes, Regardless, as CO2 has been much higher during most of the preceding 600 million years, life has no problem with high CO2 and any effects it might have on pH.

    And, photosynthesis is an alkalizing process such that the pH in a bay or estuary can go from 8 to almost 11 and back again in the course of a sunny day. This is caused by living things that clearly have more resilience and metabolic strength than warmists want to admit.

    And lastly, CO2 to carbonic acid to bicarbonate to carbonate to calcium carbonate (CaCO3) is one long equilibrium that would be pushed towards more CaCO3 deposition as CO2 rises. Ocean water is already being essentially saturated with CaCO3, more CO2 would favor more CaCO3 coming out of solution. Also, the protons (or acidity) released by carbonic acid to form carbonate can have no effect on itself. The products of an equilibrium cannot change that equilibrium. Only an outside source of protons can do that, such as sulfuric or hydrochloric acids.

    The Cliffs of Dover, 100s of feet high and solid calcium carbonate, were built by living organisms when CO2 was 5 to 10 times higher than now. Life thrives on high CO2. It’s PLANT FOOD. There is no downside to CO2.

    And, by the way, warming oceans would mean more deposition and more coral reefs as CaCO3 is less soluble in warm water than cold water, the reverse of the way most salts behave. It is cooling oceans that threaten the reefs, as they would begin to dissolve instead of tending to concrete together as they do today.

    • Bill Norton

      You seem to know something about this subject. How exactly does one calculate a “30% rise in acidity” in the ocean?

      • I am a biochemist and marine biologist.

        The pH system is a logarithmic scale which means that the molar concentration of H+, protons or [H+], in the water is converted to its log value and given a negative sign, pH = -log[H+]. For example, the concentration of pure water is 1 times 10 to the minus 7 (1 x 10^-7, the “^” means “to the power of”), so the log of this number is -7 and the negative of a negative is positive, -(-7) = 7 = pH.

        So, let’s go the other way around. Say the ocean pH is 8.1 and drops to 8.0 for a change of 0.1 pH units. To alter this back to concentration, you take 10 to the negative pH, 10^(-pH). For a 0.1 pH change it would be (10^0.1) = 0.26, which is round up 0.30 or 30% change.

        This a cute little trick he does, talking about concentration rather than pH, as he gets to talk of bigger, more alarming numbers. However, chemistry and particularly the ocean buffer system is best described in pH.

        Organisms have metabolic energy that they use to control their interior pH. It is ingenuous to assume that small changes in pH are going to be wantonly lethal—organisms have a range of pH , O2, salinity, and temperature tolerance.

        As CO2 has been 4 to 10 times higher than now over the vast majority of the last 600 million years, they clearly have the ability to handle any changes CO2 might impose, as, from their point of view, it’s plant food not pollution. They clearly have the power to thrive in very high CO2.

        By the way, those high levels would not bother humans either, as we evolved through those higher CO2 times. Office buildings often run at 10 times today’s CO2 of 400 ppm, at 5000 ppm, submarines operate at 8000 ppm and concert halls often reach 15,000 ppm.

        The political agenda set back in the 1970s was to demonize CO2 using unproven, junk science and, knowing that we cannot stop using carbon-based fuels, commandeer our energy while claiming to save the planet. HE WHO CONTROL THE ENERGY CONTROLS THE WORLD.

      • higley,

        But David Arpell is a journalist, so he obviously is more informed on the subject than you or any of the rest of us.

  9. Good lord, I am going to get some popcorn.

    So many posts already that are so wrong.

    At least Judy is alright with the term ocean acidification.

    The word for today is amphoteric, guys look it up, write it down, there will be a quiz.

    • De-alkalinization has a nice aroma to it, with fruity afternotes. Forty Mule Team UnBorax.
      ================

      • If you have a known solution of acid or of base, there is no known chemical compound that you can add to it that will neutralize it.

    • Bob, I am vaguely familiar with complex organic molecules, whihc have both acidic and basic radicals. I assume these would be classified as “amphoric”. But what on earth does this have to do with the pH of the oceans?

    • Latimer Alder

      @bob droege

      ‘If you have a known solution of acid or of base, there is no known chemical compound that you can add to it that will neutralize it.’

      Umm. Unless I have missed some very subtle point, this is bollox.

      Example: Strong solution of hydrochloric acid. Add equivalent amount of sodium hydroxide and you get a neutral (if salty) solution

      HCl + NaOH –> H2O + NaCl

      I can think of no acid or base that cannot be similarly neutralised.

      Please explain your point.

      • Latimer, think titration, in order to neutralize, you have to know the exact amount.
        The point being, as CO2 is added to the oceans, there is nothing that will stop it at pH of 7, so neutralization is not what is happening.

      • Latimer Alder

        @bob droege

        Sure I can think titration I’ve even been known to do a few in my time. But you don’t have to know much reagent you need – you find that out as part of the titration method.

        What’s going to stop it at pH7.0?

        Nothing at all. Because we will never get there anyway.

        . It’ll stop when we’ve burnt all the known free carbon. And at that point (IIRC) the pH on even the most pessimistic/aggressive theories wil be about 7.5.

        We should not use the term ‘acidification’ because it suggests to the general public an acidic ocean. And we now that this will never be achieved.

        This is not a difficult point to grasp. That climatologists are so reluctant to grasp it suggests to me that they have a motive other than accuracy in wishing the public to have this view.

      • > We should not use the term ‘acidification’ because it suggests to the general public an acidic ocean.

        Another claim from an armchair linguist, an armchair linguist that keeps yapping about more empirical data on stuff.

      • Latimer Alder

        @willard

        No ‘armchair linguist’ here.

        I checked in the dictionaries a while back and they are pretty unanimous that ‘to acidiy’ means ‘to make acid’. Not ‘to make less alkaline’. The result of acidification is something that is acidic.

        If you have other citations, please quote them.

      • David Springer

        willard (@nevaudit) | July 20, 2013 at 2:32 pm |

        “Another claim from an armchair linguist, an armchair linguist that keeps yapping about more empirical data on stuff.”

        No, that would be a claim based upon a dictionary. Versus whatever the phuck it is Willard uses for a reference, which is, I suspect, Willard’s imagination.

      • > No, that would be a claim based upon a dictionary.

        Here’s was the claim:

        > We should not use the term ‘acidification’ because it suggests to the general public an acidic ocean.

        One does not simply find an effect on the general public in a dictionary, Big Dave.

        Right that down.

      • > If you have other citations, please quote them.

        Here you go:

        Not all foods are uniformly alkalizing, acidifying, or acid. For example, both rice and millet are acidifying foods, but millet is much more acidifying than rice. To fine-tune an optimal diet, we need to refine these classifications.

        http://www.phionbalance.com/acid-alkaline-information-articles/acidic-foods/classifying-the-acidification-potential-of-foods

        One has to wonder why there’s an alternative between being “being acidifying” and “being acid”.

        When hearing about acidification, chefs around the world are envisioning oceans turning into salad dressing.

      • willard,

        More dancing angels on a pin head arguments from you to convince us your comprehension of the English language is superior?

        Personally I’m not all that caught up in the terminology. If people want to use the term acidification, fine. But don’t insult us by trying to avoid the fact there are those whose use of the term is meant to imply “something very, very bad.” That you can reasonably argue for use of the term does not change the fact the average reader will see it and think the oceans are turning to acid.

      • Next time you meet the average reader, timg56, say hi from me.

        Then tell him what he should believe.

    • Acidification is ok, but normal folks are scared by the word “acid”. They often don’t know what “basic” is. I saw what you wrote below and neutralization is no more wrong than acidification. You are moving the solution closer to neutrality even if you never reach it. You will reach neutrality long before you reach acid conditions. (Ok, maybe shortly before as you could call 6.99 acidic). Debasification sounds funny. Simply saying a reduction in pH is completely accurate (or possible reduction) but the average person may not understand pH either. So, acidification may be the best we can do, even though it is misleading. HCO3- is amphoteric as well. Can act as an acid or a base. HCO3- is part of the buffering system. Do any of the marine organisms use a transporter to import HCO3- into the cell? DO they make the CaCO3 and excrete it or does it happen outside of their cells? If it happens inside the cell or in an inter-membrane space and the cells import HCO3-, then the concentration gradient would tend to drive the import of HCO3- (unless it is co-transport with an OH- ion which I have never heard of) which might tend to increase the ability to form CaCO3. As usual, the deeper you look, the more complicated these processes are and no one is “certain” of the actual effect as no one has studied it for long enough or thoroughly enough.

  10. Scott Scarborough

    For those of you who wonder what “30% more acidic” means. Punch in 1.3 in your calculator and hit the “LOG” button. The resulting number is the reduction in PH equivalent to being “30% more acidic.” it’s about 0.11 PH reduction.

    • k scott denison

      Yup. Now, if someone will just supply the evidence that shows pH of the ocean surface has dropped 0.11 on the pH scale we will have verified Mr. Doney’s assertion.

      I won’t hold my breath.

      • Actually, there is an ocean station off Mauna Loa that has been logging atmospheric CO2 (which mirrors Mauna Loa itself), dissolved ocean surface CO2 (Henry’s Law), and resultant ocean pH. At least at that location in the Pacific, the measured decline in pH is from about 8.15 to 8.08 over now about 25 years. The accepted, no factual disputed number since1900 based on addition evidence is a decline from 8.2. So the estimate is right when converting from a log to a liner scale for added ‘scare factor emphasis. You can access non-paywalled summary data at the NOAA PMEL Carbon Group website.

        Now you can breathe out again.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Now this is a La Nina.

        The Hawaii station – as well as the Washington State station – are affected by ocean upwelling.

      • k scott denison

        Yeah, because one data set in one location tells us a lot.

    • Scott, I am not sure I understand. Are you saying that if the pH changes fro 8.5 to 7.5, the result is 10 times more acidic?

      • Do we have to discuss the pH is the negative log of the hydrogen ion concentration lesson plan?

      • Ten times more H+ ions is ten times more acidic, so yes.

      • Latimer Alder

        But seawater at pH 7.5 is still emphatically an alkaline, not an acidic solution. Anything with a pH greater than 7.0 is alkaline.

        And nobody has suggested that there will ever be sufficient CO2 emissions (just not enough carbon around) to ever turn the oceans acidic.

        The common usages of ‘acidify; are:

        ‘to make acidic’,

        ‘to make or become acid';

        ‘convert into an acid’,

        ‘to become an acid or to make something become an acid’

        So, while the ‘acidifiers’ may be technically correct using the definition of pH, their unqualified term is misleading to the general public. The oceans are not ‘acidifying’ in the commonly accepted usage.

        Seems to me that to a general audience they have an obligation to explain that their usage is substantially different – and carries very different connotations – from the common one.

        But they never do. One might speculate why.

      • This is about using fear and guilt to manipulate people and it doesn’t work if it’s too obvious. We’ve known that since we invented fear and guilt.
        =================

      • The pH scale measure the level of the H+ concentration (acidity). That is what the H in the name means. Lower pH = more H+ = more acidity. If you want alkalinity, you measure the level of a negative ion, and don’t use pH.

      • Latimer, you have no excuse to keep dwelling on the terminology, and I have already posted cites that say changing the pH far less than the strawman point of a pH of 7 is bad, but here’s more.

        Bad for coral

        http://www.pnas.org/content/107/47/20400.abstract?sid=803c2486-4774-4b1f-a43b-8248597f6eb2

        bad for plankton

        http://www.pnas.org/content/105/48/18860.abstract?sid=803c2486-4774-4b1f-a43b-8248597f6eb2

        we could go on and on

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘Southern Ocean acidification via anthropogenic CO2 uptake is expected to be detrimental to multiple calcifying plankton species by lowering the concentration of carbonate ion (CO32−to levels where calcium carbonate (both aragonite and calcite) shells begin to dissolve. Natural seasonal variations in carbonate ion concentrations could either hasten or dampen the future onset of this undersaturation of calcium carbonate. We present a large-scale Southern Ocean observational analysis that examines the seasonal magnitude and variability CO32− and pH. Our analysis shows an intense wintertime minimum in CO32− south of the Antarctic Polar Front and when combined with anthropogenic CO2 uptake is likely to induce aragonite undersaturation when atmospheric CO2 levels reach ≈450 ppm.’

        One is a meso-scale (or micro-scale) experiment and one depends on assumptions about carbonate limits that don’t seem to be real. Living organisms are likely to resist dissolution and dead organisms not. Counteracting the carbonate ion formation by dissolution of lime.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        The oceans shouldn’t acidify at all – there should be a reduction in the supersaturtion of calcium carbonate polymorphs as the next step in a process.

      • Latimer Alder

        @bob droege

        ‘Latimer, you have no excuse to keep dwelling on the terminology’

        Le me rephrase that for you

        ” ‘Scientists’ have no excuse to continue to use terminology that is misleading to general (i.e not physical chemistry specialist) audiences without explaining the important difference between the technical and popular meanings and the implications thereof.”

        Were I cynical, I might wonder if the ‘scientists’ deliberately chose not to make this point as it would considerably ‘descarify’ their brand. Perish the thought!

      • Talking about acidification of the oceans is as intentionally misleading (dishonest) as referring to CO2 as carbon, and referring to CO2 as pollution. All are intentionally dishonest, and being done for effect, i.e as part of a campaign of scaremongering.

      • Latimer Alder

        @jim cripwell

        Lets do the sums:

        At pH 8.5, the concentration of H+ (acid) ions is 3.2 x 10^-9 moles per litre *. And at pH 7.5 it is 3.2 x 10^-8 moles per litre.

        So it is trivially (and by definition) true that ‘if the pH changes from 8.5 to 7.5, the result is 10 times more acidic?

        But that is missing the elephant in the bathroom. Because acidic ions are not the only players involved. There are also alkaline (OH-) ions to be considered. Think of them as ying and yang. Acid/alkaline do not exist independently of one another. More alkaline = less acid and vice versa.

        Let’s do the same sums for the same solutions..but this time looking the alkaline ions.

        At pH 8.5, the concentration of OH- (alkaline) ions is 3.2 x 10^-6 moles per litre. And at 7.5 it is 3.2 x 10^-7 moles per litre.

        We can draw the following conclusions:

        At both pH 7.5 and 8.5 our solution is overwhelmingly alkaline. Acidic ions are in the minority. Both solutions display alkaline, not acidic chemistry.

        At pH 8.5 the alkaline ions are in the majority by 1000:1. At pH 7.5 it is 10:1. Not until pH 7.0 would be they in balance.

        Note that there are no suggestions from any source that there is enough free carbon in fossil fuels – even if they were all burnt to make CO2 – to even approach a pH level of 7.0. the oceans are, and will remain, alkaline, not acidic. Do not be fooled or misled by those who would like you to believe otherwise.

        *For those unsure, ‘moles per litre’ is chemistry-speak for what we think of as ‘concentration’.

      • Latimer Alder

        @jim d

        ‘The pH scale measure the level of the H+ concentration (acidity). That is what the H in the name means. Lower pH = more H+ = more acidity. If you want alkalinity, you measure the level of a negative ion, and don’t use pH’

        H’mm. Not even half true.

        You have forgotten the other side of the equation. Acidic hydrogen ions don’t come from nowhere…their other half is the alkaline hydroxyl ion

        H20 –> H+ + OH-

        And the way it works out is that (defining pOH in the same way as pH),

        pH + pOH = 14.

        So by measuring one (acid or alkali) we can calculate the other.

        Three other points..

        1.The lower the number the stronger the effect.
        2. The two are in balance (neutral) at pH=POH=7.
        3. The scale is logarithmic to base 10. So a difference of 1 unit represents a ten fold change in concentration.

        Example: Seawater at pH = 8.0.

        1. We can calculate pOH as 6.0 (8.0 + 6.0 =14).
        2. 6 represents 10^2 difference in concentration. So alkaline ions are 10^2 (=100) times more frequent than acid ions.

        Exercise to the reader: Do the same calculations for pH = 7.5. You will not need a calculator.

      • The word alkalinity has another meaning. It’s not used as the mirror image of acidity, and it’s not measured as 14-pH.

        You may read from Wikipedia, what’s the standard meaning given for the word alkalinity.

        The importance of the concept of alkalinity reflects another fact: The value of pH is not a simple and reliable measure of the changes in sea water chemistry caused by added CO2, when buffering is present (as it always is). It’s often more important to determine the remaining buffering capacity, and alkalinity goes in that direction. More than one number is, however, needed to describe fully the seawater chemistry.

      • Latimer,
        “At pH 8.5 the alkaline ions are in the majority by 1000:1. At pH 7.5 it is 10:1. Not until pH 7.0 would be they in balance.”
        H+ and OH- are not the important ions. They are both present in very small concentration. Far more important are CO3– and HCO3-, whose concentrations are orders of magnitude higher. pH 7 counts for nothing there.

      • Latimer Alder

        @nick stokes

        You keep pointng out that H+ (acidic) ions are not important to the procees but carbonate ions are.

        Fine.

        Let’s call the process ‘carbonation’ or something similar. But not ‘acidification’

      • Yes, the pH scale is logarithmic and the concentration of H+ (written as [H+] or [H3O+]) is 10 times greater if 1 pH unit lower.
        pH 7 is 1 x 10^-7 in [H+] and pH 8 is 1 x 10^-8 in [H+].

      • Following Latimer Alder’s suggestion, I don’t think the word carbonation gives any better public perception than acidification. Carbonating the ocean gives little cause for comfort when we know what carbonated drinks are.

      • CARBONATE ALL THE OCEANS!

      • Latimer,
        “Let’s call the process ‘carbonation’ or something similar. But not ‘acidification’”
        No, I also keep pointing out H+ is not the only acid – far from it. Adding CO2 leading to dissolution of CaCO3 to form bicarb is an acid-base reaction, properly described as acidification.

      • IPCC’s carbonate equations of equilibrium come from a 2001 paper by Zeebe and Wolf-Gladrow, which I cited earlier. A helpful companion piece to that paper is a slide presentation by Wolf-Gladrow, CO2 in Seawater: Equilibrium, Kinetics, Isotopes”, 6/24/2006. It explains how the solution to the equations depends on pH, not on (total) alkalinity. It also explains the differences between those two parameters and some of the problems with Total Alkalinity.

        IPCC relies on that solution in Z & W-G, which has pH as the independent variable. The solution is known as the Bjerrum plot, although IPCC never mentions Bjerrum.

        Wolf-Gladrow’s chart 15 points out some of the problems with using alkalinity. It says, (citations deleted)

        “‘I found at least 20 different definitions of alkalinity!'”

        “… alkalinity, one of the most central but perhaps not the best understood concepts in aquatic chemistry.”

        In this thread, Latimer suggests at 8:54 am,

        “Let’s call the process ‘carbonation’ or something similar. But not ‘acidification’.”

        However, Wolf-Gladrow’s chart 49 provides the following parenthetical definition:

        “… change of pH (‘acidification of the ocean’)”

        As long as we’re going to discuss and rely on equations that aren’t suitable to the application, maybe we could at least be consistent and use the vocabulary of the source. The fanciful, dreaded process is properly called acidification, and where it applies it depends on surface ocean pH, not alkalinity.

      • Latimer Alder

        @nick stokes

        ‘Adding CO2 leading to dissolution of CaCO3 to form bicarb is an acid-base reaction, properly described as acidification.’

        I’m not sure that Pres. Obama or the senators involved in the recent hearings immediately bring the subtlety of your distinction to mind…

        Of course I may be wrong

        Aide: ‘Mr President: There are some people here who think you need to worry about ocean acidification’

        Pres. Obama: Oh right. Let’s talk about it.

        ‘But before we begin can we just clarify which form of ‘acidification’ you are dealing with? Is it the high-school chemistry Bronsted-Lowry definition based on the pH scale? Or the more general Lewisian definition as discussed by Mr Stokes? And do you mean making the seas a little bit less alkaline, or really to make them actually acidic?

        Visitor: ‘Gosh Mr President, for a political scientist you seem to understand a lot of chemistry’

        Pres. Obama: ‘Of course I make Climate Etc and the fantastic discussions there my first point of call every morning. And as the President I view it as my duty to make entirely clear to the country exactly what is being described.

        I found Mr Alder’s testimony that ‘acidification’ can be an ambiguous and misleading term compelling and so we need to clear this matter up right from the get-go.

        Mr Chief of Staff – can you make sure that all the Senators are fully and accurately briefed on this matter too? I want there to be no confusion at all Thanks’

      • Latimer,
        “the subtlety of your distinction”

        Acidification is a technical term from chemistry, and that’s what it means. Your claim that acidifying only applies if pH<7 is no less technical. The difference is, it’s wrong.

        At pH values of 6,7,8 say, H+ has no direct effect. You can drink fluids in that range with no ill effect. But pH in a buffered solution is an indicator of something on a larger scale. A more abundant ion, which could do something, has a concentration more or less proportional. In this case it’s carbonate. 30% more H+ is nothing, but it means 30% less carbonate, through equilibrium relations, and that is significant for CaCO3 solubility.

        That’s why a blood pH of 7 is fatal. It isn’t the H+ ions, it’s the measure of bicarb lack. This means that the blood cannot transport CO2 at the rate that it is produced by the cells.

      • I consulted my racehorse doctor and he said that a blood ph of 7.0 is ‘often’ fatal.
        =================

      • If you can’t do the math, the switchman’s sleeping and train 102
        is on the wrong track and heading for you.

        pH is useful because the range in concentrations for the hydronium ion is so many orders of magnitude in solutions encountered in every day life.

        One needs to learn the math in order to have discussions of chemistry

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Oh please – the math is simple enough – and the letter seems quite correct but the error is just a minor glitch and not a hanging offence. Not correcting it seems shortsighted at best.

        It is not correct – but your pompous twittery Bob is offensive and uncalled for.

      • Lady in Red

        Thank you, Chief Hydrologist.

        Ah so do rely on the kindness of strangers. ….smile….

        ….Lady in Red

        PS: Frankly, the math bores me…. That’s why God made men? …smile… I pay attention only at the high altitudes. I like smart, have a good nose for that.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        I guess we must strike you as being a pretty rough bunch.

      • Chief,
        You realize that the cite the Lady in Red gave us gets the math awfully wrong? And this space cadet thinks you calling me an offensive twit gives a strong pulse on my irony meter, no pegging or asploding, just a strong signal well above the noise.

        Lady in Red, you may find the smart you like, but not from Anthony.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        The increase in the number of ‘protons’ is 26% I get but within the range of 10^0 to 10^-14 ‘protons’ the change is fairly minor and well within natural limits. Especially given the location of the sites usually given as proof of concept.

        Do you compare my responses to fools and would be bullies – who usually limit their trremarks to science free smarmy snarks – to your quite gratuitously silly, offensive and bullying behavior? Not the same thing at all.

        To take a streetcar named Desire, transfer to one called Cemeteries and ride six blocks and get off at — well who cares where you get off.

      • David Appell

        In other words, acidity has increased by 30%. QED

      • Heh, Quickly Ended Discussion, like the streetcar’s gone in one ear and out the other.
        =============

      • Chief,
        Well within natural limits is getting kind of old and tired, don’t you think, or maybe not, let’s have another anoxia event, just because we have had them before.
        And what is the natural pH range, surely you can constrain it better than between 10 and 14.

      • 0 and 14 that is

      • Chief Hydrologist

        I used a 0.1 change in pH. The change is minor and caused by changes in upwelling at the locations in the eastern Pacific usually cited.

        http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/oceanph_zpse95a06ff.jpg.html

        There are actually many anoxic zones – many of them off the US east coast.

      • Latimer Alder

        @nick stokes.

        I will have one more go at explaining this before being forced to conclude that you are either being wilfully stupid, have an agenda…or both.

        You’re argument seems to be that acidification is a technical term in chemistry and is ‘correct’

        That maybe so. My complaint is not necessarily how it is used in the academic sphere – though when I got my Masters in that subject I’d have preferred ‘neutralise’.

        But when it leaks out of the lab into Senate hearings and popular culture it is not being used in its technical sense. It has all sorts of connotations from movie culture and horror stories and notorious crime cases. ‘Acid’ is a value laden world for 99.9% of the population and ‘to acidify’ is also.

        If ‘scientists’ truly wish their work to be clearly and properly understood by the public, then they should recognise this simple fact and take their own steps to make sure that there are no misunderstandings. Changing the term and/or issuing a ‘health warning’ does not seem a very onerous task to me.

        But bovine refusal to do so by relying on dubious definitional semantics merely suggests to me that they find such ‘misunderstandings’ to their advantage.

        PS: In UK some years back, the medical term ‘spastic’ took on an unhappy popular meaning, different from the medical usage. Doctors are now careful to explain exactly what they mean to patients and other laymen. They do not seem to have found this an impossible barrier to overcome and it can still be used ‘within medicine’.

        I see no difference here.

      • I Agree with Latimer Alder

        I see the use of “acidification of the oceans” as scaremongering and insinuating bad outcomes in the same way as:

        – end of life on Earth as we know it
        – dangerous climate change
        – catastrophic climate change
        – oceans will boil off if we don stop our evil ways
        – extreme weather events (tornadoes, wild fires, heat waves, malaria, etc.
        – climate refugees
        – deniers.

        Its all part of the scaremongering used by the CAGW doomsayers.

      • we’re back to my first comment. use of “acidification” IS between naive and dishonest.

        there are other examples of misunderstood science due to poor choice of words

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_common_misconceptions

      • > we’re back to my first comment.

        The tears of the world are a constant quantity. For each one who begins to weep somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh. Let us not then speak ill of our generation, it is not any unhappier than its predecessors.

        In other news, scientists are scare-mongering restaurants as we speak:

        Acidifiers make foods taste sour. They lower the pH (the molar concentration of hydrogen ions) of a solution. In the past, industrial food producers used acidifiers as preservatives, to determine necessary processing, and to control chemical reactions while chefs mainly used them for their flavor. In the modern kitchen, all these uses of acids are important.

        We distinguish between acidification and pH modification because they accomplish different tasks. Human beings experience sourness as one of the five basic tastes. Acidity changes our perception of other flavors and create surprising experiences on the tongue – as in how the sour coating on a candy makes its center taste sweeter.

        While acidifying a solution implies a pH change, sometimes modifying pH has little to do with adding sour flavor. Both acids and bases (like baking soda or calcium hydroxide) can be used to change pH. Some applications include influencing the Maillard reaction, modifying the texture and color of blanched vegetables, and creating leavening in baked goods.

        http://sciencefare.org/ingredients-scientific-cooking/

        Thanks for molecular biologists and their succubi, any kind of food can become acidified without being turned into an acid.

        We’re closing this program by reminding people that you are what you eat.

        Don’t be an acid!

        Beware. The truth is out there.

      • Lady in Red,

        Perhaps we should introduce you to Mr Arpell. By all accounts he’s pretty smart and based on his 30% comment above, he also isn’t into the math, except perhaps when he wants to confuse people.

        David,

        Those of us who sometimes drag our knuckles on the ground and have a grad science degree have no problem recognizing the use of the 30% figure as a means to spin the message. If PR is your goal, then you using it makes sense. If fostering understanding of the science is what you strive for, then you should be embarrassed at using it.

  11. The proposition that higher atmospheric CO2 content will cause oceans to become acidic and adversely impact life is refuted by geologic history. Most corals evolved in the Ordovician when the atmospheric CO2 was at least 10 times the current levels. Gastropods and Pelecypods came along in the Silurian when CO2 was about 9 times the current level. If atmospheric CO2 can significantly affect ocean pH, how did these animals evolve and survive?

  12. “30% more acidic” comes from this:

    pH has changed on average from 8.2 to 8.1. On the logarithmic pH scale this equates to an increase in H+ concentration of 30%.
    It is misleading and deceptive to say this is a 30% change in pH.

    So, its very slightly less alkaline, not acidic.

    Its propaganda because ‘more acidic’ sounds much more scarey than ‘less alkaline’.

    Ocean pH values routinely fluctuate on a daily and seasonal scale of between about 7.9 and 8.4, sometimes more, representing a several fold change in H+ concentration. All ocean species are used to this.

    • This calls to mind a move many years ago to stop using salt during the winter along the coast of Lake Michigan because the lake had become 30% more salty then when they first started using it. Cooler heads prevailed, no pun intended.

  13. Its apparent that Mr. Doney used 30% instead of 0.11 simply because it is much scarier to the mathematically challenged public. Just like using litres instead of barrels when reporting on an oil spill. Make the number as large and scary as possible to motivate the public to support your agenda.

    The real question is whether 0.11 change in pH is problematical. And there appears to be little evidence that it would be.

    • R. Gates the Skeptical Warmist

      “Its apparent that Mr. Doney used 30% instead of 0.11 simply because it is much scarier to the mathematically challenged public…”
      ___
      Is that what is “apparent” to you. Do you think the “mathematically challenged” public really care about either number– really? Both are accurate, but the public in general doesn’t care about any numbers too much. What they care about is how their lives might be affected, and this, in the end, is the only thing that either will be “scary” or not.

      • Gates,

        Are you another one who isolates himself from “normal” people?

        Considering more than 70% of the US population lacks a 4 year degree (and we are ignoring that the majority of those who do have one are not in science or engineering), you have to be hallucinating to believe there is no difference in how this information gets communicated. Saying the pH has changed 0.11 will pass right over the head of most people. Yet most people can understand 30% of anything. Can you honestly state there is no difference in how this gets communicated?

  14. Dr. Curry,
    The website below has quite a bit of info about this issue, which I review from time to time (it has a lot of links to studies and reports):

    http://www.appinsys.com/globalwarming/OceanAcidification.htm

    About ½ way down the page are plots of pH from Hawaii 1992 – 2007 and Monterey Bay 1996 – 2009, showing ranges from about 7.4 to 8.1 in Hawaii, and about 7.7 to 8.2 in Monterey Bay.
    And at the bottom is a reference to a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution article that shows some shelled creatures (such as crabs, lobster, and shrimp) build up more shell under ‘ocean acidification’.

    Interesting to say the least . . .

    • Martin, thanks for the link

      • You are very welcome, Dr. Curry.

        Hey Joshua and Robert (if you see this), you might want to review the info in the above link too . . .

        . . . and for what it’s worth, I find your comments ( . .do I dare say ‘attacks’ . .) on Dr. Curry disgraceful. Yet based on past comments I have read, why should that surprise me . . .

        ( . . and now I have given you the opportunity to make a snarky comment about the website I mentioned, or even me . . . so be it. . . ).

      • intrepid_wanders

        @ Martin C | July 20, 2013 at 1:04 am

        No worries Martin. AppInSys is quite a fantastic site. Alan put together a fine product of information based on typical “peer” reviewed publications. Joshua seems to think that NRDC is not an NGO. It is just as scientific as the Flat Earth Society or Heartland. Another 503c1 with ALOT of lawyers to tell you the ‘troofiness’ of something, if you pay them enough.

      • Disgraceful attacks?

        Please.

        I criticize what I see to be selectivity in her reasoning. It really is quite remarkable how sensitive some of you folks are. From what I can tell, Judith is made of pretty tough stuff. Maybe you should relax a bit.

        I dare say that you would not be so aghast at similar criticism of selective reasoning were it targeted to a male. Is your reaction based in chivalry or sexism?

        I have never “attacked” her personally. Not once. So the question is why people seem to find my comments so “disgraceful,” yet don’t respond similarly to outright attacks on Judith from “skeptics.”

        Curious – isn’t it?

      • Grace is in the eye of the beholder.
        =====

      • > [W]hy people seem to find my comments so “disgraceful,” yet don’t respond similarly to outright attacks on Judith from “skeptics.”

        I have never seen a contrarian attack Judy’s person. See for instance Willis:

        Physician, heal thyself. And Judith, this is a most pathetic, unpleasant, uncollegial, untrue, and all-around nasty post. For a college professor, you sure like to fight dirty.

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/07/17/certainly-not/#comment-345456

        It is quite obvious that Willis is only attacking Judy’s blog and Judy’s fighting style.

  15. We could burn every carbon bearing rock on the planet and the result would be to lower the oceans pH from 8.1 to 8.0, still very alkaline the last time I checked.

    • The question is whether we will have a problem before we reach a pH of 7 or not.
      Is an ocean pH of 7.5 a problem or not?

      • Bob,

        Who cares, if we’ll never get there?

        I could ask “What should I do about that third eye? People will think I’m a freak.” Maybe so, if there was ever a realistic possibility of my having a third eye.

  16. What’s nice about the acidic ocean hypotheses is that actual experiments are possible, and some people are actually doing them. See: http://ocean.si.edu/blog/sneak-peek-future-coral-reefs-acidifying-ocean Note that Dr. Pleasance doesn’t actually report the pH, or confounding factors (SO2?); perhaps she has in other places. Also note that if the bubbles are pure CO2 (unlikely, I think, if volcanic origin), then the water is close to being saturated in CO2.
    Upthread there was mention of crustaceans: their shells are chitin, an aminated polysaccharide, which has nothing to do with aragonite.

  17. I’ll continue to look for more, but here’s one from the Palcenter.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/108/1/208.abstract?sid=d45d5518-5cf3-46d9-900a-e3f4627c6530

  18. Quite a scary window into Curry’s process of motivated reasoning.

    The process of disregarding the knowledge of a “scientific heavy hitter on the subject” takes approximately zero seconds and the primary justification for this specious disregard is a purely childish hostility to the phrasing of a simple undisputed fact.

    She then goes in search of a denier, and unsurprisingly finding one, immediately embraces him, going beyond false equivalence (which is bad enough) to actually favor this ill-argued know-nothingism.

    Sad. Just sad.

    • Hey Robert. Guess what, my reasoning looks at evidence, that is my motivation for being a scientist. Who is providing the evidence is of secondary importance. I concluded I couldn’t personally form a primary judgment on the issue, and the person I expected to trust on this (Doney) came across as too normative (read – motivated) for me to find the testimony compelling. So, it surprises you that there is evidence against? And all those journal articles are to be dismissed because they were cited by Craig Idso?

      • Heh.

        my reasoning looks at evidence. …and the person I expected to trust on this (Doney) came across as too normative (read – motivated)

        So let’s look at the evidence w/r/t “normative” science, shall we? Let’s look at Idso’s work? Let’s look at the following from freakin’ title of his report:

        A NEW PROPAGANDA FILM BY THE NATIONAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL FAILS THE ACID TEST OF REAL WORLD DATA

        OK – so he calls a scientific report “propaganda.” He doesn’t just say that he thinks it is in error. He doesn’t just say that he finds specific flaws. He calls is “propaganda.”

        Nothing “normative” about that, eh Judith?

        Well, as long as you keep those blinders on, anyway. Should I even bother to look further when the very title of the report is obviously “normative” in nature?

      • Both Doney’s and Idso’s reports are normative. Both provide evidence. Did I say Idso was more convincing than Doney? No. But Idso scored some credibility points by stating that there is disagreement and debate, and actually presented the evidence for (at least in terms of the transcript of the NRDC film). Idso lost credibility points by having Monckton write the preface, which was rather over the top.

      • Judith –

        I think that in the past your attribution of “normative” has been rather selective – but be its good to know that at least in this case you’re willing to characterize the science of a “skeptic” as “normative.” I applaud that.

        But then you say that Idso presents the evidence on the other side….

        Are you seriously arguing that presenting the other side and describing it in the context of “propaganda” is a serious attempt at a good faith presentation of conflicting evidence?

        However, upon reading the first page of his testimony, the following statement raised my skeptical hackles, especially since their was no evidence or reference to support this:

        So when you read Idso’s work, did your skeptical hackles get raised because he described conflicting evidence in the context of calling it propaganda? If they were, why did you only describe that reaction to Doney’s work, and not the same reaction to Idso’s work?

        And let’s talk about whether you use your characterization of “normative” selectively as a disqualifier.

        Did I say Idso was more convincing than Doney? No.

        No, you didn’t. But you indicated that what you saw as “normative” science from Doney let you conclude that his work was not credible. Yet while you say that Iso’s work was “normative” as well, you say that his science is “more credible.” So in one case, “normative” science means that one persons work is not credible; in that case, being normative is a disqualifer. But in the other case, despite being “normative,” Idso’s work still has at least some credibility?

        Tirbalism is tribalism, Judith.

      • credibility is product of expertise and trust. Doney scores much higher on expertise here. Personally I find it trust inspiring when a scientist acknowledges the existence of disagreement and debate, which is where Idso scored points, particularly here:

        The NRDC film certainly makes it appear that such is the case; but a little scientific sleuthing reveals nothing of substance in this regard. In fact, even a cursory review of the peer-reviewed scientific literature reveals that an equally strong case – if not a more persuasive one – can be made for the proposition that the ongoing rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration will actually prove a boon to calcifying marine life. Sadly, however, the NRDC chose to present an extreme one-sided, propagandized view of ocean acidification; and in this critique we present the part of the story that they clearly don’t want you to know.

      • Judith –

        Personally I find it trust inspiring when a scientist acknowledges the existence of disagreement and debate,…

        I agree. Acknowledging the existence of disagreement and debate is important.

        In fact, even a cursory review of the peer-reviewed scientific literature reveals that an equally strong case – if not a more persuasive one – can be made for the proposition that the ongoing rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration will actually prove a boon to calcifying marine life.

        So you haven’t really studied the evidence, but you think that the following statement from someone who practices “normative science” inspiring?

        In fact, even a cursory review of the peer-reviewed scientific literature reveals that an equally strong case – if not a more persuasive one – can be made for the proposition that the ongoing rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration will actually prove a boon to calcifying marine life.

        Really? So you haven’t studied the evidence, but you take it at face value that someone who practices “normative science” is correct when he states that the case for atmospheric being a “boon” to calcifying marine life is equal if not more persuasive than the case that it will be harmful?

        If you don’t take it at face value – without studying the evidence – that his characterization is correct, then why would you find such a statement to be “inspiring?”

      • My take away message from Idso’s statement is that there is substantial evidence both for and against. Idso thinks ‘against’ is at least as strong as ‘for’, whereas Doney doesn’t even mention evidence ‘against’. I am not trusting either of their personal assessments. In my own Italian flag assessment, I acknowledge the existence of evidence for and against, and I suspect that there is also alot of unknowns, which does not support a highly confident assessment ‘for’.

      • My take away message from Idso’s statement is that there is substantial evidence both for and against.

        Except that’s not what he said. He said that the evidence of atmospheric CO2 being a “boon” is equal to or stronger – not simply that there is substantial evidence both for and against.

        I still don’t get why, if your take-away is something different than what he said, you find his statement inspirational.

        Yes, acknowledging that there is a debate is important If someone fails to do so, they then undermine their credibility. I agree. Careful and comprehensive acknowledgement of any counterarguments is (in any practical sense) a prerequisite for proving a thesis, IMO. But in and of itself it certainly does not assign credibility, IMO. It is a necessary condition but certainly not sufficient.

        And certainly, a mere acknowledgement that there is a debate, without actually a review of the arguments establishing the quality of the debate, let alone that side A is equally strong if not stronger than side B, a mere statement that an argument exists would not be inspirational to me.

        To use a mosher-ism – it would not be credible if I failed were to discuss the cause of AIDS w/o acknowledging that there is controversy. But I doubt you would find it inspirational if I were to acknowledge that there is debate while saying that the case on one side is equally strong to or stronger than the case on the other side.

      • R. Gates the Skeptical Warmist

        Judith said:

        ” I am not trusting either of their personal assessments.”

        and

        “My take away message from Idso’s statement is that there is substantial evidence both for and against.”

        _____
        Then Idso has succeeded in setting out to do exactly what he wanted to. When a non-expert in an area can convince another non-expert scientist (you) to have doubts against the testimony, credibility, dozens of research papers by of one of the leading experts in the world on a subject, then score one for Team Heartland…

    • Curious Robert. Made me question my thought process which in this case I thought Prof Curry was exemplary in responding to an issue which admittedly is not within her area of expertise. I have a basic chem background, which would of course make one think of a lowering of pH.
      Here again is an example of where Prof Curry brings balance to a discussion and from that the need to look at both (or all) possibilities.
      For me, and I believe for many, a most important aspect of any scientific process is to consider everything. The unwillingness to do so, regardless of ones current position on a topic has diminished the whole of climate (and related) science.

    • Steven Mosher

      I found Judiths approach a little odd as well, but we reached the same conclusions.

      The first thing to notice is that neither of these documents is science. Neither is anything that one could use as a foundation to build other knowledge upon.
      Think about that. If you were writing a paper about what you knew and why you knew it, would you cite either one of these documents? I wouldn’t.

      The first is written to answer questions posed by policy makers. well red alert on that. The writer belongs to an Institute, yet his institute does not endorse his writing. Second, his first objective fact, a claim about 30% doesnt even have a cite.

      At this point I assign zero credibility to this document. What’s that mean? That means I would not trust it or rely on it to build upon. That doesnt mean its wrong.
      It means: dont rely on it being true, dont build on anything you see in this document without checking it.

      The second document claims to be a review or critique of a movie. WTF? It, like the first one, isnt science. It shows no sign of being reviewed. It was written for a specific purpose that was not scientific. Zero credibility, I put no trust in the document. its as bad or worse than the first. You can build no knowledge upon what is discussed in the second paper. none.

      Both of these documents were prepared with a specific purpose in mind and neither purpose was “doing science”. Neither author speaks with anything that rises above personal authority. Neither was reviewed.

      So, I would not trust either, they get zero credibility. At best they provide the beginnings of a bibliography.

      • Actually, the 2010 NRC report on ocean acidification is probably the best overall review of the topic. My starting point was testimony from the hearing (I am interested in normative behavior by climate scientists when giving testimony); I was put off by the lack of mention of uncertainty so I sought a counter perspective. So one of my main interests in Doney’s testimony is the normative behavior. If I intended this post to be primarily about state of understanding on the topic, I would have stuck with the 2010 NRC report.

      • steven –

        First we have this…

        I found Judiths approach a little odd as well, but we reached the same conclusions.

        Then we have this…

        So, I would not trust either, they get zero credibility

        I admire your loyalty to Judith.. It is admirable – even when you have to contradict even yourself rather than criticism Judith’s perspective.

        So you dismiss the oddness of Judith’s approach by focusing on having reached the same conclusions. Which is all fine and good, except that you didn’t reach the same conclusions.

        You say that both get zero credibility – but Judith says that Idso gets more credibility,. More than zero is not zero,.

        Maybe the next time you chat in Lisbon, you can talk it out?

      • Judith –

        So one of my main interests in Doney’s testimony is the non normative behavior.

        ???

        Do you mean that one of your main interests is the “normative” behavior?

        Regardless.

        You say that both are “normative.” Again, I applaud that you are willing to directly criticize Idso for his science.

        Yet one of your main interests is in Doney’s behavior.

        Why isn’t Idso’s behavior (be it normative or non normative) also a main interest?

      • Steven Mosher

        Sorry Joshua. I should have been more precise about the same conclusions I came to.

        This is what I focused on:

        “That said, I cannot personally judge whether Doney’s or Idso’s arguments are better scientifically, without digging into the primary literature myself; ”

        What I concluded

        “So, I would not trust either, they get zero credibility. At best they provide the beginnings of a bibliography.”

        namely, on the science which is all I care about, I come to the same conclusion. I would not build on either of their scientific arguments.
        In this I agree with Judith: she cannot personally judge which is better.
        Second, they both provide a bibliography. That is, I agree with Judith that one will have to plunge into the primary literature.

        I hope that unconfuses you

      • Steven Mosher

        Another weirdness Joshua

        You find it odd that I don’t criticize Judith’s perspective. The problem is I find no stand point to criticize it from. Effectively she is asking the question “how do I know to trust a text?” and that question in my mind has no simple answer. If it did I would build a trust machine that would process texts and only spit out trustworthy ones. Absent a canonical set of rules for determining trustworthiness or credibility, humans have what appears to me to be a rhapsodic approach to selecting gospels. Some of these I find odd. Some are approaches I have used and found wanting. none of them is error free.
        For me the articulation of sign posts of credibility is more telling about the person articulating the signs that the text itself. Judith laid out her criteria. Its not criteria I would use, although she mentioned a couple of interesting things. And I didnt see her suggest that we should use it. Very simply she said.. this is what I look for, I didnt see the sign posts I’ve come to trust, therefore, I cant decide and would have to look at primary literature.
        I wouldnt criticize her criteria because A) she hasnt made an argument that rational people are compelled to use the same criteria. B) she hasnt suggested her criteria is better than others. C) She must think it works for her.

        So, what is the practical point of criticizing her approach when she hasnt suggested that her method is one that I should use? And what is the practical point of criticizing her methodology when we both come to the same practical conclusion: Looks like we have to go to primary literature.
        However, if you think her approach leads to the wrong conclusion, if you think that un reviewed, politically arranged summaries of the science are worthwhile, then by all means defend them. Then of course that describes Spencer’s testimony so you’d be defending his work as well.

      • Steven,
        do you doubt that there are cites that support the 30% number?

      • Steven Mosher

        Bob

        “Steven,
        do you doubt that there are cites that support the 30% number?”

        What a silly question.

        Let me see if I can make this clear. papers are not science. They are advertisements for science. When I read a paper I put it into one of three categories.

        1. Reliable
        2. Double check the work
        3. Dont bother reading it, grab the bibliography

        What do I mean by reliable? Well, I mean that I can use it to build upon. It provides a foundation I can trust without re checking. Example, I read something Zeke has written. I have experience working with his work, I know that he double and triple checks his work, I tend to use his work without rechecking everything.

        2. Double check the work. This is work that I cannot use without first checking.
        Several things alert me. Doney’s testimony doesnt have the endorsement of woods hole, and he missed a cite. That says sloppy to me. I might finish reading it, but Im really more interested in his bibiliography

        Make sense? In my field it would be like somebody saying “UHI is related to the log of population” without citing Oke. at that point one has to say
        WTF? I dunno, maybe you build your knowledge on the work of sloppy people. Thats your choice, but dont recommend that I am rationally obligated to do likewise.

      • Steve,
        I could find Doney’s testimony on a Wood’s Hole webcite and he still works there and I found the 30% cited in the references he supplied to his testimony.
        I find his testimony has more than zero credibility.

        Way more

      • What percent of what percent understand that percent of that percent?
        ===============

      • @Steven Mosher…

        Make sense? In my field it would be like somebody saying “UHI is related to the log of population” without citing Oke. at that point one has to say WTF?

        Maybe you’re leaving out so much I don’t understand you, but you seem to be talking about this:

        From preindustrial levels, contemporary surface ocean pH is estimated to have dropped on average from 8.2 to 8.1, or by about 0.1 pH units (a 26% increase in hydrogen ion concentration), and further decreases of 0.22 to 0.35 pH units are projected over this century unless carbon dioxide emissions are significantly reduced (Orr et al., 2005; Bopp et al., 2013).

        It’s been years since I read Orr et al., (2005), but IIRC all this is covered there. And, of course, the basic workings of pH is first-year chemistry and shouldn’t need ref’s.

      • Steven Mosher

        Bob.

        You assert it has way more credibility. Are you arguing that it has way more credibility because you assert it does?

        Understand Judith problem. She knows little about the field. She is trying to determine whether a text in a field she doesnt know very well has credibility.’
        Her test: She looks for certain words, mainly locutions that indicate both what is known and unknown. She also looks for normative language. On that test she fails both documents and concludes that she has to go to the primary literature..

        Here’s what I look for. I look to see why the document was prepared. what is it purpose? I also look to see if it has been reviewed. Doney states he is an employee of woods hole yet the document is not approved by them. Since I know little about the field, I’m not going to trust a document that has been prepared at the request of a political entity. Im especially not going to trust it if it hasnt been reviewed by the employee’s own Institute. Finally, I read his first sentence, he cites a 30% figure that lacks both a cite and error bars.

        What you need to argue is that these methods of deciding which texts to trust are wrong. More specifically you must argue that in the case of someone who knows nothing about the field. To do that in my case you must argue that the criteria I use are incorrect for a person who has no real knowledge in a field. That would put you in the position of arguing that I should ignore the fact that the document was not prepared at the request of a political party, that I should ignore the fact that it wasnt reviewed, and I should ignore the fact that it is rather sloppy in my estimation. Now, you might argue that it wasnt that sloppy, which means you would be arguing that I adopt your notion of neatness. Sorry.
        Arguing that you find it credible without citing a criteria that focuses soley on the signs presented in the text, doesnt get you anywhere. And once you supply that criteria, criteria that only deal with the text in front of you, then It will be fun to find other texts that meet the same criteria.

      • Steven Mosher

        AK.

        Lets see if I can unconfuse you. I know very little about this field.
        What I have in front of me are two documents.
        My question: Can I trust either one? That is an operational question. It means: can I use the information presented to build something upon, or do I have to check the claims down to the ground.

        1. I look at the purpose of the document. In Doney’s case he is responding to the request of politicians. Red flag number one. If I want to understand a field the last place I will start is a piece of arranged testimony.

        2. I look at the first footnote. His institute didnt endorse or review his work.
        I’m certainly not using this document as a foundational piece of knowledge

        3. I read his first factual sentence

        “Over the past two centuries, human activities have resulted in dramatic and well documented
        increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide and acidification of the upper
        ocean. Today the surface ocean is almost 30% more acidic than it was in pre-industrial
        times, and over the next few decades, the level of acidity of the surface ocean will
        continue to rise without deliberate action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and stabilize”

        I note the following.
        A) he says its well documented and gives no cite after this sentence.
        B) no error bars.

        At this point I flip to the bibiliography and judge that this piece of secondary literature isnt going to be that useful to me.

        I go through the same process with Idso. The result is the same.
        As secondary literature it is prepared for an odd purpose, and is unreviewed.

        In short, both of these documents are secondary literature. Neither has signs that I look for when evaluating secondary literature in a field I am unfamilar with.

        To someone in the field, of course, the CONTENT of one document may be more credible than the content of the other. But thats not the challenge here.
        The challenge here was to identify credibility when you know nothing about the content. Judith looked for sign posts– the use of certain words– I have different signposts.

        In the case where I know a field the sign posts of credibility will be different. But thats not the problem here.

      • @Steven Mosher…

        I suppose you may be right; I can’t put myself in your shoes ’cause I’ve been studying this subject since ’08, and it’s been years since I could honestly say I “know very little about this field.” In the sense you mean it, anyway. Obviously, no scientist, even the most well-informed in the field (e.g. Orr), knows more than “very little” in the true scientific sense.

        What I can point out, however, is that I’ve seen many scientific papers where conclusions presented with certainty and without references in the abstract are backed up with more detailed and referenced discussions in the text. Of course, this document these documents are propaganda, not even subject to the supposed strictures on peer-reviewed literature.

        In that respect, what I find more interesting is the lack of (un)certainty discussion in the text I quoted, although describing “a 26% increase in hydrogen ion concentration” as “almost 30% more acidic” is telling. I’m well-informed enough on the subject, as well as semantics, to understand what he’s pulling here. Why not “more than 25%”? Well, to the uninformed, 30% is equivalent to 1/3, and words like “almost” tend to disappear on the way into memory, so his phrasing changes what’s essentially 1/4 to 1/3.

        Of course, I wouldn’t hesitate to do the same thing, or at least quote it. If the uninformed find “1/3 more acidic” a little scary, well I find ocean acidification more than a little scary, so I’m honestly communicating an emotional state based on research and rational thought.

      • There’s another possible explanation for the value 30%. It has been presented in a peer reviewed paper, and post importantly in the paper that discusses the best existing data set

        http://www.pnas.org/content/106/30/12235.full

        Two lines below formula [2] we can read:

        which is roughly equivalent to a 30% increase in [H+]

        Here we have “roughly”, but then – this is a scientific paper.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        If we assume a 0.11 pH unit change – then a change of 30% in ‘protons’ seems about right.

        We have seen this study before however. This is in a region that is a net source of CO2 – rather than a sink. The source of that CO2 is upwelling from the deep oceans – which is not a constant by any means.

      • Steven Mosher

        ‘Of course, this document these documents are propaganda, not even subject to the supposed strictures on peer-reviewed literature.”

        If I were asked to criticize Judith on this issue. I would say the following/

        1. Dont go looking in congressional testimony for a summary of the science. Just dont.

        2. Expect all testimony to congress to be normative.

  19. Chief Hydrologist

    ‘In considering the reactions involved between carbonate minerals and the carbonic acid-pCO2 system, there are few important fundamental relationships that will be represented here in a simple form to illustrate the basic concepts generally following the conventions of ref 320. Intuitively, it might be expected that the precipitation of calcium carbonate would decrease solution pCO2 and dissolution of calcium carbonate would increase pCO2 because total dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) concentrations and total alkalinity (TA) change in this manner. However, the opposite is true as shown in eq 6.1. Consequently, the addition of CO2 to the ocean will be buffered by calcium carbonate dissolution and an associated increase in DIC and TA.’

    http://vkc.library.uu.nl/vkc/darwin/knowledgeportal/Lists/Conferences/Attachments/32/Wolthers_Morse%20et%20al.,%202007.pdf

    ‘The primary sources of calcium carbonate for deep sea sediments are pelagic calcitic coccolithophores and foraminifera that grow dominantly in the phototic zone (typically upper 100 m) and to a lesser extent aragonitic pteropods. The distribution of calcium carbonate-secreting pelagic organisms is primarily controlled by the fertility and temperature of the near-surface ocean. The fertility of seawater is largely a result of ocean circulation patterns and, in particular, those processes leading to upwelling of nutrient rich waters.’

    The carbonic acid/pCO2 system is one side of the equation. The other is in buffering by carbonate dissolution. First through reductions in calcium carbonate polymorph super-saturation and then by dissolution of water column and sediment sources. The world is adapted to variations in CO2 – which seem to change naturally all the time.

    Not only as atmospheric changes – http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Steinthorsdottir_CO2_stomata_2013_zps0180f088.png.html?sort=3&o=1http://www.academia.edu/2949675/Stomatal_proxy_record_of_CO2_concentrations_from_the_last_termination_suggests_an_important_role_for_CO2_at_climate_change_transitions

    But as the result of upwelling, biological processes and volcanic gases.

    Seems all very Gaian to me.

    http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/carbonflowchart-ucla_zps640921ed.png.html?sort=3&o=9

    ‘Overall, the Gaia Theory is a compelling new way of understanding life on our planet. It argues that we are far more than just the “Third Rock from the Sun,” situated precariously between freezing and burning up. The theory asserts that living organisms and their inorganic surroundings have evolved together as a single living system that greatly affects the chemistry and conditions of Earth’s surface. Some scientists believe that this “Gaian system” self-regulates global temperature, atmospheric content, ocean salinity, and other factors in an “automatic” manner. Earth’s living system appears to keep conditions on our planet just right for life to persist!’

    I’m not sure that entitles us to push our luck.

    • In short, a lot of “rocks” (including old coral) can slightly dissolve due to an increase in [H+]. Plus there are phosphates in the ocean (including other “rocks”) that also buffer. The ocean is well-buffered and will not change its “average” pH rapidly and probably can not go too low due to the nearly unlimited amount of natural buffers present. Another wrinkle, if CO2 increases ocean photosynthesis and increases the number of fish, their added urine is basic and will tend to offset the pH change due to the CO2. For f**&%^’s sake, use some common sense. These are extremely complicated, inter-related systems.

  20. Rhe fact that acidification remains a surface water problom suggests to me that the increase in hydrogen ions resuts in a slight lowering of sea water density, otherwise normal mixing would prevent it. Am I right?

    • “Am I right?”

      This is an importent question.If I am righr the ability to store CO2 im the oceans has barely been scratached. There is a huge amount of storage still available, so no worries there.

      • David Appell

        Do you think the creatures who live in the ocean might have a different point of view?

        Do you know the history of past ocean acidificaitions?

  21. Stephen Singer

    On WattsUpWithThat there was a excellent post on the question of ocean acidification by CO2 by Chemical Engineering grad named Steve Burnett.

    My college chemistry is kinda weak these days but this was an informative article to me. Basically there isn’t enough CO2 on this planet to acidify the ocean to any level that would be even remotely harmful to any living thing in the ocean.

    The link is:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/07/08/ocean-acidi-what/

    So all you chemistry professionals and chemistry engineering professionals can have a shot at critiquing the post.

    • Maybe Steve Burnett can have his research published and thereby contribute to the science and advance it?
      Or maybe he prefers to subject his work to the scrutiny of commenters on crank-blogs?

      • Craig contributes crankiness credentially.
        =======================

      • He probably could, but as an engineering student he would likely rather do something productive. The use of lime in various forms to buffer, sterilize and increase nutrient availability has been pretty much covered in aquaculture. I think UF will allow climate scientists to audit a few courses so they can catch up.

        http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fa028

        That appears to be written simply enough for them to understand.

  22. Joseph O'Sullivan

    Anybody looking for a site that has regular articles from peer-reviewed literature and other sources can go to the European Project on Ocean Acidification’s blog.

    http://oceanacidification.wordpress.com/

  23. There is a 2010 NRC report on Ocean Acidification

    http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12904&page=59

    Scott Doney was one of the authors of this report.

    The money quotes re uncertainty:

    “Ocean acidification research is in its infancy.”

    “CONCLUSION: Present knowledge is insufficient to guide federal and state agencies in evaluating potential impacts for management purposes.”

    • maksimovich

      it is what is not included in these arguments ( and analysis for policymakers) that is troublesome,ie excluding the benefits.

      Ocean acidification is a negative feedback on atmospheric CO2,it increases the rate of biological removal,hence we have bounds.

      http://www.oceanacidification.org.uk/pdf/Ridgwell.C4I.110106_web.pdf

      Very difficult to argue good news,only crisis sells.

    • Exactly Judith! But when one goes to congress with potential funding on the line, of course it makes sense to stress the “possible” bad effects that really need to be studied more.

    • Joseph O'Sullivan

      I made a comment on RealClimate during its early days and contributor Eric Steig commented in response some in the science community, Richard Feely for one, saw ocean acidification as a potential problem. They thought the scientific community should have been alerting the public to the potential problem earlier.

      http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/03/worldwide-glacier-retreat/comment-page-1/#comment-1723

      Later in an unrelated post David Archer RealClimate contributor wrote there is a lot of uncertainty on how the ecology of the oceans will be changed. I wrote later the science does make some dire predictions, but it was still early to draw firm conclusions. This raised the hackles of one particular commenter.

      I have an interest and some education is this area, and from what I read the conclusion I drew and expressed on RealClimate still stands. The science of ocean acidification is just coming in but the effects on the ecology of the oceans combined with the other anthropogenic stresses might make for dire consequences.

    • Wow! Quite a contrast between Doney on the NRC and Doney testifying to Congress. That NRC conclusion is pretty forthright. Or is Doney arguing that the science has been revolutionized since 2010?

    • Steven Mosher

      That kinda changes my perspective.,

    • “CONCLUSION: Present knowledge is insufficient to guide federal and state agencies in evaluating potential impacts for management purposes.”

      Written in 2010. Who would have thought that 3 years later, a learned professional who is actively researching the topic would have opinions in 2013 that reflected the acquisition of new knowledge?

  24. The Chiefio, E M Smith, always has interesting observations,
    here he pools his experiments with PH and CO2.

    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/lessons-of-the-pool/

  25. Lost in all this is Salby who says the carbon is coming out of the ocean. Would Idso subscribe to that or say it is junk? That would be a litmus test for his credibility. Is that one of the papers he says counters ideas of acidification?

    • “Is that one of the papers he says counters ideas of acidification?”

      Well, I suppose one could click on the link to Idsos’ paper and search for the name “Salby”.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Carbon undoubtedly is less soluble in warmer water. The terrestrial balance of respiration and photosynthesis is also affected – in soils and especially in regions of peat moss accumulation. That temperature changes CO2 flux is incontrovertible. Natural fluxes are major – anthropogenic flux is puny. It is one of those things – is the dog wagging the tail or the tail wagging the dog.

      Not that I am suggestion a few billion tons emissions is necessarily a good idea – just putting it in perspective. And – no – in my cursory reading of Idso I didn’t come across it. Here’s an idea – why don’t you have a look.

    • JImD

      For every one degree C rise in ocean temperature there is a release of 7ppmv of Co2.
      tonyb

      • While the atmosphere has risen by 120 ppm about another 120 ppm has gone into the ocean and biosphere (probably mostly ocean), so the net in far exceeds the part coming out due to warming.

      • But it is agreed that there is less “net in” to the ocean at higher temperatures. I think that is often proposed as one of the amplifying factors in AGW projections.

  26. Chief Hydrologist

    As an environmental scientist with a decades long interest in biogeochemical cycling – here’s a nice little animation of changes in aragonite saturation.

    http://iprc.soest.hawaii.edu/users/tobiasf/Outreach/OA/Ocean_Acidification.html

    Increased CO2 results in dissolution of calcium carbonate polymorphs which are supersaturated in seawater – which buffers the change in pH. Increased acidity (decreased alkalinity) is not the end state. It is a simplification – it is the change in pH that increased pCO2 might cause if not neutralized by more lime going into solution. Lime dissolves and alkalinity increases.

    ‘Second, the more acidic water is, the better it dissolves calcium carbonate. In the long run, this reaction will allow the ocean to soak up excess carbon dioxide because more acidic water will dissolve more rock, release more carbonate ions, and increase the ocean’s capacity to absorb carbon dioxide. In the meantime, though, more acidic water will dissolve the carbonate shells of marine organisms, making them pitted and weak.’

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/CarbonCycle/page5.php

    So NASA is almost right yet again. The oceans are vastly oversupplied with calcium carbonate both in the open oceans and shorelines. It is laid down over geologic ages in coral, shells, the detritus of diatoms and as precipitate in sediments. There is an immense pool of limestone to replenish the supersaturation of aragonite and calcite in ocean waters. Living organisms drive the processes of shell formation – dead organisms are recycled. In open oceans for instance some 20% to 80% of the calcium in dead diatoms is dissolved before sinking to the ocean bottom.

    Ain’t Gaia wonderful.

  27. Why does everyone assume that the lowering in pH of the oceans is due to CO2. How about considering the probability that it is caused by acid-rain from the sulfur emitted by burning of coal. There is no way to prove or disprove this since the change in sulfate ion necessary to match the change in hydrogen ion is so small as to be immeasurable.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      If you look very carefully – you will find a reference to upwelling.

      Oh – what the hell.

      ‘The source of the acidified, low pH water varies regionally; along the coast resulting from enhanced upwelling of carbon dioxide rich ocean waters.’

      See the big blue V in the Pacific?

      Coastal upwelling.

  28. R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

    Dr. Dorney is one of the extensively published and most highly regarded experts in the world on this subject. Here is another sample, with lots and lots of data, of his research papers:

    http://www.annualreviews.org/eprint/QwPqRGcRzQM5ffhPjAdT/full/10.1146/annurev.marine.010908.163834

    Craig Idso has degrees in geography and agronomy, no expertise in he area of ocean chemistry, ocean biological systems and ecology, or marine anything. His close connections with right wing politcal groups such as Heartland should be cause for skepticism.

    Even comparing Dorney’s and Idso’s thoughts in the same blog post regarding ocean acidification is a massive insult to both Dr. Dorney and the areas he is so well regarded in. Dorney represents science of the highest caliber. Idso represents a minimum of science and a large dose of strong politics and economic interests.

    This is disappointing…

    • Let’s see how long it takes R Gates, Skeptic, to find the logical flaw in this argument.
      =============

      • Such a statement seems overly optimistic.

      • So when your Renal specialist gives you the bad news, you’ll go to your accountant for a second opinion?

        Idso has nothing to add to Doney’s discussion: he conducts no research in this area, and he represents organisations that do no such research either.
        On the other hand, the organisations he represents *do* fund a bunch of politically-motivated lobbying with regards to climate science.

      • Craig Thomas never met a fallacy he didn’t like twice.
        ==================

      • Expert opinion is not a fallacy.

      • Perhaps Craig Thomas 7/30/13 @ 2:34 am was giving his expert opinion when he said,

        >>Expert opinion is not a fallacy.

        Of course the existence of expert opinion is real. Trial lawyers buy it by the pound, pro and con any issue testing science literacy.

        Reliance on expert opinion, though, is another matter. It is called “Appeal to Authority” where it is No. 3 of 42 of the logical fallacies neatly compiled by “The Nizkor Project”. http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/ . It applies to argumentation and Modern Science, and otherwise, who except a juror gives a fig?

        Corollaries of this fallacy include peer review, publication in professional journals, consensus, and conformity to social mores, all tenets of Post Modern Science, all attributable to Karl Popper, and widely practiced among AGW sources and their academies, including especially the issue reverberating on this thread: the unsound conjecture of ocean acidification from anthropogenic CO2.

    • I agree. Embarrassing as well as disappointing.

    • Too funny.

    • Contrast Doney’s alarmism in his testimony with what he said as co-author of an NRC report in 2010:

      “CONCLUSION: Present knowledge is insufficient to guide federal and state agencies in evaluating potential impacts for management purposes.”

      If that contrast doesn’t make you question the trustworthiness of Doney’s testimony…

  29. Chief Hydrologist

    Sigh.

    ‘Neutralization of acidic waste streams involves raising the pH, usually by adding an alkaline chemical, such as lime. There are several other chemicals that can also be used, but due to cost, handling problems, high total dissolved solids in the effluent, or mobility of heavy metals in the sludge, lime is the neutralizing material of choice. As highlighted in the table below, when considering the cost of neutralizing agents and alkali requirements, lime is the most cost-effective option to neutralize acids.’

    http://www.lime.org/documents/publications/free_downloads/acid-neut-final-2000.pdf

    ‘Calcium carbonate, or chalk, makes up around 4% of the Earth’s crust and acts as a carbon reservoir, estimated to be equivalent to 1.5 million billion metric tons of carbon dioxide.

    It is the main component of shells of marine organisms, snails, pearls, and eggshells and is a completely stable mineral, widely used in the building industry to make cement and other materials and also in hospitals to make plaster casts.’

    http://nextbigfuture.com/2013/02/an-economical-way-to-convert-carbon.html

    So there an idea – but I’m wondering where they get their calcium from.

  30. I had a saltwater reef aquarium. I bubbled CO2 through a calcium reactor and dripped 6.3 pH into the tank and the corals did just fine.
    A friend has a fresh water tank and he bubbles CO2 into his tank. The plants give off O2 bubbles and the fish love it.
    My point is, CO2 is used up quickly and is much appreciated by any organism that uses photosynthesis. Saltwater has a buffering capacity that should easily take care of any and all human CO2 contributions, never mind absorption by plant life and corals that incorporate algae.

  31. Phyllograptus

    Ocean acidification is one subject in the climate debates that has always confused me. From my basic geochemistry education in water chemistry, CO2 is a strange compound as it exhibits reverse solubility, unlike most compounds, it is more soluble in colder water than in warmer water. Look at scaling in your kettle for a common example. So if CO2 causes global warming and increased warming warms the worlds oceans, those warmer ocean waters are less able to hold dissolved CO2. Warmer waters expel more CO2 due to the lower solubility of CO2 in warmer water. Colder waters are able to dissolve more CO2. So at the ocean surface, the atmospheric pressure remains relatively constant, increased CO2 concentrations lead to an increased partial pressure of CO2 but temperature leads to to a decreased solubility, partially canceling each other out. I never see the reverse solubility of CO2 discussed during ocean acidification discussions. Or the fact that warmer ocean waters expel huge amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere. As a geologist it is not surprising to see that chemical precipitation of CaCO3, limestone and aragonite, is greatest in the tropics, as this is also where the waters are warmest and that saturation levels are highest, enabling physical precipitation. Cold Arctic and Antarctic waters have very little to no chemical precipitation of carbonates BECAUSE the solubility of CO2 is higher and these waters never approach CO2 saturation which means that physical precipitation is impossible, due to “ocean acidification”. I always see discussions of the impact of increasing CO2 concentrations on biological precipitation of carbonate due to ocean acidification, no one ever talks about the enormous amount of physical precipitation of carbonates in the tropics. As a geologist, looking at the rock record, the volume of biologically precipitated carbonate is vastly dwarfed by physically (chemically) precipitated carbonates. So where is the discussion of reverse solubility, increased physical precipitation and out gassing of Arctic and Antarctic oceans?

  32. Here again one part of the chemistry is well known, and while another part depends on factors that makes it difficult to get all quantitative details right. The well known part tells, how concentrations of dissolved CO2 and the most important ions ions are related, the more difficult part involves non-dissolved carbonates like aragonite, and also other substances that have some influence on the balance.

    All substances present in sea water affect the balance, but those that react fast satisfy closely their own equilibrium equations, the slower reactions cause only minor corrections to these equations.

    The following partial balances are important

    (1) CO2 in atmosphere and dissolved as gas in near surface water. The relationship between the atmospheric concentration and dissolved concentration is known as Henry’s law. For gases the solubility of CO2 molecules decreases with temperature, but the dependence is not particularly strong. Therefore warming of the oceans by a degree or two has little influence on the balance (it’s compensated by a addition of a few ppm in the atmospheric concentration). The exchange of CO2 between atmosphere and surface water is fast enough to maintain the concentration of dissolved CO2 molecules in surface water close to the equilibrium value.

    (2) CO2, HCO3- ions, CO3– ions and H+ ions (or hydronium if you prefer) react very rapidly with each other to maintain their internal balance. More CO2 leads to much more HCO3-, less CO3–, and more H+. In sea water the concentration of HCO3- is much higher than the other concentrations considered. Some 90% of dissolved carbon is in HCO3-

    (3) The reduction of CO3– initiates dissolution of more CO3– from the carbonates present. The presence of rapidly dissolving carbonates affects the balance of (2). As the CO3– concentration is maintained close to the earlier level even more carbon goes into HCO3- ions based on the equilibrium conditions of (2). The buildup of Ca++ ions limits, however, the dissolution of CO3–. Therefore buffering cannot stop totally the change in pH even if CaCO3 is plentiful.

    (4) The concentration of H+ ions is related to the relative concentration of HCO3- and CO3– (and also to the ratio of dissolved CO2 molecules and HCO3- ions). The more HCO3- we have relative to CO3– the more we have H+ and the lower is pH. The balances (1) and (2) move towards more H+, the buffering related to (3) counteracts this change at the cost of spending carbonate reserves and influencing carbonate formation. When the oversaturation of calcium carbonate is lost, pH starts to fall much faster with additional CO2. The level of oversaturation affects the rate of pH decrease even before that point, but not as strongly.

    (5) The supply of new carbonates from coastal limestone is a very slow process and cannot help much in replenishing carbonate reservoirs of ocean water at the relevant time scales.

    I believe that I understand well the basics up to the above points, but I don’t know much about marine life and its sensitivity to changes in pH.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      CO2 from the atmosphere reacts with seawater forming carbonic acid (H2CO3). This dissociates to form bicarbonate (HCO3) and carbonate (CO3) ions. The carbonate ion reacts with calcium – in excess in seawater -to form calcium carbonate.

      Ca + CO3 ↔ CaCO3

      On dissolution –

      Ca + 2H2O ↔ Ca(OH)2 + H2

      There is lots of CaCO3 available from fragile shells, precipitates etc – millions of billions of tons. In open oceans for instance some 20% to 80% of the calcium in dead diatoms is dissolved before the rest sinks towards the ocean bottom.

      ‘‘Second, the more acidic water is, the better it dissolves calcium carbonate. In the long run, this reaction will allow the ocean to soak up excess carbon dioxide because more acidic water will dissolve more rock, release more carbonate ions, and increase the ocean’s capacity to absorb carbon dioxide. In the meantime, though, more acidic water will dissolve the carbonate shells of marine organisms, making them pitted and weak.’

      http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/CarbonCycle/page5.php

      Living animals actively form calcium carbonate by a variety of processes. Detritus from dead animals – including the microscopic – dissolve more readily. Precipitates even more so.

      • “In the long run” = more than 10000 years, perhaps much more. That’s my understanding, if you have some contrary evidence, I’m interested in learning more.

        Dissolving CaCO3 from the rocks goes on all the time. The rate of that process reacts rather weakly to modest changes in pH and that change affects the ocean chemistry significantly only on very long term.

      • The difference between unionized carbonic acid H2CO3 and dissolved CO2 is essentially semantics, they mean the same thing. Similarly H+ and H3O+ refer to the same thing.

      • “I’m interested in learning more.”
        The Zeebe survey article focusses on exactly that time scale issue. “Reactive carbonate sediments” he puts on the 10000-100000 yr timescale.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        It is a little late here – but I was talking about much faster processes in dissolution of shell and other biological material – including micro-organisms – and precipitates. There is calcium carbonate is the water column in very reactive biogenic sources. The NOAA discussion talks about rock in the long term – but shell in the short term. Which is the essential problem. There is much more dead shell than live even in the open ocean – and living organisms actively build shell. .

        I did say CO2 from the atmosphere reacts with seawater to form carbonic acid. Quibbling does nothing for clarity – and misguided quibbling even less.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        sorry – NASA discussion…

      • The thing is, that the CaCO3 at the bottom is continuously being dissolved and even now is being brought to the surface. So even if an ocean current takes hundreds or thousands of years to make a circuit, CaCO3 is supplied on a continuous basis.

      • David L. Hagen

        Pekka
        On the enormous ocean buffers, see Tom V. Segalstad CO2web.info

    • “For gases the solubility of CO2 molecules decreases with temperature, but the dependence is not particularly strong.”

      The ratio of the maximum solubility known at 0ºC is about 5.9 times as great as the least known at 60ºC. Cold water, about one millennium old and saturated with CO2, raised to the surface from the bottom by the Ekman currents at the Equator ought to be warmed by about 30ºC, or half that range. There it outgasses around 50 GtC/yr while reducing the CO2 solubility to about one third its old value. The dependence might seem particularly strong, but it accounts for the majority of the carbon solubility pump (which IPCC calls the solution pump) with an abundance of side effects still not discovered by IPCC.

  33. 1. The Emperor is naked

    2. Somebody gives the Emperor a handkerchief

    3. A whole scientific area sprouts: Emperor Dressification

    4. Claims are made that a second handkerchief has been spotted in the Emperor’s hands

    5. In the meanwhile, the Emperor is still naked. There is no indication whatsoever that the situation will change.

    6. Emperor Dressification “experts” complain about the quibbling.

    • Since omnologos missed it:

      You can beautify the ugly, or enrich the poor. You can cool molten steel, or warm an igloo. It’s just a direction of change – no critical level.

      http://judithcurry.com/2013/07/19/ocean-acidification-discussion-thread/#comment-347720

      Thanks, Nick.

      • willard – that’s just senseless wording. Amount of change is very important. If I find a poor person and give them a dollar I am not “enriching” them.

        In fact, if I made that claim I would be called naive or dishonest.

      • > that’s just senseless wording.

        Please tame your inner Chewbacca, omnologos.

        Here’s another reference, FYEO:

        Ocean acidification is occurring because the world’s oceans are absorbing increasing amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide, leading to lower pH and greater acidity. This is literally causing a sea change and threatening the fundamental chemical balance of ocean and coastal waters from pole to pole.

        http://www.oceanacidification.noaa.gov

        Pray tell us more about amounts of change. Are you suggesting that the only proper meaning to the expression “ocean acidification” was if water really became acid?

        ***

        Also note the burden that would impose your ad hoc criteria du jour:

        I’m opposed to AGW. (Think about it.)

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/19013134024

        Now, just imagine every time you said pro-AGW:

        http://lmgtfy.com/?q=site%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fomnologos.com+%22pro-agw%22

        And that’s just your blog. And you’re just one instance of a contrarian who uses the absurd expression “pro-AGW”. I mean, come on: perhaps the only “pro-AGW” commenter here is Kold Kim.

        Is “ocean acidification” really worth it, omnologos?

      • when I will be of world importance, I will carefully choose all of my wordings, yes.

        ps how you can seriously quote as proper source something that says “threatening the fundamental chemical balance of ocean and coastal waters from pole to pole”, I will never understand

      • > how you can seriously quote as proper source something that says “threatening the fundamental chemical balance of ocean and coastal waters from pole to pole”, I will never understand

        Life is full of mysteries, dear omnologos. By chance the truth is out there for you and your allies to make it triumph at the end. Even if you have to take down every authorities that stand in your way to free up the world for all its institutional miscreants.

        DEBALKANIZE ALL THE INTERWEB!

        ***

        But just in case you’d like to know, dear omnologos, the quote from NOAA just happens to be an instance of an usage.

        As long as you express concerns based on armchair linguistics, I will show usages of the term. You gain something by venting, and in exchange I show usages of the concept that is the basis of our ongoing discussion. I say it’s a fair deal, don’t you think? At least, we both seem to unlose from the exchange.

        Thank you for your concerns,

  34. As Andrew Adams sagely observed, you can be sure that in any thread like this, some pompous quibbler will assert, with no credible reference, that acidification cannot occur at pH above 7.

    That is wrong on multiple grounds. It is not English usage. You can beautify the ugly, or enrich the poor. You can cool molten steel, or warm an igloo. It’s just a direction of change – no critical level.

    But it’s chemically wrong. pH 7 is just the neutral point of a particular buffer system (H+/OH-). But the operative buffer in sea water is (CO3–/HCO3-/CO2). It’s a double system, so it doesn’t have a simple neutral point. It certainly isn’t 7.

    And more generally, it’s based on an outdated (Lowry/Bronsted) notion of acidity. Lewis acidity dates from 1923, and gives no special status to H+. You can acidify H2SO4 by adding SO3.

    In fact, H+ has very little role in the seawater reactions. You can express them as:
    CO2 + CO3– + H2O &#8596 2HCO3-
    Ca++ + CO3– &#8596 CaCO3

    There is a subsidiary relation
    H+ + HCO3- &#8596 H2O + CO2
    and you can fuss about the hydration status of CO2 (or H+) if you want to. This last is why pH can be used to track acidity if convenient. But it really isn’t.

    Some useful references:
    Survey article (Zeebe, history)
    CDIAC

    Seawater analysis is best done in terms of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC ~ 2.05 mM (millimolar)) and total alkalinity (TA ~ 2.35 mM). DIC is made up of 91% HCO3- (1.97mM), 8% CO3– (0.16mM) and about 1% CO2 (0.02 mM). All these concentrations are 3-5 orders of magnitude higher than H+. DIC is just mass analysis, and TA just a titration. From DIC and TA and the equilibrium constants, it’s just algebra to get everything else, including [H+]. Trying to measure [H+] directly is unnecessary and irrelevant to the chemistry.

    As CO2 is added, there is little proportional change in DIC, or in its major constituent HCO3-. Consequently, from the H+/HCO3- equilibrium, [H+] is nearly proportional to [CO2], and likewise from the first equilibrium, [CO3–] is nearly proportional to [CO2]. So when Dorner referes to a 30% change, it may not have been just [H+]; it applies to all three, and the 30% change in [CO3–] is by far the largest mass change.

    • The comment system here didn’t recognize &#8596, which is the equilibrium sign.

      I see that Pekka has posted lots of good stuff on the chemistry above.

      • Latimer Alder

        You’ll be keen to see his even more excellent stuff on the observational data (paucity and quality of) below!

    • Latimer Alder

      ‘In fact, H+ has very little role in the seawater reactions’

      Excellent.

      Even less reason for ‘scientists’ to mislead the general public by focussing on a small concentration increase in this irrelevant number to justify their use of the disingenuous term ‘acidification’

      No doubt you will join me in calling for them to cease doing so forthwith.

      • Again you have this outdated notion that acidification means H+. Adding CO2 is acidification. It dissolves CaCO3.

        H+ may be an intermediate, but doesn’t determine what happens. But it does track it – [H+] is proportional to the things that matter. So quoting pH isn’t misleading.

      • Nick,

        When all quantities are strongly interlinked by balance equations, it’s not possible to separate those which determine what happens from those which track the changes.

        The main weakness of pH is that it changes little as long as buffering is very efficient. Thus major changes in remaining buffering capacity may occur while pH changes very little. Thus pH does not even track well all of the most important changes in marine chemistry.

        It’s quite common to measure alkalinity instead, but even that is highly insufficient as it does not tell about the remaining available non-dissolved CaCO3 (it’s quantity, quality, origins, and other important properties).

      • Pekka,
        “it’s not possible to separate those which determine what happens from those which track the changes.”
        It is possible. There are simply far too few H+ ions to have a quantitative effect on their own. If they all reacted with CO3–, say, the effect would be imperceptible.

        That’s the point of buffering. The only important chemistry is that of the buffer species, and their balance relative to each other. Concentration of stronger acids and bases is held fixed (and small) by equilibrium laws.

        Alkalinity (TA) plus total dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) are sufficient, with equilibrium relations, to determine CO3–, HCO3- (ie the buffer) and also the minor species CO2, H+ and even OH-.

      • Nick,

        In the spirit of your comment, the importance of various chemical components is determined by their quantity, The buffer chemicals are most important, when their quantity overwhelms the strong acids or bases. When we have large quantities of a strong acid or base that makes the whole solution a strong acid or base.

        Without buffering a small amount of strong acid or base has a strong effect on pH. With buffering that’s not true, but a large enough amount of strong acid still determines the pH. We are just used to consider much smaller amounts of strong acids and bases than buffering substances.

    • Latimer Alder

      ‘It is not English usage. You can beautify the ugly, or enrich the poor. You can cool molten steel, or warm an igloo. It’s just a direction of change – no critical level’

      Nope. Those are continuously variable quantities. As you become less ugly you become more pretty.

      But acid/alkali is not a continuous variable. It has distinct ‘tipping point’. Below 7 it is acidic, above it is alkaline. Think pregnancy. You are ither pregnant or not. If you are not pregnant in the first place you cannot become more so.

      And the common usage of ‘acidify’ reflects that. It expects that after a process of ‘acidification’ the result be acidic. Not just less alkaline.

      The point is not difficult for even a climate scientist to grasp. It is misleading. It gives the layman an image and expectation that is wrong. The climatologists could easily change their terminology, or add a standard caveat to explain this to eliminate any possible confusion. It wouldn’t be a big deal. And the layman might expect that a ‘scientist’ with integrity would go out of their way to ensure that his points are clearly understood by everyone who hears of his work.

      That they choose not to take these simple steps, but instead fight tooth and nail .to retain the term tells me that there is more than just ‘science’ going on here.

      I wonder what that might be (innocent face)?

      • > But acid/alkali is not a continuous variable.

        Yet another armchair linguist that gets contradicted by usage:

        When carbon dioxide dissolves in the ocean it lowers the pH, making the ocean more acidic.

        https://pangea.stanford.edu/research/Oceans/GES205/Caldeira_Science_Anthropogenic%20Carbon%20and%20ocean%20pH.pdf

      • What happens, armchair chemist, when you boil pure water?

        Boiling water increases the concentration of H+ ions, as well as the concentration of OH- ions.

        It lowers the pH, but does it make it more acidic?

        If you continue to depend on junior high school levels of chemical knowledge, you will continue to misunderstand the subject.

        There is no magical tipping point at a pH of 7

        pH is still the measure of one quantity, you don’t start measuring somithing different as you cross the magical pH of 7, and as the exapmple of boiling water would point out, neutrality does not necessarily occur at a pH of 7, sometimes it occurs at a pH of 6.

      • Steven Mosher

        Its more interesting to ask about how the process is described in other fields.

        Do people ask how to acidify their pool water?

        Or do the ask how to reduce its alkalinity?

        http://www.ehow.com/how_5504882_lower-alkalinity-salt-water-pool.html

        http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070425075159AAco3Za

        Or you could look at what this climate scientist says

        http://www.rgs.org/OurWork/Schools/Geography+in+the+News/Ask+the+experts/Ocean+acidification.htm

        “Ocean acidification is the term given to the reduction in pH of seawater caused by the absorbtion of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere.

        The acidity of a liquid is described by the term pH which ranges in value from one to 14; where one is highly acid and 14 highly alkaline. Pure water has a pH of seven – neutral. Seawater pH varies naturally around the world and over annual cycles but is usually in the region of pH 7.9 to 8.4; that is, slightly alkaline. This range is created through a balance between biological activity and seawater chemistry. As far as we can tell seawater pH has been in this range for at least the past 20 million years.

        When CO2 dissolves in seawater it reacts with water to produce a weak acid (carbonic acid). This lowers the pH. Thus ocean acidification is the decrease in the pH of seawater – hence the definition above. But, confusingly, because seawater is naturally a weak alkali (as noted above), strictly speaking the process should be called a reduction in alkalinity because the ocean pH is highly unlikely to become less than seven, that is an acid.

        Whilst accurate, this is rather pedantic and it is simpler to use “ocean acidification” because this relates to the cause”

        http://www.thew2o.net/images/folder/PDF%20Ocean%20Observers/Ocean%20Acidification%20November.pdf

        “There had already been publications and reports on the increasing acidification — technically, decreasing alkalinity since seawater is has an average pH of more than 8.0, and the predicted drop in pH will not take seawater below the neutral pH of 7. Most notable was perhaps the 2003 Nature paper calculating that absorption of fossil CO2 would make the oceans more acidic than they had been in 300 million years”

        You’ll find examples of folks who refer to “reducing alkalinity” as the “techically correct” terminology…. and then they go on to use acidification.

        Studying use is fun..

      • Steven Mosher

        First use of “acidification” as opposed to reduced alkalinity, appears to be in 1 2003 article by Ken Caldera.

        In 2000, the process is just called “a drop in ph”

        http://epic.awi.de/3784/1/Rie2000a.pdf

        these guys call it neutralization

        http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/109287504773087309

        Here in 1997, folks use the word acidification to refer to … well.. making something acid

        http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es960490o

        Your better point is this: given multiple ways of describing the same thing why choose the scary one. Note, that if you reduce the alkalinity of your blood its called acidosis.. or something like that.. that point cuts two ways..

      • “But acid/alkali is not a continuous variable. It has distinct ‘tipping point’. Below 7 it is acidic, above it is alkaline.”

        What’s the tipping point? What happens? As said, pH 7 has no significance in a buffered environment.

        Our body fluids are also buffered, with a HCO3-/CO2 system, mainly. This keeps pH about 7.4. Below 7.35, you have a condition called acidosis. Above 7.45, alkalosis. At pH 7, or even a bit above, you’re dead. Now there’s a tipping point.

        Do you think medicos should change their terminology?

      • > First use of “acidification” as opposed to reduced alkalinity, appears to be in 1 2003 article by Ken Caldera.

        Vintage 1998, communists were being accused of creating acidified lakes:

        The reversal of water acidification has been recently indicated by both empirical data and experiments. The world’s largest whole-ecosystem experiment involving ∼30% and ∼40% reduction in nitrogen and sulfur emissions, respectively, has occurred in Central Europe due to the political and economic changes in the postcommunist countries since 1989. Parallel decreases in deposition rates of SO42-, NO3-, and NH4+ have resulted in a rapid reversal in hydro-chemistry of acidified lakes in the Sumava Mountains and the High Tatra Mountains. Concentrations of SO42- and NO3- in lakes were reduced by 11-14 and 13-32 mmol m-3, respectively, between the late 1980s and middle 1990s. Leaching of calcium, magnesium, and aluminum from the watersheds decreased while lake water pH and alkalinity increased. The immediate decline in NO3- concentrations after reduced nitrogen emissions has suggested a rapid reversibility of nitrogen saturation of the mountainous ecosystems in response to decreased amounts of nitrogen deposition.

        http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=2333155

        OMG! ACIDIFIED LAKES!

        One has to wonder why Kopacek & alii have not chosen to speak of reversal of alkalinity reduction instead.

      • Willard – this link certifies you as a complete idiot:

        http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF00014625

        Congratulations!!

        ps for those too lazy to click…acidified lakes had indeed been made acidic, with ph<7.0

      • Cool, I am long barley straw.

        http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/ponds/msg081933349762.html

        It is more fun to be productive.

      • Steven Mosher

        Willard,

        You just scored an own goal.

        Fresh water versus salt water.

        Note also the usage I found where a salt water marsh was acidified… when it reached a ph of 3-4.

        somewhere around 2003 folks decided to extend the usage of acidify.
        Normal usage: if the ph is below 7 ( its acidic) making it more acid is acidifying. Making it less acid is neutralizing. For stuffthat is alkaline to begin with…. its only refrred to as acidifying if you actuall get the ph below 7

      • Latimer,

        “But acid/alkali is not a continuous variable. It has distinct ‘tipping point’. Below 7 it is acidic, above it is alkaline. Think pregnancy. You are either pregnant or not. If you are not pregnant in the first place you cannot become more so.”

        So, a pH 1.00 solution is not more acidic than a pH 6.98 solution? Sounds like continuously variable nonsense.

      • Still going on. Adding CO2 to water is an acidifying process, hence acidification, like adding certain other gases is too.

      • > acidified lakes had indeed been made acidic, with ph<7.0

        Now, dear omnologos, let's pump our intuition with one of the first things you said:

        [Talking about acidification] makes people believe oceans are turning into skin-dissolving soups.

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/07/19/ocean-acidification-discussion-thread/#comment-347503

        Let’s apply that to lakes, watery entities that are naturally acid. Does this mean to speak of acidified lakes made people believe that lakes are as we speak skin-dissolving soups?

        You can remain on your armchair for this one.

        Thinking should be enough.

        Thanks for playing.

      • > You just scored an own goal.

        I suppose that depends upon the goals.

        Here’s another interesting abstract, vintage 1978:

        EXPOSURE of unfertilised sea urchin eggs to NH4Cl and other weak bases such as procaine or nicotine results in the activation of some of the events which normally follow fertilisation, such as the acceleration of protein synthesis and the initiation of DNA synthesis1,2. The initial events of normal fertilisation, for example, the cortical reaction and respiratory burst, are bypassed. It has been shown that fertilisation triggers a Na–H ion exchange that results in an increase in the intracellular pH and a decrease in the pH of the surrounding seawater3. There is a similar acidification of the seawater and increase in intracellular pH when sea urchin eggs are exposed to NH4Cl or procaine. This led to the suggestion that the pH changes induced by weak bases were mediated by a mechanism similar to the Na–H ion exchange. However, it had been proposed that NH4Cl worked by a simple passive diffusion mechanism, where the uncharged species of weak base diffuses into the egg and picks up an H+ ion, resulting in an increase in the intracellular pH (ref. 4). The important distinction between these two mechanisms is that if weak bases are working by a passive diffusion mechanism, bypassing the Na–H ion exchange, then their action gives direct support to the hypothesis that an increase in the intracellular pH plays a part in the onset of biosynthetic activities after fertilisation. We show here that weak bases bypass the Na–H ion exchange, cause both the internal and external pH changes directly by their passive diffusion into the egg, and that the initial increase in the rate of protein synthesis is proportional to the amount of weak base entering the egg.

        http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v273/n5663/abs/273536a0.html

        Our emphasis.

        Now, think about all these baby eggs getting dumped into a body-dissolving soup.

      • Willard, it could be a complex pH balance issue damaging all those “baby eggs” or then again,

        http://www.aapg.org/explorer/2000/11nov/dust.cfm

      • You should not have skipped the Beaujolais.

      • Could be, Cap’n. Could be. The truth is out there.

        ***

        As I have not much more time this week-end, here’s the latest usage I found:

        THE RELATIVE IMPORTANCE OF pH AND CARBON DIOXIDE TENSION IN DETERMINING THE CESSATION OF CILIARY MOVEMENT IN ACIDIFIED SEA WATER

        http://jgp.rupress.org/content/7/6/693.abstract

        Vintage 1928.

        Now, please recall omnologos’ augury:

        [E]ven if all Earth’s CO2 went into the sea, still the pH would be above 7.

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/07/19/ocean-acidification-discussion-thread/#comment-347503

        Thank you all for your concerns,

        w

      • Latimer Alder

        @willard

        Re ‘Acidified seawater’

        You should have read the paper, not just the title.

        They certainly did ‘acidify’ it. They added conc HCl to get the pH down to the leve desired..somewhere between 6.5 (mild experiment) and 3.7 (more vigorous experiment).

        I think we can all agree that ‘acidification ‘ (= making sthg acid) is correct in this case.

        But it is not at all relevant to the case of adding CO2 to the atmosphere.

      • Latimer Alder

        @owen

        Imagine you are in Texas. And you cross into Mexico. Until the moment you cross you are still in the US. You are not getting ‘more into Mexico’. You are getting nearer to Mexico, but you are not becoming Mexican . One you have crossed your status immediately changes from ‘in USA’ to ‘In Mexico’.

        And if you travel on for hundreds of miles you can become ‘deeper in Mexico

        Simples.

        Perhaps you aren’t very familiar with international travel if you find the concept beyond you?

      • Thanks, Latimer.

        I have no access to this old article. It’s just the oldest example I found yet. If you have a quote proving your point, that would be great.

        Also note that you have forgotten to comment on the reference vintage 1978. It does not seem to correspond to the only usage you approved yet.

        Also note that your meaning “smtg into acid” does not cover the case of acidifying an already acid lake.

        And there’s Nick concept of acidosis, which you have failed to comment.

        As you can see, there are many meanings that can attached to the concept of acidification.

        Your appeal to common sense has no merit. Nor does have your appeal to a “proper”, technical sense. All that remains is your conspirational hypothesis.

        Best of luck with it,

        The truth is out there,

        w

      • Here is a 1992 offering:
        “Soil acidification is defined as a decrease of the acid neutralization capacity of the soil solids”

        Nothing about pH 7 – just a direction of change.

      • Latimer Alder

        @ willard

        Re ‘a quote’. I just followed your link, then clicked on the link ‘full text’, on the left hand side to get the whole paper.

        And it relly doesn’t matter how many technical uses you can all find. I have repeatedly said (try reading what I wrote rather than what you think I wrote) that for a technical usage – where there is a clear understanding among all the participants what is meant – you can use whatever terminology you like. There are unlikely to be any misunderstandings.

        But when that usage is let loose in the general world any reputable scientist would want to be sure that there are no misunderstandings..

        As Steven Mosher wisely asks

        ‘given multiple ways of describing the same thing why choose the scary one.?’

        One can only speculate.

      • I’m sure one can do more than speculate, Latimer, as the truth is out there. One could also let others speculate. In such moments, the Auditor asks: wonder why?

        I’ve asked some bunnies for some old instances. Here’s what they found:

        Revelle, R., and H. E. Suess (1957), Carbon dioxide exchange between atmosphere and ocean and the question of an increase of atmospheric CO2 during the past decades, Tellus, 9, 18–27.

        Wattenberg, H.: Uber die Titrationsalkalinit ¨ 30 at und den Kalziumkarbonatgehalt des Meer-wassers, Deutsche Atlantische Exped. Meteor. 1925–1927, Wiss. Erg., Bd 8, Part 2, 122–
        231, 1933.

        Sverdrup, H. U.,Johnson, M. W., and Fleming, R. H.: The Oceans: Their Physics, Chemistry, 25 and General Biology. Prentice-Hall, 1087 pp., 1942

        If the usage of “acidification” can at least be traced back to Revelle, I don’t think you have much basis to speculate, Latimer. Not that this will prevent you to do so. You could of course be sport instead and really take an interest in the history of a discipline you do claim to know.

        Due diligence,

        w

      • Steven Mosher

        willard.

        Consider the following:

        If I take a substance that is alkaline and I move it toward a ph of 7
        we observe that people have called this: neutralization, lowering ph and acidification

        If we take a substance that is acidic and move it toward a ph of 7 people refer to that as neutralization .

        If somebody takes water and moves its ph to above 7, that is called alkalinzation ( and you can spend stupid money on devices to do this)

        When a substance has its ph changed to below 7, its called acidification.

        If the process of moving a substance from a ph of 14 to 13 is called acidification, then we lose descriminative power when we want a word to describe something moving from ph 9 to ph 6. That is, when the word acidification of used for BOTH the movement toward 7 and movement beyond 7, we have lost discrimination in the language. Of course linguistic change is un stopable. But recall what quine said about language being born in sin.. science is its redemption. And here we have a scientific usage which is diminishing the power of discrimination.

      • > [H]ere we have a scientific usage which is diminishing the power of discrimination.

        I disagree. Contemporary usage has enriched the context in which it makes sense of speaking of adification. Not only it applies to obtaining an acid, but it now applies more generally to all kinds of processes which reduce PH, and even processes which does not directly concern PH at all. Discrimination is diminished only for those who do not follow up on the evolution of the theorical concepts.

        > neutralization, lowering ph and acidification

        We have seen more than three cases, and none of which are related to neutralization and alkalinization. For every cases we have seen appeals to common sense and appeals to theorical correctness. All appeals in all relevant cases got refuted.

        ***

        > language is born in sin [yadayadayada]

        Let’s close this with an historical note. True Quineans are holists regarding meaning: words get their meanings in the discourses in which they evolve. True Quineans are also conventionalists regarding meaning: it is possible to adopt all kinds of dictionary to communicate. We are free to choose, up to a point, which is mainly logical.

        That does not prevent Quine to be a very conservative thinker:

        The lore of our fathers is a fabric of sentences. In our hands it develops and changes, through more or less arbitrary and deliberate revisions and additions of our own, more or less directly occasioned by the continuing stimulation of our sense organs. It is a pale gray lore, black with fact and white with convention. But I have found no substantial reasons for concluding that there are any quite black threads in it, or any white ones.

        There ought to be limits to endure concerns.

        I submit it’s time to drop that one.

      • So what are the people going to do with the language when they figure out that ‘acidifying’ the oceans means ‘fertilizing’ them, in an organic and sustainable way?
        =================

      • Lots of theories.

        Tell them that only ought to turn oceans into lakes.

        Shan’t be that bad, shan’t it?

    • Steven Mosher

    • Steven Mosher

      Nick,

      As I understand it the alkilinity of sea water changes as you go from the depths to the surface. would you call that acidification?

      Looking back at some texts prior to the whole global warming debate I’m finding locutions like “reduced alkilinity” but acidification isnt showing up in any text books.. still searching.. maybe I’ll find the first use.

  35. I checked on this a while ago myself during an internet debate.

    “Recent near collapses of the oyster fishery in the Pacific Northwest, directly attributed to changing seawater chemistry, had substantial negative impacts on local jobs and economies.”

    The oysters in question were attacked by a fungal infection which only affected a single hatchery. Most of the oyster business went unaffected. It had nothing to do with “accidification”. Most likely it was due to poor practices.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Thanks, James. I checked on it as well, it was total BS as near as I could tell. The companies involved are still happily producing oysters. But no surprise that the alarmists are passing BS off as science.

  36. son of mulder

    Clearly what we need is an impact diagram to put all this “acidification” malarky into perspective about what will happen, when it will happen and what is the atmospheric proportion of CO2 when it happens.

    Now I know this will require models of both pH evolution and predicted biological response. But, as there is such clear fear of “acidification” being expressed I must assume that the key milestones along the road to fizzing oceans must already be known with strong confidence. The science is surely settled. Who knows enough to produce such a chart? There must be feedbacks, what are they? What level of atmospheric CO2 will overcome the buffers?

    • Latimer Alder

      There are no ‘milestones along the road to fizzing oceans’ since we will never get there.

      At worst, the oceans will be just a little less alkaline than they are today. And a little bit nearer in properties to pure water. (pH=7.0)

  37. I was considerably consternated with Scott Doney’s testimony. I found his statements and reference to a scientific work to be unprincipled. Since the pH of the ocean varies at each location this study of one location can hardly be judged to be comprehensive enough to make political decisions about the entire ocean.

    The work in question takes measurements from one locale, and doesn’t publish conclusions, rather Doney’s statements are giving his opinion about what he read, “Long-term ocean acidification trends are clearly evident over the past several decades in open-ocean time-series and hydrographic survey data, and the trends are consistent with the growth rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide (Dore et al., 2009).” I don’t feel that his aggregation of the effects of CO2 from the study is absurd, but I don’t think think the 2009 paper supports his making this judgment.

    “Despite the urgency of the ocean acidification problem, there are few available data sets directly documenting its long-term (decadal to interdecadal) rate or its shorter-term (seasonal to interannual) variability. Repeat hydrography has been used to document a decadal increase in the inventory of DIC in the Pacific (8); however, the technique has not yet been applied to the detection of pH changes. Long-term trends in pCO2oce globally have also been documented from large data synthesis efforts (9), but these results do not directly address pH and are confined to the surface layer. Although such approaches provide important spatial coverage of long-term trends, their accuracy will be difficult to assess unless seasonal and interannual time scales of pH variability can be adequately resolved.”

    http://www.pnas.org/content/106/30/12235.full

    • Latimer Alder

      Shorter James Cook:

      The ‘scientists’ have very little current observational data and no reliable historical stuff.

      And they are theorising and generalising way ahead of what they do have.

    • Yeah, but…

      The work you cited, cited research in Bermuda and the Canary Islands that also showed decreases in ocean pH.

      • Latimer Alder

        Did you look at those papers? Did you count the number of data points they have collected? Did you check how many had been ‘calculated’ rather than measured? Did you see the huge gaps (five years +) in their time series?

        But most importantly since thse 200 or so data points are all the time stamped data there are, do you consider that sampling (of the temperate Atlantic only) to be truly representative of 50 years pH history over the entire globe?

        If so, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.

      • Latimer, I don’t find a 5 year gap and I find more than 200 data points and I find both measured and calculated values of pH.

        I’ll give you -1,000,000 dollars for the bridge.

      • Latimer Alder

        @bob droege

        1. ‘200 or so’ How many data points did you count in total?

        2. Do you consider a ‘time series’ that varies its method from actual observation to calculation and back again to be a reliable record of pH at that individual location? Please explain your reasoning.

        3. Do you consider that the record discussed in 2 (above) is a reliable indicator of pH changes throughout the oceans? Please explain your reasoning

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Most change in Pacific pH is a result of upwelling – both coastal and open ocean.

        This is certainly a possibility at Bermuda and the Canary Islands. I don’t really know.

        http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/kits/currents/media/supp_cur04a.html

        You really need to disentangle cause before leaping to a explanation of a dataset.

  38. I agree with Judith that Doney’s testimony would have benefited greatly from more open discussion of the state of knowledge and of the remaining uncertainties. It’s possible to include in a brief testimony clear statements of that nature.

    As long as I have tried to learn about ocean acidification I’ve been surprised by the scarcity of direct data on the changes in pH and ocean chemistry more generally. Short term and local variability makes individual time series less conclusive, to compensate for that we would need many time series from different locations. It’s amazing that such time series don’t exist. Even if collecting time series of sufficient quality is demanding, it’s not impossible.

    Lacking proper time series we are left with the theoretical understanding. Based on that we know for sure that more CO2 results in lower pH, but we don’t know, how effectively the change is reduced by buffering. Neither does it appear possible to find sufficiently real data on the changes in remaining buffering capacity.

    On the influence on more CO2 on marine life the Woods Hole news release linked indirectly above is interesting. Doney should have discussed the weight of such research results and explained why he still considers the standard understanding as valid.

    Leaving the door open for the critiques to claim that presentation is dismissing proper scientific results when they are contrary to the simple message presented is bad for the credibility. It’s more convincing to tell about differing views and apparently contradictory results and to explain briefly, why they don’t change essentially the conclusions, than to skip those issues totally. That’s true even when the presentation must be kept brief.

    • Latimer Alder

      Excellently put Pekka!

      ‘ I’ve been surprised by the scarcity of direct data on the changes in pH and ocean chemistry more generally. Short term and local variability makes individual time series less conclusive, to compensate for that we would need many time series from different locations’

      Yep. We have such data to create GAT records (HADCRUx, GISS etc) which are (with reservations) generally accepted. Regular measurements from thousands of locations taken over tens of years.

      By comparison we have only a handful of pH observations from a dozen or so sites. Like estimating the global temperature from looking at my thermometer once a month and asking my cousin in Australia what hers says.

      This isn’t anything like proper science. It is ‘sciency’ fortune telling. And about as robust and reliable as Gypsy Rose Lee’s predictions of meeting a tall dark stranger…………………..

      • The problem is that lack of knowledge does not tell at all that the issue is not important. Theoretical considerations indicate that ocean acidification may be a really serious issue, but they don’t prove it. On the other hand some contradictory scientific results don’t prove that the issue is benign.

        We are facing the same problem here as we are elsewhere when the consequences of CO2 releases are considered: There are valid arguments that tell about possible serious consequences, but the uncertainties are large. When the political ideologies are strongly against strong governmental intervention, or when they are strongly anti growth or greenish, people pick firmly their side. For the rest of us choosing the right policies is difficult. We want to reduce the risks even, when they are uncertain, but we don’t want to take actions that are likely to have a negative overall effect for the human well-being even when risk aversion is taken into account.

        Knowing something with an uncertainty of a factor of five does not allow for objectively justifiable policy choices. (A factor of five is a quite realistic number for the uncertainty of a benefit/cost comparison.)

      • The problem with Pekka’s complaint is that it is possible to postulate an unlimited number of theoretically plausible but empirically unproven risks. The dangers of pharmaceuticals (some dissolved in urine) being flushed down the toilet and into bodies of water presents all kinds of alarming possibilities for hormonal and other types of effects. Do jet contrails catalyze cloud cover, altering the climate balance? The use of genetically optimized crop varieties increases the risk that a single blight or disease might wipe out a large proportion of the food supply. There are any number of scare-sites dedicated to various environmental risks caused by human technology or indeed just by “chemicals” (there is even a movement to ban chlorine!). (It seems to me that in the US we spend a lot less effort preparing for “natural” risks that are better understood and known to be consequential, such as seismic risks or even meteor impacts, than we do dealing with fairly conjectural things like micro-dose exposures to “toxic” chemicals.)

        Without some empirical basis for concern, speculative theoretical mechanisms of harm simply should not be given much resource allocation except for gathering the missing basic empirical data. We know that overfishing is clobbering certain fish populations, and we have a pretty good idea of what would be needed to fix the problem. Giving people the idea that ocean acidification is of roughly equal importance to overfishing in harming human-relevant aspects of the ocean ecosystem is just misleading. The more of these bogeymen thrown out there, the less any one of them is going to get addressed.

      • stevepostrel,

        I agree that theories can be misused, and often are.

        That doesn’t, however, justify dismissing the best source of information available. The choice if acting as if we would not know anything, when direct empirical observations are nor available is purely political. It fits well with the conservative idea of minimizing the role of government. I have mentioned explicitly a couple of times in this thread that the other edge of the political spectrum (green / no-growth in this case) reacts to the uncertainty equally ideologically.

        Finding the right solution is easy only to those whose balance is firmly at the stop on either edge of the scale.

      • Pekka, your argument is not responsive to my point that there are an infinite number of theoretical potential threats and we must prioritize our attention, including the effort we put in to gather empirical data about each threat. That is an existential condition, independent of any ideology.

        How we react to that condition, and which threats we choose to investigate and worry about, of course depends on worldview and philosophy. It’s not enough to say, though, that choosing to ignore a threat is “ideological.” Everybody ignores theoretical threats all the time for the excellent reason that neither private nor public action would be possible if we spent all our time worrying about remote threats.

      • It’s always possible to analyze the situation searching – in an objective fashion – for net beneficial actions. The answers are hardly unique or accepted unanimously, but the basic idea is clear.

        My main point is, however, only that denying justification for any action is in not logically better than initiating many processes including some that are likely to have net negative outcome.

        The natural null hypothesis is that the best data available is correct. Deviations in either direction from that requires specific justification. That means that not doing anything requires specific justification as well.

      • Pekka, this is where the white area of the Italian flag comes in. If the known unknowns are large (let alone unknown unknowns), then the best available information does not necessarily provide a strong rationale for action. Further, if there is a substantial amount of conflicting evidence, then we are left relying on expert judgment rather than a strong evidentiary case

      • Judith,

        I agree that there are many issues for which we don’t know at all the right choice. Often some choice has to be made anyway, if we include doing nothing as one of the choices. I don’t accept that it’s correct to conclude that we should automatically opt to doing nothing in those cases.

        Often the real alternatives are such that some of the other alternatives may potentially deviate much more from the optimum than doing nothing. In those cases doing nothing is the prudent choice.

        Basically I don’t like the Idea of Italian flag. For me the white is too white. In most cases we have some hints to make preferential choices even over that range. The risk of erring is large, but even so we should not dismiss the limited information we have.

        I have similar objections towards many other approaches that have been proposed for handling difficult to solve problems. My preference is to keep always all the information we have and avoid throwing that away even, when the evidence is weak.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        I think we are left in a position of not knowing whether changing the composition of the atmosphere is benign or malignant. At the end of the day it is perhaps not all that relevant in that there are social, economic, environmental and technological changes underway that meet other human – and indeed ecological – needs and at the same time mitigate emissions. It seems to me that we are doing relevant things of necessity – health, education, development, safe water and sanitation, farmland and ecosystem conservation and energy research – and that we could usefully ramp up our focus on and the effectiveness of these things while assessing carbon mitigation at the periphery.

      • For Pekka, the White Flag has fifty shades of fear. But how can that be when we know that white has all the colors of the rainbow?

        H/t Goethe.
        =============

  39. Latimer Alder

    @pekka pirilla

    ‘The problem is that lack of knowledge does not tell at all that the issue is not important’

    Well the way round that problem is *not* to theorise way ahead of the data, knowingly use misleading terminology and wave hands wildly when challenged. That seems to be the ‘scientists’ current strategy and it mightily damages their credibility.

    With all the theorising and unrealistic lab level experimentation that has been done, I don’t think there has been a single study that shows that out in the real world:

    a. ‘Ocean acidification’ is actually occurring to a significant extent or
    b. That any organism has been harmed (or even affected) by it.

    Unless and until there are a slew of such studies covering a wide variety of real world circumstances, then I fear that the real problem of ‘ocean acidification’ is a lot of ‘scientists’ looking desperately to find something to scare us about. The evidence for any such scare is sparse indeed.

    • The point is not “theorizing way ahead of data”. The theories do exist, they lead to expectations. It’s known that straightforward results from theories don’t take everything into account. For that reason they are not quantitatively accurate. Even so they are often the best basis we have for making educated guesses, infinitely better that denying the theory.

      • Latimer Alder

        I’m not ‘denying’ anything. People can come up with as many theories as they like..and be as sensible or as bonkers as they wish as far as I’m concerned.

        But tehe ony way ti distinguish between them is to rigorously test then against Mother Nature. Until then we don’t know which are any good, which are bonkers, or what MN is actually doing.

        You say ‘they lead to expectations’. Well not in this observer they don’t. Not until they’ve done an awful lot more experimentation/observation to see if they actually have any relationship to reality. And having the theoretical expectations without doing the hard yards of experiment seems to be prevalent in climatology. The sequnce seems to be

        ‘Scientist’ thinks of theory
        ‘Scientist’ publishes paper
        Other ‘scientists’ quote it
        IPCC see quotes and assume it is true
        Theory becomes ‘climatological fact’

        See what’s missing in that? Experiments/observations.

        I’ll start to believe the theories when they pass the ‘Show Me’ test. So far they haven’t even attempted it.

        Theories without experiment/observation are of very limited use.

      • All relevant theories have been confirmed by empirical data. They can then be used to make predictions that cannot immediately be tested as the required data is not available and no direct experiments can be performed. When that’s the case results derived from those theories are the best information we have.

        Telling that we should not care about that information until direct observations are available is denying the value of the theories. In the case of climate change that’s usually done, because the conclusions don’t agree with the personal preferences and political ideologies.

        I’m equally critical of those who hand pick from many theory based calculations those, which deviate clearly from most towards higher damages or which have been produced making as pessimistic as possible assumptions at every step.

        When reliable direct observations are not available, but theories produce plausible predictions, the most prudent approach is to take advantage of the theories doing it objectively and taking great effort to avoid biases that could seriously affect the outcome. A major problem is that the theories are all too often used in a highly biased way leading either to seriously exaggerated projections or to false “proofs” of non-existence of serious consequences.

        Theories are often misused to confirm prejudices rather than to find out what’s most likely based on the existing understanding. It’s typically very difficult to figure out from a paper, whether objectivity has been aimed to, because biased modelers do their best to hide the biases (sometimes even from themselves), and because those motivated in doing the analysis do it often just to “prove” their point.

      • Latimer, you write “Theories without experiment/observation are of very limited use.”

        I prefer to use “hypothesis” instead of “theory” when it comes to CAGW. I have been around and around this mulberry bush with the warmists on Climate Etc. many times; I have lost count. What the warmists, including our hostess, refuse to accept is that there comes a time when the science has progressed as far as it is possible to go with current technology, and the science is not good enough to solve the problem. They seem to have this wrong feeling that if you use the best there is, you can get a correct answer. This will only be true if the best is good enough. Which in the case of CAGW was never even close.

        Ever since CAGW was postulated, it has been crystal clear that it is impossible to do controlled experiments on the earth’s atmosphere. So, with current technology, it is impossible to measure climate sensitivity. When the warmists agree to accept this simple fact, we can restore science to the discussions. Until then, we skeptics are wasting our time on warmists who refuse to accept simple, straightforward scientific facts.

      • Super as they are, these pitiful digital simulacrums of the great analog computer that is the earth’s heat pump, are inadequate to the task.
        ==========================

      • Pekka said at 9:08 am, “All relevant theories have been confirmed by empirical data.” I’d say that is so by the definition of a theory. He continues, “They can then be used to make predictions that cannot immediately be tested as the required data is not available and no direct experiments can be performed.” I hold with Jim Cripwell’s opinion at 9:46 am that the latter would be a hypothesis.

        This hierarchy of scientific models widely respected in Modern Science includes laws (a theory for which all implied predictions have been validated) and conjectures (incomplete hypotheses which have not been contradicted.

        JIm said he likes to use hypothesis for CAGW. However, because its only known testable prediction, the climate sensitivity, is testing outside the widest limits set by IPCC, the AGW model is slipping below even a conjecture. It is falling outside science.

    • michael hart

      +1 Latimer.

  40. michael hart

    “Today the surface ocean is almost 30% more acidic than it was in pre-industrial times.”

    Even if (IF) correct, the chosen terminology speaks volumes to other chemists. In these circumstances few competent chemists would choose this terminology over a description using a pH scale. To me this suggests a non-competent chemist, or a chemist with an agenda.

    By the same standards I could legitimately describe neutral water at pH 7.0 as being roughly 1500% as acidic as water at the ocean pH of 8.2, but not if I wanted to be taken seriously by other chemists.

    For now, I draw the working conclusion that Scott Doney has an agenda.

  41. David Springer

    “my little litmus test”

    Pun intended?

  42. Barry Woods

    I ran this by a ‘certain’ UK scientist (has a place in Desmogblogs Denier database) his response, on an earlier article in the Conversation about Ocean Acidification.

    http://theconversation.com/ocean-acidification-is-chemistry-not-conjecture-15497

    “my immediate comment would be that pH is measured on a logarithmic scale (pH = -log (10)[H+])

    In this context a 30% change is very small, as you have to increase the hydrogen ion (H+) concentration by a factor of 10 to get a decrease in pH of 1.

    Doubling 30% is 60%- still a small fraction of total (H+).
    They are using these figures to mislead and scare people.

  43. J Doug Swallow

    R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist said that: “Dr. Dorney is one of the extensively published and most highly regarded experts in the world on this subject.” One can logically wonder at just how much Dr. Dorney knows if he begins his testimony with “Today the surface ocean is almost 30% more acidic than it was in pre-industrial times, and over the next few decades, the level of acidity of the surface ocean will continue to rise…” when the worries about acidic oceans is pointless since where is the base line? The pH scale didn’t exist before the concept of p[H] was first introduced by Danish chemist Søren Peder Lauritz Sørensen at the Carlsberg Laboratory in 1909? These are some other facts that were not addressed by the less than convincing testimony by Dr. Dorney.

    “The pycnocline (meaning rapid change of density) separates the surface layer of the ocean from the deep ocean. Deep ocean water has a temperature of about 3 degrees Celsius and a salinity measuring about 34-35 psu.” (What does all of this do to the ocean’s pH? Where and what depth are your pH observations taken from?)

    http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/Water/deep_ocean.html

    “As water travels through the water cycle, some water will become part of The Global Conveyer Belt and can take up to 1,000 years to complete this global circuit. It represents in a simple way how ocean currents carry warm surface waters from the equator toward the poles and moderate global climate.”

    http://science.nasa.gov/earth-science/oceanography/ocean-earth-system/ocean-water-cycle/

     
    “As water temperature increases, the increased mobility of gas molecules make them escape from the water, thereby reducing the amount of gas dissolved.”

    http://www.seafriends.org.nz/oceano/seawater.htm

    “It is thought that the carbon dioxide in the sea exists in equilibrium with that of exposed rock and bottom sediment containing limestone CaCO3 (or sea shells for that matter). In other words, that the element calcium exists in equilibrium with CO3. But the concentration of Ca (411ppm) is 10.4 mmol/l and that of all CO2 species (90ppm) 2.05 mmol/l, of which CO3 is about 6%, thus 0.12 mmol/l. Thus the sea has a vast oversupply of calcium. It is difficult therefore to accept that decalcification could be a problem as CO3 increases. To the contrary, it should be of benefit to calcifying organisms. Thus the more CO2, the more limestone is deposited. This has also been borne out by measurements (Budyko 1977).” [maybe, just maybe as with so many things in nature, this is a self-regulating factor that has been taking care of the ocean’s pH without humans having one thing to do with it]

    http://www.seafriends.org.nz/issues/global/acid.htm

    • The discussion at seafriends.org indicates serious misunderstanding of chemistry at several points. As an example the following is opposite to the truth:

      Thus the sea has a vast oversupply of calcium. It is difficult therefore to accept that decalcification could be a problem as CO3 increases.

      The oversupply of calcium means that Ca++ concentration changes only little in relative terms when CaCO3 is dissolved. Thus the addition in Ca++ concentration has only a small effect on the ensuing equilibrium. That makes the buffering more efficient and changes in pH smaller but at the cost of larger reduction in CaCO3 reservoirs. That’s exactly the opposite conclusion of that presented in the text.

      As this is not the only error or highly misleading statement in the text we can conclude that those pages are worthless as a source. One has to know already the answer to figure out, where the pages present correct facts and where just the opposite.

  44. no reply to my debt/credit analogy. no reply to my Emperor Dressification analogy. only basis for accusation of “quibbling”, an appeal to authority. Well then let’s talk phlogiston shall we.

    Ocean water wasn’t acidic before, ain’t going becoming acidic ever perhaps, so it cannot be “more acidic”. Full stop.

    When I have a fever and 38C I don’t suffer from “boilification” just because I’m nearer 100C than before. If I live another year I can’t claim progress in may “eternification”.

    it’s that simple.

    • > only basis for accusation of “quibbling”, appeal to authority

      Wrong. Showing how the word is used in the literature suffices to counter Omnologos’ armchair linguistics.

      Here’s another example of contemporary usage:

      Sunshade geoengineering – the installation of reflective mirrors between the Earth and the Sun to reduce incoming solar radiation, has been proposed as a mitigative measure to counteract anthropogenic global warming. Although the popular conception is that geoengineering can re-establish a ‘natural’ pre-industrial climate, such a scheme would itself inevitably lead to climate change, due to the different temporal and spatial forcing of increased CO2 compared to reduced solar radiation. We investigate the magnitude and nature of this climate change for the first time within a fully coupled General Circulation Model. We find significant cooling of the tropics, warming of high latitudes and related sea ice reduction, a reduction in intensity of the hydrological cycle, reduced ENSO variability, and an increase in Atlantic overturning. However, the changes are small relative to those associated with an unmitigated rise in CO2 emissions. Other problems such as ocean acidification remain unsolved by sunshade geoengineering.

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2008GL033674/abstract

      Language is a social art.

      • Once upon a time the oceanic consequences of changes in atmospheric CO2 were of interest for a little community of scientists. They chose to call it “acidification” but could have used “Bob” or “Charlie” for all anybody cared.

        Now it’s a matter of public policy and the words have a different context. Ancient bad habits (such as using the word “acidification” for a process that can’t make anything acidic) should not be tolerated.

        Likewise, phlogiston worked until it didn’t. Epicycles worked until they didn’t. When eg Dark Matter will be found to be some exotic new family of particles called “X”, thereafter it will be wholly inappropriate to call it “Dark Matter”.

      • And “showing how the word is used in the literature suffices to” demonstrate you’ve got only authority as an argument.

      • > Ancient bad habits (such as using the word “acidification” for a process that can’t make anything acidic) should not be tolerated.

        Exactly, just as we should make illegal any referent to debts repayment until de debt is repaid completely. And how about those who speak of repaying debts of gratitude!

        ***

        Perhaps the scientists ought to speak of ocean desalkanization:

        A process that lowers the amount of acid in a solution. In medicine, an alkali, such as sodium bicarbonate, may be given to patients to lower high levels of acid in the blood or urine that can be caused by certain medicines or conditions.

        http://www.cancer.gov/dictionary?CdrID=44334

        “Alkanization” might sound too much like balkanization. Perhaps it’s a good thing: if alkalization is balkanization, desalkanization would mean to de-balkanize.

        DEBALKANIZE ALL THE OCEANS!

        http://memegenerator.co/instance/39890589

      • Steven Mosher

        “Language is a social art.”

        Yes, and “language was [also] born in sin, and science is it redemption.”

        Interestingly the other day I had occasion to answer some school children’s questions about climate science. When I asked them what concerned them the most, one raised her hand and said “we wont be able to swim in the ocean. Its turning to acid.” My inner black hat marketeer had to grin. Diabolical that something which could be defended on all rational scientific grounds could also create irrational fears. Brilliant social art I thought. Utterly brilliant and diabolical and unredeemable by science, WVOQ was too optimistic.

      • Awesome.

        Vintage 1972:

        Acidification of the La Cloche Mountain Lakes, Ontario and Resulting Fish Mortalities

        First paragraph:

        The loss of populations of lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush), lake herring (Coregonus artedii), white suckers (Catostomus commersoni), and other fishes in Lumsden Lake was attributed to increasing levels of acidity within the lake. An absence of fishes was also observed in nearby lakes. In some lakes, acid levels have increased more than one hundredfold in the last decade.T he increasesi n acidity appear to result from acid fallout in rain and snow. The largest single source of this acid was considered to be the sulfur dioxide emitted by the metal smelters of Sudbury, Ont.

        http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/pdf/10.1139/f72-169

        University of Toronto. Imagine that.

        Denizens seem to have discovered another kind of lake herring. Speaking of which, last night I dreamt I ate a giant lake herring. When I woke up it was still there, at Judy’s.

      • Steven Mosher

        Willard, fresh water versus salt water. you just scored an own goal.

      • The dictionary definitions provided by Latimer and Big Dave do not apply to the usage of acidifying freshwater, since it is already acid.

        The analogies offered by omnologos are refuted by the case of lake acidification.

        Not bad for an own goal.

      • willard,

        you still sticking to the acid rain meme?

        Some advice – it kills your credibility.

      • I’ve heard through the grapevines that “acid rain” dates back to 1850.

        Not bad for a meme.

      • Steven Mosher

        willard

        own goal. from your link

        ‘The loss of populations of lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush), lake herring (Coregonus artedii), white suckers (Catostomus commersoni), and other fishes in Lumsden Lake was attributed to increasing levels of acidity within the lake. An absence of fishes was also observed in nearby lakes. In some lakes, acid levels have increased more than one hundredfold in the last decade. The increases in acidity appear to result from acid fallout in rain and snow. The largest single source of this acid was considered to be the sulfur dioxide emitted by the metal smelters of Sudbury, Ont.In 1971, pH measurements were taken from 150 lakes in the general study area 65 km southwest of Sudbury. Some 33 of these lakes showed a pH of less than 4.5 and were described as “critically acidic.” An additional 37 lakes had a pH in the range of 4.5–5.5 and were termed “endangered” lakes.

        Lets see if you can get it

        1. I pointed you to a climate scientist who says the technically correct term is neutralization.
        2. Moving salt water from 8 to 7.5 is neutralization.
        3. The literature describes moving salt water marches to a ph below 7 as acidification. to make it into an acid.

        For the sake of precision and discriminatory power we can say

        A moving alkaline water toward 7 is called neutralizing.
        B moving alkaline water below 7 is acidification
        C moving acidic fresh water from 6 to 4 is also acidification
        D) moving acidic fresh water toward neutral is neutralization
        E) when you buy a device that takes acidic fresh water and its moved above ph 7, that device is called an alkalinizer.

        When the pool guy comes to your house to reduce the alkalinity of your water he doesnt sell his services as pool acidification.

        Why not?

    • omnologos | July 20, 2013 at 9:13 am |

      With regard to your debit/credit analogy, one can only gape in wonder at the degree of ignorance of finance and stoichiometry you have packed into such a tiny space of words. Bravo.

      If one has a credit limit and pays off some of one’s net debt, one of course can be said to have more credit. To be more creditworthy. To be creditable. So your resort to the world of finance only clarifies how wrong your claim, by the inferential rules of reasoning by analogy.

      It has been my experience of over three decades of dealing with professional chemists at many levels and in several countries that the term “acidify”, and terms like acidification, acidifying, and acidified derived from that root are the preferred technical phraseology. This is seen in the literature not only from present-day journals but going back many decades and even centuries. When a chemist speaks of changes that lower pH, they use “acidify”, not “de-alka-whatever” except in very rare and specialized cases that simply are not relevent in a technical sense in this discourse.

      The astounding hypocrisy of your claim that, “..any mention of “acidification” of the oceans is between naive and dishonest,” itself so backwards as to strain the ability of one’s jaw to drop. Such naivety about both finance and chemistry as you have demonstrated in your purely semantic distraction (it cannot be _credited_ with the label of argument) is only exceeded by its disingenuity.

      In other words, your contribution is a mere distraction, exhibiting extraordinary certainty in a Dunning-Krugeristically erroneous claim.

      Is that the reply you were seeking?

      • Marvelous how the oceans and the biosphere scrub all that oxidized pollution(yuck) through the carbon cycle. Rinse and repeat the wonder.
        ========================

      • Dunning-Kruger is the new Godwin’s Law…whoever mentions it first, has no actual argument on their side.

        As for being more creditworthy having repaid a tiny amount of a giant debt, if that makes you feel better I won’t stop you, but don’t be surprised if your bank manager has a good laugh about it.

        If I make fix a window in a run-down neighbourhood, I am _not_ “gentrifying” it.

        ps As for whatever the professionals want to use as a word, I have already explained that it doesn’t matter anymore when there are public policy consequences to it. Actually, a “professional” might be expected to come up with a better word exactly to avoid all the sorts of misunderstandings that have been ensuing.

      • Yes, note the social cost of the misapprehensions.
        ==========

      • In fact there are people who having repaid part of their debt go on to get even more of it, exactly because they have misunderstood the meaning of “being in credit”

      • Actually, Bart, being a chemist, I know it isn’t the pH that’s important, but instead it is the alkalinity that matters. Calcium carbonate in upwelling deep ocean water will push the carbon equilibrium towards the bicarbonate side. That will also help control the pH.

      • Isn’t it funny that a profession known for its Buckminsterfullerenes, Cummingtonites and Moronic acids cannot reconcile itself with Dealkalinization?

      • > Isn’t it funny that a profession known for its Buckminsterfullerenes, Cummingtonites and Moronic acids cannot reconcile itself with Dealkalinization?

        omnologos beats me to it by ten minutes:

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/07/19/ocean-acidification-discussion-thread/#comment-347944

        But I still have the debalkanization:

        DEBALKANIZE ALL THE OCEANS!

        We ought to experiment on the Detroit river first.

      • Chemistry, perhaps unique among all sciences, has its own Wikipedia page on “unusual names”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_chemical_compounds_with_unusual_names

        Dealkalinization is peanuts compared to Ranasmurfin

      • Superb. And philosophers do study strange things, like this:

        Structural similarities are what are officially (“normally”) deemed to be important for educated persons in a scientific culture, especially when they profess to be discussing logic or the philosophy of the sciences. But take a name from older science, “aqua regia”, say. That corrosive stuff is a mix- ture of one part nitric acid and 3 to 4 parts hydrochloric acid. According to historical lore, it was first made by Geber (the Latin name for Abu Musa Jabir ibn Hayyan c.721–c.815, a great chemical pioneer who worked mostly in Kufa south of modern Baghdad). He is thought to have discovered nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, and aqua regia. This last is extraordinary stuff, for thanks to a sort of chain reaction, it dissolves gold, although neither of its two component acids will do so alone. This dispositional property was the one that was truly important to alchemists for almost a millennium. The sequence of chemical reactions that enable aqua regia to dissolve gold is remarkable, and depends on chemical structures, but the unique ability to dissolve gold is an emergent property, of a sort that essentialists have not much discussed. Both acids are required to dissolve gold, in a chain reaction of some complexity.

        Strict essentialists would deny that aqua regia is a natural kind at all, because it is not a chemical compound but a mixture whose exact proportions are not critical. But in line with what Putnam himself said about interest-relativity, a mixture, of nitric acid to 3 or 4 times as much hydrochloric acid, is the same liquid as the “royal water” that fascinated Geber and later generations of alchemists — the “same” because it agreed in the important (and unique) ability to dissolve gold, and not because of its microstructure.

        http://www.philosophy.ed.ac.uk/events/documents/Hacking.pdf

        One has to wonder where omnologos is heading with his armchair linguistics, but it sounds intriguing enough to wish him to continue.

    • kim | July 20, 2013 at 12:01 pm |

      All, kim?

      ALL?

      The evidence of CO2 rise tells us quite clearly that the Carbon Cycle is not scrubbing all CO2.

      Since we began going into CO2 deficit with regard to the Carbon Cycle at an increasing interest rate — to extend omnologos’ utterly incompetent analogy way beyond its scope of reasonable use — by what is now agreed to be almost 3% more than the rate the Carbon Cycle can pay it down, compounded annually, we have seen our CO2 debt shoot up as measured at Mauna Loa.

      So, kim, no. Not “all”.

      Which makes the Carbon Cycle’s services scarce, as they exhibit a limit that is exceeded by demand for the resource. Which makes the Carbon Cycle’s services rivalrous, as no one person’s emission quota can be used by another person for many lifetimes. Which makes the Carbon Cycle’s services excludable for lucrative exchanges by pricing the CO2E based on the pre-existing by-treaty carbon inventory of nations. That pricing the Carbon Cycle is administratively feasible as proven by tiny backwater British Columbia is patent, just as patent as that the Carbon Cycle is not scrubbing _all_.

      Which is when you privatize a resource so the Market can efficiently allocate it.

    • omnologos | July 20, 2013 at 12:01 pm |

      Dunning-Kruger is the new Godwin’s Law..

      Do you have a source you can cite for this assertion? Or did you just make it up, Dunning-Krugerishtically?

      Are you an authority on Godwin’s Law? Please, present your bona fides. Credentials. Publication record on the field?

      Perhaps you’re a noted psychologist with substantive foundation for expertise? Are you Dunning? Are you Kruger? Are you Godwin?

      I don’t think so.

      Also, your premise has the problem as antecedent to a patently false claim, as the substantial argument on my side against the validity of your argument is not even separated from your claim of its nonexistence by two inches on the page.

      Two inches.

      You don’t even have two inches, and you’re making such an enormously bogus claim with nothing but kim’s slim scrub and rinse routine to separate it from the evidence it’s wrong.

      Do you get how little credibility this leaves your argument?

      • Bart – you’re borderline hysterical. And hysterically funny. Just admit to yourself, you have nothing to reply to countless analogies I have made.

      • This must be the reason he is soon to be on the cover of Time.

      • Saturday has many people recovering from drinking their brains out on Friday night. Perhaps we should have a breathalyzer test for commenting on blogs.

      • I think it follows that you would be too late to do any good.

      • > you have nothing to reply to countless analogies I have made.

        Perhaps not Bart R, but there were many replies to these analogies.

        But just to make sure, here’s another one:

        There is a potential for both positive and negative feedbacks between the ocean and atmosphere, including changes in both the physics (e.g., circulation, stratification) and biology (e.g., export production, calcification) of the ocean. These processes are still not well understood. On the time scales of decades to centuries, however, most of the known chemical feedbacks are positive. If the surface ocean PCO2 concentrations continue to increase in proportion with the atmospheric CO2 increase, a doubling of atmospheric CO2 from preindustrial levels will result in a 30% decrease in carbonate ion concentration and a 60% increase in hydrogen ion concentration. As the carbonate ion concentration decreases, the Revelle factor increases and the ocean’s ability to absorb more CO2 from the atmosphere is diminished. The impact of this acidification can already be observed today and could have ramifications for the biological feedbacks in the future (26) . If indeed the net feedbacks are primarily positive, the required socioeconomic strategies to stabilize CO2 in the future will be much more stringent than in the absence of such feedbacks. Future studies of the carbon system in the oceans should be designed to identify and quantitatively assess these feedback mechanisms to provide input to models that will determine the ocean’s future role as a sink for anthropogenic CO2.

        http://www.sciencemag.org/content/305/5682/367.full

        Examples of usage beat analogies from an armchair linguist any day.

    • jim2 | July 20, 2013 at 12:21 pm |

      .. being a chemist, I know it isn’t the pH that’s important, but instead it is the alkalinity that matters. Calcium carbonate in upwelling deep ocean water will push the carbon equilibrium towards the bicarbonate side. That will also help control the pH..

      This is an important and valid question. We know the source of CO2 has increased in the closed world ocean system, and enormously.

      Has the source of calcium carbonate increased exactly proportionately by sheer coincidence? Because the calculations to exactly balance that reaction can be complicated, given temperature and salinity considerations, which is a bit much to expect the ocean to do in its head without a calculator or formal education in chemistry.

      Does the increase in reaction product have no effect on the system? Because that would indeed be quite startling.

      Why has the source of calcium carbonate increased, if it’s increased?

      And if it’s increased, how do you account for the drop in pH you say isn’t important?

      Is the upwelling a symptom of a change caused by the GHE due human carbon emission and land use changes?

      Well that sounds like a pretty dramatic change to the oceans if they’re suddenly upwelling enough additional calcium carbonate by sheer coincidence to exactly balance the addition of so many tons of CO2E that it boggles the average reader’s mind to comprehend it.

      Being a chemist, you should be able to answer these questions. Or have the common sense not to say such lamentably absurd things in the first place.

      • Since CaCO3 at the bottom of the ocean is a solid, it does not matter, equilibrium-wise, if the quantity of that solid has increased or decreased.

    • omnologos | July 20, 2013 at 12:40 pm |

      I’m not a naturally funny person. People who meet me generally use words like ‘grim’, or ‘somber’, or ‘foreboding’.

      So for you to be supplying material so readily turned absurd by even so grave a commentator as myself merely reinforces how absurdly wrong your analogies are.

      Language doesn’t work the way you suggest. The language of chemists and chemistry has gotten along fine with acidify for quite a long time before you got all flustered and offended by it.

      Your claims and arguments attempting to proscribe from the well-established and conventional language usage of CENTURIES in this case are ridiculous.

      Your analogies are inappropriate, and shown in each case to defeat you by discovery of parallels for exactly the usage you claim to be invalid.

      If anything, you’ve dramatically illustrated the strength of the science that you are arguing against, that it performs so well in analogy.

      Since you asked for comment on your analogy.

      • Bart – you’re talking complete nonsense. It all started when I said D-K can’t be just thrown around as an “argument” and you complained about me not being a D-K expert. It really has no meaning whatsoever.

        You’re now down to saying “your analogies are inappropriate” without even trying to demonstrate it.

        If your argument is your own authority, there is a total number of ONE human in the world who will be convinced by it.

      • > Bart – you’re talking complete nonsense.

        Chewbacca roars again.

      • Bart,

        RE: People who meet me generally use words like ‘grim’, or ‘somber’, or ‘foreboding’

        Perhaps you should lighten up. Life is hard and then you die. Why do so with a grimace?

        I use to wonder why people would come up to me so often to ask directions. Was it because I looked so much more intelligent than the people around me? I figured that as a non-working hypothesis and finally settled on it being a result of my looking approachable. I tend to smile.

    • jim2 | July 20, 2013 at 1:27 pm |

      Since CaCO3 at the bottom of the ocean is a solid, it does not matter, equilibrium-wise, if the quantity of that solid has increased or decreased.

      Except perhaps that CaCO3 is a remarkably efficient solid for the purpose of cutting off sources of Ca in upwellings in oceans, acting as a negative feedback?

      • “The salinity normalized alkalinity (NTA=TA×35/S) in subtropical gyres between 30°S and 30°N is remarkably invariable except in upwelling areas (e.g., the Eastern Equatorial Pacific). The NTA increases toward high latitudes (>30°) and is inversely proportional to sea surface temperature (SST). This increase in NTA with latitude (or decreasing temperature) is attributed to the upward transport of deep waters with higher NTA due to the dissolution of CaCO3(s).”

        http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304420397000844

    • no reply to my debt/credit analogy.

      You reduce the debit balance on an account by crediting it. It doesn’t mean that you are, or indeed ever will be in credit.

      When I have a fever and 38C I don’t suffer from “boilification” just because I’m nearer 100C than before.

      If you have some liquid nitrogen at, say, -220C and apply heat so that it us now -200C then it wouldn’t be unreasonable to say you have “warmed” it.

      The fact is we’re describing a process, ie applying heat, reducing a debt or the pH of a solution. The point is the direction of change, not where you will ultimately end up.

      It so happens that a process which reduces the pH of a solution is by convention called “acidification”. When used in that context there is no implication that the process will necessarily be powerful enough of sustained for long enough for the solution to become acidic.

      Maybe we could think of another word to describe the process which could be “better”. Well so what? “Acidification” has been perfectly adequate up to now and is well enough understood. Just as “greenhouse effect” is a perfectly well understood and accepted term regardless of the fact that it doesn’t actually work in the same way as a greenhouse.

      Maybe the people who feel so strongly about such things should try going to an astronomy/cosmology blog and try explaing to people that the big bang didn’t really go “bang” and demand that people stop using the term. Please let us know how you get on.

    • jim2 | July 20, 2013 at 1:54 pm |

      You’ve just contradicted your earlier claim.

      Either the precipitate is solid and plays little role (other than to seal off surfaces that might be fresh sources of Ca in the ocean), or it is a readily re-dissolved source of ions that then play significant role in buffering reactions and altering biochemistry.

      Which is it? Solid precipitate, or dissolved ions?

      Both?

      Well, both have bad effects of some kind.

      • Bart – you seem so confused. Do you not realize a solid can dissolve, but can’t be both a solid and dissolved at the same time? The CaCO3 at the bottom of the ocean dissolves and is transported to the surface, where it will tend to drive the carbon equilibrium to the bicarbonate side. This isn’t all that difficult to understand – just take a deep breath and think for a minute.

      • Bart R | July 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm |

        That’s what I’m saying.

        You’re asserting that the product of the reaction will be solid and have no role in stoichiometry.

        Then you assert it’s the source of future ions in the reaction.

        You appear to want to have your CaCO3 cake and eat it too.

        You can see how someone would be confused by your self-contradictory claims.

        The upshot?

        Ocean acidification plus higher concentration of CaCO3 in ionized form, which will definitely have an effect on ocean life that will require significant adaptation at a significant biological cost.

      • Wow, Bart! Really? You don’t believe solid CaCO3 can dissolve?

      • jim2 | July 20, 2013 at 1:27 pm |

        “Since CaCO3 at the bottom of the ocean is a solid, it does not matter, equilibrium-wise, if the quantity of that solid has increased or decreased.”

      • OK, I’m not sure I understand your concern, but I’ll take a stab. CaCO3 is more soluble in colder water. When the cold, upwelling water mingles with the surface, the warmer temperature will tend to move the equilibrium to the CaCO3 side of the solubility equation. One molecule of calcium carbonate carries one carbon. When CaCO2 reacts with dissolved CO2, it yields two bicarbonate ions. This provides more fodder for organisms that utilize bicarbonate for shell production. So one recycled CaCO3 molecule from the deep, can dispose of two carbons in the deep ocean when the organism dies.

      • > CaCO3 is more soluble […]

        What? I thought a substance was either soluble, or not.

        Here’s another piece of propaganda:

        Solubility is not to be confused with the ability to dissolve or liquefy a substance, because the solution might occur not only because of dissolution but also because of a chemical reaction. For example zinc, which is insoluble in hydrochloric acid, does dissolve in hydrochloric acid but by chemical reaction into hydrogen gas and zinc chloride, which in turn is soluble in the acid. Solubility does not also depend on particle size or other kinetic factors; given enough time, even large particles will eventually dissolve.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solubility

        Thank you, scientists, for messing up with my conception of nature!

      • Introduction
        Related
        Contributors & Bibliography

        solubility, Degree to which a substance dissolves in a solvent to make a solution (usually expressed as grams of solute per litre of solvent). Solubility of one fluid (liquid or gas) in another may be complete (totally miscible; e.g., methanol and water) or partial (oil and water dissolve only slightly). In general, “like dissolves like” (e.g., aromatic hydrocarbons dissolve in each other but not in water). Some separation methods (absorption, extraction) rely on differences in solubility, expressed as the distribution coefficient (ratio of a material’s solubilities in two solvents). Generally, solubilities of solids in liquids increase with temperature and those of gases decrease with temperature and increase with pressure. A solution in which no more solute can be dissolved at a given temperature and pressure is said to be saturated (see saturation). See also Joel Hildebrand.”

        http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/553675/solubility

      • I see no reason why scientists should not use de-solidify instead.

        All scientists are leftists.

      • Since we’re throwing elementary sources around with abandon:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcium_carbonate

        Or, we could go a little more advanced, at least in the abstract:

        http://naosite.lb.nagasaki-u.ac.jp/dspace/bitstream/10069/20919/1/MEPS373_275.pdf

        ..increased CO2 diffuses from the atmosphere into ocean surface waters, resulting in increased partial pressure of CO2, and reduced [CO3
        2–] and pH. The CO2-driven ocean acidification leads to a decrease in calcium carbonate (CaCO3) saturation state in the ocean surface waters and has potential impacts on calcifiers.

        Does the upwelling balance this, as a negative feedback? Do you have any research establishing that claim?

        Because if not, “Laboratory experiments revealed that ocean acidification has negative impacts on the fertilization, cleavage, larva, settlement and reproductive stages of several marine calcifiers, including echinoderm, bivalve, coral and crustacean species. There appear to be significant ontogenetic impacts and species-specific differences in tolerance to the high CO2 levels. The conclusion is that future changes in ocean acidity will potentially impact the population size and dynamics, as well as the community structure of calcifiers, and will therefore have negative impacts on marine ecosystems

        Because we should all well-remember past negative feedback claims, like Lindzen’s cloud iris, that turned out to be specious fingoism without a leg to stand on.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        I had to remind myself of the iris hypothesis.

        ‘… the critics claim that I asserted that the water vapor feedback may be negative. This may well be the case, but that is not what I have been suggesting. Rather, we find that the total longwave feedback (to which the water vapor feedback is one contributor – thin upper level cirrus are another, and the two are so intrinsically dependent that ignorance of the latter leads to ignorance of the former) is negative, and unambiguously so (that is to say, it was identified clearly even at zero lag).’

        ‘Tropical variations in emitted outgoing longwave (LW) radiation are found to closely track changes in the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). During positive ENSO phase (El Nino), outgoing LW radiation increases, and decreases during the negative ENSO phase (La Nina). The coldest
        year during the last decade occurred in 2008, during which strong La Nina conditions persisted throughout most of the year.’ http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/reprints/Loeb_et_al_ISSI_Surv_Geophys_2012.pdf

        http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Loeb2011-Fig1.png.html?sort=3&o=52

        Warm SST increase LW losses to space. The iris hypothesis seems suspiciously proven.

        Bart’s chemistry is equally silly. The pool of CaCO3 in surface water includes in particular is not just the super-saturated polymorphs but microfauna – and that’s just the start.

      • Tch.

        Using wiki, unattributed?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iris_hypothesis

        Where does support for Lindzen’s hypothesis come from? The _only_ support? Spencer et al, Lindzen et al, and Davies & Molloy’s study of a decade of observations that fall below statistical significance coupled with a reachy and overstated conclusion.

        Is the world cooler today than it was sixty years ago?

        No?

        Then the cloud iris claim that Lindzen made originally that cloud changes would fully negate the GHE is disproven on its face.

      • Bart R,

        Seems that Chief has something to say in response to your comment:

        As for the iris and Bart – I show the latest data from CERES that shows that higher sst results in higher losses of IR to space and vice versa.
        ‘During positive ENSO phase (El Nino), outgoing LW
        radiation increases, and decreases during the negative ENSO phase (La Nina)…

        At the global scale, outgoing LW flux anomalies are partially compensated for by decreases in mid latitude cloud fraction and cloud height, as observed by Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer and Multi-angle Imaging Spectro Radiometer, respectively. CERES data show that clouds have a net radiative warming influence during La Nina conditions and a net cooling influence during El Nino, but the magnitude of the anomalies varies greatly from one ENSO event to another.’

        http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/reprints/Loeb_et_al_ISSI_Surv_Geophys_2012.pdf

        The total longwave feedback is negatively correlated with sst in the equatorial Pacific as Lindzen said.

        Here is the link to Lindzen’s 2012 statement – http://www.thegwpf.org/richard-lindzen-response-to-the-critique-of-my-house-of-commons-lecture/

        I give the latest and most conclusive data I know and Bart gives me handwaving. Quite frankly I didn’t return to the thread before because he is as scientifically incompetent as you.

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/07/18/u-s-senate-hearing-climate-change-its-happening-now/#comment-349396

        I hope you don’t mind him comparing you to me.

        Enjoy,

        w

      • Chief Hydrologist

        I’m sure he doesn’t mind wee willie – two twits in a pod.

      • Over twelve hours he had, and willard didn’t catch Bart R’s logic error.
        ============

      • Nor did he notice that you’d answered Bart R’s question or that Bart R was nonresponsive to your answer. Whew, such a critic.
        ==============

      • willard (@nevaudit) | July 22, 2013 at 11:11 pm |

        Bob Ellison frequently posts long excerpts he shows little sign of understanding, as they often argue against his own case, or are part of larger wholes that draw opposite conclusions to the passages that he picks out, or that have since been debunked.

        So I don’t really treat his comments downthread from others as replies to them. I generally don’t waste my time reading them at all, when he employs this smokescreen tactic.

        Generally, the short phrases of his own he attaches to these obscure (and sometimes poorly referenced, generally it appears because the attribution would embarrass were anyone to follow up on it) quotations are just ad homs and Aussie guttersnipery. Who has time for that?

        I sincerely doubt even kim reads most of what Ellison posts, and kim’s hair-trigger reflexive post-at-whim spambotting? Not really a source of authority on responsiveness I’m inclined to take as a teacher.

      • I agree, Bart R. Chief is a staunch adept of the ad nauseam. Repeating over and over again the same moves can lead to a draw in Occidental Chess. But in Chinese Chess, you lose when you repeat the same position over and over again. In any case, he’s a poor sport.

        And now kim conflates critics with ninjas. Here would be a critical review:

        The iris hypothesis and the tropical upper tropospheric water vapor and cirrus cloud feedbacks, while arguably still open to debate, are not by any stretch of the imagination a major driver in global climate feedback. Even in the limited context of local short term feedback processes over the tropical ocean, with the combination of issues raised in #1 and #2 I would expect the local feedback factor to be essentially zero.

        http://climateaudit.org/2010/01/18/curry-reviews-lindzen-and-choi/

        I’m sure Chief can copy-paste something he already wrote in response to this criticism.

    • omnologos | July 20, 2013 at 9:13 am |

      Out of interest, you appear to be pre-sensitized to observations that your arguments indicate Dunning-Kruger effect; how often do people read your remarks and mention D-K?

      Because if it’s happening so much.. it may be indicative of something.

      But let’s test further. You made an analogy between two discrete advanced fields wherein there are professional experts, and expressed your opinion of the correctness of language in each.

      Do you possess advanced credentials in chemistry?

      Do you possess advanced credentials in finance?

      Do you possess advanced credentials in linguistics?

      I ask, because I can discern there to be some level of expertise shown in the remarks of several commentators in this topic, and all of them demonstrate considerably greater humility about how important their opinion is, and to have gone to greater lengths to check their facts before posting, than you.

      Which is the archetypal D-K effect.

      • David Appell

        If you have an argument, make it. Only the desperate cite something like the Dunning-Kruger effect.

      • Morabito-Appell’s Law: those who first mention Dunning-Kruger in a thread are under its influence as they mention it.

      • David Appell | July 20, 2013 at 7:18 pm |

        Argument was made here, less than two inches above omnologos’ first denial it existed:

        http://judithcurry.com/2013/07/19/ocean-acidification-discussion-thread/#comment-347920

        In essence, it is a proof by counterexample that the original omnologos reasoning by analogy is fallacious. One therefore might perfectly reasonably use ‘acidify’ to mean lessen the alkalinity of a solution, which historical context tells us has been done by professional chemists for many years, certainly long before omnologos chose to take offense at this usage, or was even born.

        The large gap between the validity of the linguistic premise and the standard professional usage is such that it is difficult not to point out the D-K effect, and frankly, if the so-called Morabito-Appell Law had the least validity, it would apply to Dunning and Kruger by syllogism.. which we must conclude so absurd an outcome that the proposition must be deemed irrational. See, the reasoning by analogy omnologos does to manufacture fake laws out of thin air by faulty parallel construction to Godwin is just more D-K from the same source.

        The original false analogy of stoichiometry and finance? See how easy it is to forget that it’s already been debunked by distraction and bumpf in the short attention-span world of the blog reader?

      • David Appell

        What??
        I can see that *you* think you’re clever…. but your point is completely confusing, whatever it is.

      • David Appell | July 20, 2013 at 9:29 pm |

        Then read harder.

        I don’t make my arguments to be facile, I make them to correct facile errors.

      • Bart R facilitates things for himself.
        ======

      • kim | July 22, 2013 at 10:47 am |

        If they were really all that competent at the things they pretend authority in, then deciphering my points phrased as they are would be.. facile.

        That they can’t even read at the level of competence of an ordinary expert testifies amply they have no place pretending to proscribe the language usage of the extraordinary experts.

  45. Judith

    Here is an easy to understand guide on acidification.

    http://www.epoca-project.eu/index.php/what-is-ocean-acidification.html

    Here is notfication of the first International Workshop to Develop an Ocean Acidification Observing Network of Ship Surveys, Moorings, Floats and Gliders

    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/OA2012Workshop/WorkshopGoals.html

    from this it sounds as if our knowledge is at the same sort of stage as when Argo buoys was set up.

    The second workshop is being held next week in Scotland

    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/GOA_ON/2013/

    Could be worth posting some of the discussions?

    Tonyb

    • Thanks Tony, this could be a useful hook for a follow up post on this topic

      • It seems to deserve to be treated as seriously as seasonal Met Office forecasts (my emphasis):

        As CO2 dissolves in the ocean it generates dramatic changes in sea water chemistry.

        “Dramatic” my donkey. It’s a no-holds-barred attack on language.

        the oceans acidify, that is they become more acidic or rather less alkaline since although the ocean is acidifying, its pH is still greater than 7 (that of water with a neutral pH)

        Reducing the number of atomic warheads from 100,000 to 50,000 is not synonymous of “making peace”.

      • > Reducing the number of atomic warheads from 100,000 to 50,000 is not synonymous of “making peace”.

        And yet some call this process disarmament:

        Disarmament is the act of reducing, limiting, or abolishing weapons.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disarmament

        Can there really be disarmament if warheads remain operational?

        Let’s blame the anti-pacifists.

        INTEGRITY ™ The Truth is out There.

    • Tonyb,

      Now why would NOAA be setting up an observation network on ocean acidification. According to the warmists commenting here, we already know all we need to know to justify decarbonization of the world economy.

      For that matter, why spend any more on climate models, temperature measurements, paleo-climate or climate research in general? Everything we need to know to justify world wide decarbonization can be figured on the back of an envelope. Everything, and everyone involved, is just proving that Arrhenius was right on climate sensitivity. All the billions spent on research is just confirming (coincidentally of course) what the climate scientists knew before they even started looking. Clearly the clouds, water vapor, ENSO, solar radiation changes, etc. are irrelevant to climate sensitivity. After all, Arrhenius knew virtually nothing about them, and he could calculate CS with such accuracy.

      So why do we need workshops, and observation networks to tell us what we already know? In fact, since we already understand the climate so well already, wouldn’t it be better to spend the billions we are wasting on repetitive research to actually stop our destruction of the planet?

      I hereby propose that every penny budgeted for climate research, by every western government and every NGO, be redirected to providing CO2 scrubbers for caol burning power plants.

      No self respecting climate scientist, who already knows what the planet needs to survive, should have a problem with this proposal. In fact, I think those who post here should be among the first to start the global movement toward saving Gaia from the depredations of man.

      Who wants to be the first to donate his/her research budget toward actually reducing CO2 emissions in this practical, no risk solution that can actually decrease anthropogenic CO2 emissions?

      • The climate scientists have done their jobs, and now it is in the hands of the policymakers, isn’t it. What are they doing or planning to do, and is it sufficient, is the question. I suspect some are still stalling because they either want yet more science or for global change to be more obvious outside their own windows, before doing anything.

      • GaryM

        For the same reasons they have set up the Argo buoys and have just convened a working party to examine arctic ice levels to 1870.

        There is a large amount of uncertainty surrounding many aspects of climate science and they need to be nailed down more precisely.
        tonyb

  46. It may help to anchor this discussion in a hard fact.
    Anyone who has used soap in seawater knows the latter is “hard”. It is convenient (and fairly accurate) to regard this as commonplace temporary hardness (calcium bicarbonate).
    One volume of ocean currently contains over 100 times the CO2 in the same volume of ocean air. Only a small fraction of this can be available as gas without significant change to ocean chemistry, but that is sufficient to dominate the atmosphere’s CO2. The ocean is well capable of providing all the last century’s CO2 increase (for example, by the slight warming already recorded). If the sea is dog, the air is tail.
    Were anthropogenic CO2 to cause a global temperature increase, whether any gas will dissolve is moot.
    Marine hardness credibly has ever been the primary carbon source for marine life. Those studying the geochemical carbon cycle infer a persistent role for life, even referring to their subject as the biogeochemical carbon cycle. Marine hardness may itself be tail to the marine biosphere’s dog. Study of “ocean acidification” in isolation is far from the key experiment.

    • Don’t forget all that CaCO3 at the bottom of the ocean – it will tend to neutralize CO2 over time. It is constantly being re-dissolved in the deep ocean and carried to the surface. I guess I would get all a dither over surface pH if all marine life lived in surface waters. But the extra CO2 will get mixed into the ocean over time, just like the “missing” heat.

    • David Springer

      Thanks Peter. You are a great example of why acidify is confusing.

      You don’t even know the difference between and pH and total dissolved solids. Water that is hard is high in dissolved solids i.e. minerals. CO2 is not a mineral and has nothing to do with hardness.

    • David Springer

      The extra CO2 in the ocean is significant for primary producers in the food chain. In a positive way.

      Everybody who has ever heard this beneficial consequence of “acidfication” mentioned by a warmist please speak up.

      http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v388/n6642/abs/388526b0.html

      Nature 388, 526-527 (7 August 1997) |

      CO2 increases oceanic primary production

      Mette Hein and Kaj Sand-Jensen

      The regulation of oceanic primary production of biomass is important in the global carbon cycle because it constitutes 40% of total primary production on Earth1. Here we present results from short-term experiments in the nutrient-poor central Atlantic Ocean. We find a small but significant stimulation of primary production (15-19%) in response to elevated CO2 concentrations that simulate the CO2 rise in surface waters that will occur over the next 100-200 years.

      • David springer,
        Er, no, I haven’t actually heard a warmist speak of the beneficial
        consequences of’acidification’ or of CO2 as a plant food either.
        Perhaps I’m hard of hearing …
        A serf.

      • Doney is certainly well aware of the results of Hein and Sand-Jensen. A 2009 paper by Doney et al discusses the influence of elevated CO2 on marine phytoplankton.

        On page 179 they write:

        Carbon-concentrating mechanisms enable most marine phytoplankton species to accumulate intracellular inorganic carbon either as CO2 or HCO − or both (Giordano et al. 2005). Largely because of these mechanisms, most marine phytoplankton tested in single-species laboratory studies and field population experiments show little or no change in photosynthetic rates when grown under high pCO2 conditions equivalent to ∼760 μatm (Tortell et al. 1997, Hein & Sand-Jensen 1997, Burkhardt et al. 2001, Tortell & Morell 2002, Rost et al. 2003, Beardall & Raven 2004, Giordano et al. 2005, Martin & Tortell 2006). In contrast, the widely distributed coccolithophore E. huxleyi has low affinity for inorganic carbon and could be carbon limited in the modern ocean (Rost & Riebesell 2004). Whether
        E. huxleyi will show increased rates of photosynthesis with progressive oceanic uptake of atmospheric CO2 may depend on nutrient and trace metal availability, light conditions, and temperature (Zondervan 2007).

        In a recent mesocosm CO2 manipulation study with a phytoplankton community dominated by diatoms and coccolithophores, Riebesell and coworkers (2007) reported 27% and 39% higher CO2 uptake in experimental pCO2 treatments of 700 and 1050 μatm, respectively, relative to the 350 μatm pCO2 treatment. Direct extrapolation of such experimental results to large-scale ocean regions may be problematic, however. The global warming that accompanies ocean acidification increases thermal stratification of the upper ocean, thereby reducing the upwelling of nutrients, and has been linked to observed decreases in phytoplankton biomass and productivity on a global basis (Behrenfeld et al. 2006).

        That many organisms react positively to elevated CO2 is clearly not a news. On the other hand the paper reports that increased CO2 had a negative impact on calcification in 21 cases out of 25 studied positive in 2 and mixed in the remaining 2. These numbers are from the Fig. 4 of the paper.

      • Does anyone doubt that the CO2 generated greening of the earth’s land surface is happening in the oceans as well?
        ===============

  47. Yancey Ward

    As a chemist, I am bothered by the use of phrases like “the oceans are becoming more acidic”. Until pH 7 is reached, the oceans are still alkaline. A better, and more accurate description is to say the oceans are “becoming less alkaline”.

    In any case, I would even question whether or not the measured pH changes of the last 50 years are even larger than the measurement errors involved, and I would question the link between those changes and CO2 emissions. It isn’t like CO2 is the only thing humans are causing to end up in the oceans in increasing amounts. This point is particularly pertinent to the measurements of ocean pH- it isn’t like everything else is equal in places like the coast of Hawaii over a 50-100 year period of time.

    • David Springer

      Too bad climate alarmists aren’t making like the ocean and becoming less bitter.

    • David Appell

      If you’re really a chemist, you should know that all solutions have a property called “acidity” (as well as a property called “akalinity”). If the measure of that property increases — as is happening in the ocean — then acidity is said to be increasing.

      The pH scale is for human convenience only.

      • David – obviously the warmists want to discuss pH and not propaganda, which the word acidification is. The warmists like the word because it raises alarm and conveniently ignores the fact that the ocean has a pH above 7, that is, it is basic. So, to obscure the propaganda, some on thiss board want to argue the defintion of acidification – when really, the term is used for emotional effect.

      • David Appell

        Jim: You’re wrong. The acidify of the ocean is definitely increasing. Hence, the word “acidification” is wholly appropriate.

      • Thanks for illustrating my point, Dave.

      • Are whom you call warmists in favor of warming, jim2?

        Sounds like propaganda to me.

      • David,

        The literal definition of an acidic aqueous solution is to have a pH less than 7. Otherwise, the aqueous solution is described as alkaline. Your use of the language obscures rather than illuminates, even while being technically true in directionality. Seriously, what objection could one have to substituting “becoming less alkaline” for “becoming more acidic”? The former phrase not only gives you the directionality of change you desire, but also tells you roughly where you are at at present on the pH scale, while the latter phrase omits that last bit of info. In other words, my phrasing provides more information than your preference.

  48. David Springer

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/acidify

    t
    transitive verb
    1: to make acid
    2: to convert into an acid

    intransitive verb
    : to become acid

    • David Springer

      CO2 is making the ocean less bitter. Perfectly legit. Lay persons use sour and bitter to describe acid and base respectively.

      Why wouldn’t one choose to use common and perfectly appropriate English instead of a laboratory term that most people aren’t familiar with?

  49. Really JC — you’re taking Idso’s non peer-reviewed work seriously, given the history of that clan?

    • David

      Not sure what the correct word is for a collective ad hom but I think you have just made one. Would you like to be more specific about the shortcomings of the entire clan?
      Tonyb

    • David, I’m taking seriously the list of references (peer reviewed publications) that Idso supplies in his document. I am more interested in evidence and arguments, rather than who supplies them.

      If Scott Doney’s testimony had been less normative, I wouldn’t have been tempted to look for alternative view points on this.

    • David Appell

      JC: But without peer review, it is unclear (at a minimum) that Idso’s document is a fair presentation of the status of the science. That is the least peer review can do, and it’s notable that he skips it.

      In fact, it’s extremely suspicious. And given their history, anyone should be skeptical of such Idso claims.

      PS: And who pays them, anyway? Don’t you care?

      • David

        What history and who pays them?
        Tonyb

      • Idso has some affiliation with Heartland and ALEC. I would be very much surprised if they are pulling in much in the way of $$.

      • Idso wrote an assessment report, an essay in response to a film. Not the kind of thing that that makes sense for a peer reviewed journal, in any event presumably he was looking for timeliness in responding to the movie

        I don’t think Idso’s is a ‘fair’ representation of the science, any more than I think Doney’s testimony is a fair representation of the science.

        My point is that there are two starkly different perspectives on this issue, both which are backed up by peer reviewed literature. In view of this, I find it worrisome that this debate and these uncertainties are not mentioned by Doney, especially since the 2010 NRC report characterized ocean acidification science as ‘in its infancy’.

        The potential internal and external sources of bias are numerous; source of funding is certainly one source.

      • David Appell

        Good question — who pays them?

        Can you tell me, Tony? Real scientists indicate who funds them.

        A few years ago I tried to find out, and couldn’t even locate a phone number for that family or their operation.

        That right there makes me very suspicious.

      • David

        It was a rhetorical question as I assumed you knew but as your research fingers seem to have seized up here is the dirt according to that fair minded site desmogblog (British irony)

        http://www.desmogblog.com/craig-idso

        The funding Seems like pretty small beer compared to many others. I suppose that CRU getting funding from BP is ok but heartland funding on a much smaller scale is frowned on. Please note I have no time for heartland either, nor for SPI nor much for the GWPF.

        However there are precious few sources of funding out there for sceptical research. I am still waiting for my first big cheque from big oil.
        Tonyb

      • Why should it matter who pays them?
        Do you imagine that being funded by the ‘right’ people (or peer-review for that matter) is any indication that the work is beyond reproach?

      • David Appell

        Tony: Desmog blog is in no way a complete summary of the Idso’s funding.

        Why? Because they will not reveal who funds them. What do they have to hide?

        Real scientists don’t hide their funding. And they submit their work to peer review.

      • David

        I would be very grateful if you could suggest some sources of funding for sceptical research.
        Tonyb

      • David Appell extends an ad hominem through four comments. Someone please tell him he’s not convincing; I haven’t the heart to break it to him.
        ==================

      • David Appell

        Tony: “skeptical” research? You mean “contrarian” research — all scientists are skeptics. It is the very first thing they learn in their training.

        I don’t care (to first order) about who funds them, but I certainly expect them to be upfront and honest about it. What are they hiding? I think we all know the answer to that question….

      • David Appell wanted hotly to pursue the mote, but he tripped cooly over the beam instead.
        ===============

      • David Appell

        Why should it matter who pays them?
        Do you imagine that being funded by the ‘right’ people (or peer-review for that matter) is any indication that the work is beyond reproach?

        In part, yes — it matters who funds someone; whether it’s a science-based organization or someone looking to protect their profits.

        But more important is the issue of *transparency*. When someone *won';t* say who funds their work, then I get suspicious, because if they think they have something to hide then I t hink they probably do too.

      • Actually, its usually the donors that care about protecting their anonymity, and obviously the organization wants to keep their donors happy

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        And sometimes donors don’t get exactly what they were bargaining for, and put their money behind projects in a public way, almost expecting a certain result…i.e. Koch and the BEST study. .

      • David Appell

        Actually, its usually the donors that care about protecting their anonymity, and obviously the organization wants to keep their donors happy.

        Exactly. And what do the donors have to hide?

      • Steven Mosher

        “C: But without peer review, it is unclear (at a minimum) that Idso’s document is a fair presentation of the status of the science. ”

        Precisely. and Doney’s document went out without the blessing of his Institute.

      • David Appel @5.35pm says,
        ‘all scientists are skeptics.’
        Er.. especially the con-sens-us coterie. And what of this,
        from the Climategate email i posted, dismissed by you?

        Michael Mann said,
        ‘The ‘skeptics’ appear to have staged a coup at
        ‘Climate Research.’ My guess is Von Storch is
        ‘somewhat of a skeptic himself’ …
        Perjorative term ‘skeptic.’ :)
        BC

      • Whom ever is paying for his time, they appear to be pikers in comparison to what the gas industry is paying folks like the Sierra Club.

    • So, read it and critique it. You don’t need to have it peer reviewed to do that, do you? Almost sounds like you want others to do your thinking for you. I would normally have no problem with that, but you are insisting in this thread, over and over again, that everyone else let others you approve of do their thinking for them.

      • I’m keeping book and the odds are long that he’s read it and even longer that he won’t critique it.
        ==============

  50. Judith

    I assume that hms challenger was the first research vessel to measure ocean acidity in the 1870’s

    http://www.studymode.com/essays/2-02-Hms-Challenger-Journal-Of-A-930879.html

    The study of acidity was much more sporadic than even the measurement of SST’s so how we know there has been an increase for hundreds of years needs to be explained.
    Tonyb

  51. It is unfortunate that Idso’s response is to a much stronger statement than Doney made, apparently because the NRDC movie mentioned imminent extinction and some other things that Doney was more conservative about. There is a disconnect between Idso’s defense and Doney’s offense which was itself very measured in its use of language and imminence, so it looks like posting Idso somewhat misses the target of the actual debate within the science.

    • I didn’t see another option in providing some sort of synthesis of the opposing view, other than a few individual articles that I had collected.

      • David Appell

        But Judith, you’re a professional scientist. You are open about your funding and submit your work for peer review. Why aren’t you suspicious of anyone who refuses to do this?

        And by the way, I am equally suspicious of the Climate Progress blog and the Center for American Progress, who also will not reveal their funding and whom I have skewered many times on my own blog.

      • I have found some good arguments in unlikely places, including on blogs (e.g. Steve McIntyre) but particularly in books and monographs (which aren’t peer reviewed before publication). Unless you are a professional academic, there is no intrinsic reason to go the peer review journal route, and many people don’t bother given the hassle, cost, and typical lack of public access to the publication. And especially for an assessment type article (rather than primary new finding), this is not so easy to get published in a peer reviewed journal.

        With regards to funding sources, I am sufficiently cynical that I figure everyone has biases so I don’t focus over much funding sources. I suspect CAP gets two orders of magnitude more funding than Idso’s outfit.

        The other issue is that often the hot issues in the public debate are not all that well suited to the short journal publication route, and there is benefit to putting the material out there in the public domain quickly, rather than waiting for the cumbersome peer review process. Richard Muller is a case in point here.

        So some of the most influential material and analysis in the public debate on climate change is not waiting for publication in peer reviewed journals. Brave new world of the 21st century, internet, extended peer communities, etc. E.g. the IPCC’s process may be too slow and cumbersome to be useful anymore, and outdated by the time it hits the streets.

      • Judith

        I noticed that there were a list of participants to that ocean acidification Conference link I posted earlier.

        http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/GOA_ON/2013/GOA-ON_booklet_(19July).pdf#page=24

        Section 7 gives the names. I recognise a few of them and all the relevant science organisations from the uk seem to be listed as attending. You may know some of them so hopefully we can get some up to date information on the state Of the current science
        Tonyb

      • David Appell

        Judith, I think there are big reasons to prefer peer reviewed work.

        At least one can be sure it meets basic academic standards — that there are no basic errors, that the work is placed in the canonical reference, and that relevant work (from both sides) is properly cited.

        I get none of that reassurance when someone like Craig Idso puts something up on the Web.

        That he refuses to divuilge his funding sources makes me doubly suspicous. What is he hiding? (I think we all know what he is probably hiding.)

      • David Appell actually believes that peer review assures the minimum quality of published research. Even the defenders of peer review have long since moved off that indefensible hill. But there are always a few die-hards found in caves after the war is over.

      • David Appell

        Yes I do believe that, and I doubt that any defender of peer review has changed their mind about it.

      • As I have said in the past, the “skeptics” do need their own journal, but I think they have trouble even believing each other’s stuff, which is why it hasn’t happened yet. An online journal (no print editions) can’t be that hard to manage.

      • David Appell

        No (fake)-skeptic journal would be taken seriously — it would immediately fall into the category of E&E.

        If (fake)-skeptics can’t compete in the world of real, legimiate journals, they can’t compete at all. And competing — i.e producing better science — is the only way they can win. It’s the only way *any* scientfic idea has ever won — by using reasoning and evidence to overwhelm their opponents ideas.

      • David Appell

        Beth: The Climate Research saga is extremely well know, and not controversial at all. It all happened long, long before any release of Climategate emails. Better study up on your history….

      • David Appell, I realize that, but it at least gets past the idea that they think all their “good” work is suppressed by the conspiratorial peer review system and doesn’t see the light of day. This would challenge them to put this so-called good work out there, which they don’t, even on blogs. I think they’ve got nothing. Call their bluff.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Let’s take just one example of a paper that was vilified at the time – http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2008JD011637.shtml/quote – for suggesting that the dependence of surface temperature on ENSO and the decadal changes in ENSO character could influence decadal temperatures trends.

        But this was published by NASA in 2008.

        Unlike El Niño and La Niña, which may occur every 3 to 7 years and last from 6 to 18 months, the PDO can remain in the same phase for 20 to 30 years. The shift in the PDO can have significant implications for global climate, affecting Pacific and Atlantic hurricane activity, droughts and flooding around the Pacific basin, the productivity of marine ecosystems, and global land temperature patterns. This multi-year Pacific Decadal Oscillation ‘cool’ trend can intensify La Niña or diminish El Niño impacts around the Pacific basin,” said Bill Patzert, an oceanographer and climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “The persistence of this large-scale pattern [in 2008] tells us there is much more than an isolated La Niña occurring in the Pacific Ocean.”

        Natural, large-scale climate patterns like the PDO and El Niño-La Niña are superimposed on global warming caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases and landscape changes like deforestation. According to Josh Willis, JPL oceanographer and climate scientist, “These natural climate phenomena can sometimes hide global warming caused by human activities. Or they can have the opposite effect of accentuating it.”

        This is well known mainstream science – but there seems a vast number of who are incapable of understanding. I introduced a paper on stomata recently. Jim’s response was that ‘he preferred ice cores’. A bizarre response given that he obviously hadn’t read the paper. We are just going to reject all stomata studies out of hand?

        We have leading modelers saying things about models that are not understood at all – e.g – http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751.shorthttp://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709.long

        We have a whole new way of looking at climate – ftp://starfish.mar.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/pub/ocean/CCS-WG_References/NewSinceReport/March15/Swanson%20and%20Tsonis%20Has%20the%20climate%20recently%20shifted%202008GL037022.pdf

        We don’t need new science – we need the space cadets to understand existing science.

      • CH, no, stomata are very valuable when you have a wide distribution of them to rule out regional effects. They are used to support other evidence of high CO2 levels in the Eocene for example. They are a line of evidence, but never the complete evidence.

      • JimD, “As I have said in the past, the “skeptics” do need their own journal, but I think they have trouble even believing each other’s stuff, which is why it hasn’t happened yet. An online journal (no print editions) can’t be that hard to manage.”
        Skeptics don’t need their own journal, there is plenty of skeptical peer reviewed papers published as it is. What is needed is an unbiased method of keeping track of challenges, revisions and corrections. Lean et al 2000 is still used a TSI reference even though it has been revised by the original authors a couple of times Steig et al. 2009 was still referenced in the 5AR FOD even though it had corrigenda and a fairly devastating methods challenge. Dessler’s cloud feedback paper was pretty much trashed by Masters. Kiehl & Trenberth’s pre 2011 Earth Energy Budgets have been revised and challenged. New “sensitivity” papers are published nearly monthly. Yet the “faithful” testify before congress with unwarranted confidence.

        The “faithful” just need to catch up.

      • captd “Skeptics don’t need their own journal, there is plenty of skeptical peer reviewed papers published as it is.”
        Glad to hear that this has become a non-issue now, or would you be laughed out of WUWT for saying this there?
        If this is true, the consensus reports can truly reflect the current status by just using published papers, and a minority report (like NIPCC) can also just use equally peer-reviewed papers. This hasn’t been the case in the past.

      • JimD, “Glad to hear that this has become a non-issue now, or would you be laughed out of WUWT for saying this there?”

        I doubt it. Climategate plus the Remote Sensing editor resignation pretty much limited the good old boy club influence. The “faithful” have legal defense fund meetings at many of the conferences because scientific dirty tricks are not going to be tolerated. Pretty much everyone that actually matters knows there is new wind blowing. That new wind was started with a online breeze that has more clout than you might think.

      • capt, great, we can look forwards to a flood of skeptical papers. Perhaps they can push it above that 3% mark.

      • JimD, “capt, great, we can look forwards to a flood of skeptical papers. Perhaps they can push it above that 3% mark.”
        No,because most skeptics realize there is some anthropogenic impact which is all that is required to be in the 97%. I guess you missed Roy Spencer’s joke?

        By shifting between GHG effect, Global Warming, Climate Change and Climate Distruption, it is like Texas sharpshooting, can’t miss. As far as a flood of skeptic papers, yep, if skeptic means 1.6C or less.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        What we can look forward to is a flood of papers on natural variability – oh wait – that’s already happened. Has been happening for decades.

        ‘Humans are changing the climate? So who gives a rat’s arse – this is much more interesting.’

        More recent work is identifying abrupt climate changes working through the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, the Southern Annular Mode, the Artic Oscillation, the Indian Ocean Dipole and other measures of ocean and atmospheric states. These are measurements of sea surface temperature and atmospheric pressure over more than 100 years which show evidence for abrupt change to new climate conditions that persist for up to a few decades before shifting again. Global rainfall and flood records likewise show evidence for abrupt shifts and regimes that persist for decades. In Australia, less frequent flooding from early last century to the mid 1940’s, more frequent flooding to the late 1970’s and again a low rainfall regime to recent times.

        Anastasios Tsonis, of the Atmospheric Sciences Group at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and colleagues used a mathematical network approach to analyse abrupt climate change on decadal timescales. Ocean and atmospheric indices – in this case the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the North Pacific Oscillation – can be thought of as chaotic oscillators that capture the major modes of climate variability. Tsonis and colleagues calculated the ‘distance’ between the indices. It was found that they would synchronise at certain times and then shift into a new state.

        It is no coincidence that shifts in ocean and atmospheric indices occur at the same time as changes in the trajectory of global surface temperature. Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Tsonis said.

        Four multi-decadal climate shifts were identified in the last century coinciding with changes in the surface temperature trajectory. Warming from 1909 to the mid 1940’s, cooling to the late 1970’s, warming to 1998 and declining since. The shifts are punctuated by extreme El Niño Southern Oscillation events. Fluctuations between La Niña and El Niño peak at these times and climate then settles into a damped oscillation. Until the next critical climate threshold – due perhaps in a decade or two if the recent past is any indication.

        The latest shift in 1998/2001? Cooler conditions for a 20 to 40 years at least. This is what people have been saying for a decade. Catch up or be a dinosaur – see if I care.

      • Now all they need is a model and a hypothesis to test with it.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        We construct a network of observed climate indices in the period 1900–2000 and investigate their collective behavior. The results indicate that this network synchronized several times in this period. We find that in
        those cases where the synchronous state was followed by a steady increase in the coupling strength between the indices, the synchronous state was destroyed, after which a new climate state emerged. These shifts are associated with significant changes in global temperature trend and in ENSO variability. The latest such event is known as the great climate shift of the 1970s. We also find the evidence for such type of behavior in two climate simulations using a state-of-the-art model. This is the first time that this mechanism, which appears consistent with the theory of synchronized chaos, is discovered in a physical system of the size and complexity of the climate system.

        Citation: Tsonis, A. A., K. Swanson, and S. Kravtsov (2007),
        A new dynamical mechanism for major climate shifts, Geophys.
        Res. Lett., 34, L13705, doi:10.1029/2007GL030288.

        Now if only you understood the chaotic nature of GCM.

      • stay tuned, a new marcia wyatt paper is under review, it will knock your socks off :)

      • Let me guess: Best take yet @ natural variability. Let us consider forcing agents, particularly polluting ones, in the peer review climate.
        ================

    • David Appell

      Doney and Idso aren’t in comparable leagues. One does their work openly, publishing in the peer reviewed literature. The other hides from all inspection, publishing nothing but little documents that have not been peer reviewed at all.

      Real scientists don’t hide.

      • Would you care to give a point-by-point rebuttal of that paper, to show that you know what’s wrong with it – other than who it was written by?

      • A person with the background of Craig Itso has written in Jan 2010 a rebuttal of a film produced by NRDC. How can anyone think that such a paper is of any value what so ever?

        That’s most definitely not the place to learn about ocean acidification, not even views critical of main stream science.

      • David Appell

        phatboy: No, I don’t.
        Why should I waste my time on documents whose own author is afraid to submit it to peer review?

      • Well, then it seems to me that you’re wasting a lot of your time trying to convince others that they should have nothing nothing to do with something which you haven’t even read.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        David Appell, is this not hiding the same sort you practice on this site where you constantly run from challenges, or are you just saying you don’t live up to the high standards they set?

        Because the last time I challenged you, I provided you a link to an example and your response was to act like you had no idea what I was talking about. When I pointed out you had ignored the link, you conveniently disappeared.

        But hey, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe you would you like to admit Michael Mann lied about Steve McIntrye requesting an Excel spreadsheet, that Mann lied about that being why McIntyre got the results he got, and that you have consistently supported Mann’s lies on this issue for a decade for… god knows what reason.

        Because that’s what a real scientist would do.

      • David Appell

        Bradon: You keep talking about the “last time” you challenged me. But I have idea who you are or what you’re talking about….

      • If I could create a bot that would present the alarmist side as arrogant, biased and angry, I’d use David Appell as a model.

        Wait, what have you done with the real David Appell, and how did you do so well with the bot?
        =================

      • Chief Hydrologist

        There is nothing substantial in either of these documents – one can only imagine that each will play to tribal loyalties. Surprise. I think the intention was to provoke inputs from elsewhere and a rational discussion. Some hope. The problem is that this science is much newer even than climate change, has even less certainty and is as much infused with apocalyptic visions of future states. Thus we have Doney with dire warnings and Idso claiming it ain’t so. Is there a middle path? Gaia tends to equilibriate in a stable dissipative system – rather than diverge in a wildly erratic chaotic system as Doney claims – but we shouldn’t push our luck?

      • Goldilock’s portion was made with water of just the right hydrogen ion concentration.
        =============

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        David Appell, if you want to claim you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can, but all it’ll do is make you look willfully obtuse. I criticized you, pointing out you hold silly beliefs, using a past exchange as a reference. In the process, I provided you a link to that exchange. Your response was to say:

        What?? Who are you, and what are you talking about??
        No riddles please.

        Despite me providing you a direct link to the exchange in question, you claimed to have no idea what I was talking about. I responded to you two hours later, pointing out how odd your response was. You promptly disappeared. That was two days ago.

        I referred to an exchange between us two days ago, and you claim to have no idea what I’m talking about. Before that, you claimed to have no idea what I was talking about despite me providing a link to it. That takes a special level of obtuseness.

      • David Appell

        Brandon — wow, you once criticized me with a link.

        I’m sorry, but I’ve never heard of you and have no idea what you’re talking about. Do you have something relevant to this discussion?

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        David Appell, you’re free to run away from things all you want. You’ve been provided references for everything I’ve said, and you still pretend like you have no idea what I’m talking about.

        The simple truth is you come up with ridiculous contortions to defend Michael Mann’s lies. That why it’s a joke for you to talk about what “real scientists” do. Your interest has nothing to do with science. It’s purely about reinforcing your own beliefs.

        Amusingly, by claiming Idso isn’t a “real scientist” but Michael Mann is, you insult climate scientists more than practically any skeptic.ever has.

      • David Appell

        Brandon S: I’m not about to waste my time puzzling through all the various links of whatever it is you’re trying to say about me.

        The truth is, I have no idea who you are or what your point is. And none of your responses have helped in any way to illuminate this.

      • Peer review hmm… those danged inconvenient climategate
        emails :
        Michael Mann …
        ‘The skeptics appear to have staged a ‘coup’ at ‘Climate
        Research’ My guess is that Von Storch, [one of the editors]
        is actually with them, ( frankly he’s an odd individual, and I’m
        not sure he isn’t somewhat of a skeptic himself.) I think we
        have to stop considering ‘Climate Research ‘ as a legitimate
        journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in
        the climate research community to no longer submit to, or
        cite papers, in this journal.’

        Phil Jones:
        ‘I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing to
        do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor.’

      • David Appel, ahemm .. those inconvenient climategate emails
        concernin’ gatekeeping peer review …
        Bts

        http://davidpratt.info/climategate.htm

      • David Appell

        Beth Cooper: If you’ll remember, about a half-dozen editors of “Climate Research” resigned over the Soon & Baliunas affair. It was one of the most notable events in climate academia in the last decade….

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        David Appell:

        Brandon S: I’m not about to waste my time puzzling through all the various links of whatever it is you’re trying to say about me.

        First you complain about not knowing what I’m talking about despite it being abundantly clear. Then when I begin providing detailed references to everything you could need to understand the issue, you complain there’s too much information.

        As I said, a special level of obtuseness.

        The truth is, I have no idea who you are or what your point is. And none of your responses have helped in any way to illuminate this.

        I made specific claims with direct links to the evidence for those claims. It says something about you if that doesn’t help you “in any way.” And really, if you can’t figure out Michael Mann lied about the issue I reference, you’ve got no room to comment on anything.

        Beth Cooper: If you’ll remember, about a half-dozen editors of “Climate Research” resigned over the Soon & Baliunas affair. It was one of the most notable events in climate academia in the last decade….

        Yup. A bunch of people resigned because they hypocritically condemned Soon & Balinaus for the same behavior practically all the major players in the field engage in. And since then, the issues they raised with S&B have been completely ignored in regard to every other reconstruction.

        It’s definitely “one of the most notable events.” It shows your “side” as whole has no interest in science, integrity or intellectual honesty. It shows petty point-scoring dominates everything else when it comes to the major players in paleoclimatology.

        At this point, I suspect you’d defend practically anything these people do. Probably even when people on your “side” celebrate the idea of their opponents dying.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        By the way, none of these issues are really relevant to this blog post. As such, unless you have something to actually add, I don’t intend to pursue these matters further. I don’t want to start some lengthy exchange just to say you’re incredibly biased and untrustworthy. I’m content that as long as you behave as you have thus far, people will have an easy time judging your credibility.

        For those who want to know a little more about the S&B issue, I discussed it a bit on another blog, starting here. An interesting quote (discussing the paper published to criticize S&B):

        I should point out the reconstructions in that figure are all susceptible to the criticisms raised against the S&B paper. The EOS paper actually promotes work that is guilty of the things it condemns.

        The EOS paper doesn’t just fail to criticize work with the same problems as S&B. It promotes that work. The authors of the EOS paper are largely responsible for that work. It is about as hypocritical as anything can get.

      • Climategate handwaving the art of deflection.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wc_RNmAY4bA

      • David’s just throwing a la la la snit, a microcosm of climate science over the last decade. It’s just becoming more blatant, now.
        =================

    • The Idso piece comes across as a straw man attack when used with Doney because Doney didn’t say the extreme things that Idso attacks. It needs to be used with the NRDC movie The Acid Test, which does say some extreme things prefaced by “some scientists say…” which is valid. The NRDC are activist and as entitled as Idso to pick research that supports their aims. However, we don’t see Idso saying much relevant to what Doney raised.

      • Jim D wrote

        However, we don’t see Idso saying much relevant to what Doney raised.

        Idso’s document carries a date of Jan 5, 2010 which was written before Doney’s testimony. Ms Curry, as I understand it, just used the Idso document as a starting point to get both sides of the debate.

        klee12

    • Chief Hydrologist

      What we can look forward to is a flood of papers on natural variability – oh wait – that’s already happened. Has been happening for decades.

      ‘Humans are changing the climate? So who gives a rat’s arse – this is much more interesting.’

      More recent work is identifying abrupt climate changes working through the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, the Southern Annular Mode, the Artic Oscillation, the Indian Ocean Dipole and other measures of ocean and atmospheric states. These are measurements of sea surface temperature and atmospheric pressure over more than 100 years which show evidence for abrupt change to new climate conditions that persist for up to a few decades before shifting again. Global rainfall and flood records likewise show evidence for abrupt shifts and regimes that persist for decades. In Australia, less frequent flooding from early last century to the mid 1940’s, more frequent flooding to the late 1970’s and again a low rainfall regime to recent times.

      Anastasios Tsonis, of the Atmospheric Sciences Group at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and colleagues used a mathematical network approach to analyse abrupt climate change on decadal timescales. Ocean and atmospheric indices – in this case the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the North Pacific Oscillation – can be thought of as chaotic oscillators that capture the major modes of climate variability. Tsonis and colleagues calculated the ‘distance’ between the indices. It was found that they would synchronise at certain times and then shift into a new state.

      It is no coincidence that shifts in ocean and atmospheric indices occur at the same time as changes in the trajectory of global surface temperature. Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Tsonis said.

      Four multi-decadal climate shifts were identified in the last century coinciding with changes in the surface temperature trajectory. Warming from 1909 to the mid 1940’s, cooling to the late 1970’s, warming to 1998 and declining since. The shifts are punctuated by extreme El Niño Southern Oscillation events. Fluctuations between La Niña and El Niño peak at these times and climate then settles into a damped oscillation. Until the next critical climate threshold – due perhaps in a decade or two if the recent past is any indication.

      The latest shift in 1998/2001? Cooler conditions for a 20 to 40 years at least. This is what people have been saying for a decade. Catch up or be a dinosaur – see if I care.

  52. David Appell

    phatboy says:
    Well, then it seems to me that you’re wasting a lot of your time trying to convince others that they should have nothing nothing to do with something which you haven’t even read.

    It’s just the opposite — why should I give any credence to someone who won’t reveal their funding source and who shuns the peer reviewed literature?

    What has that person done to deserve my attention?

    • Well, from where I’m sitting, he sure has grabbed a huge chunk of your time and attention.
      Just sayin…

      • OK, what are the odds he’s read it?

        Now, longer odds, those that he’ll discuss it.
        =============

  53. Getting real if all the sea turned into hydrochloride acid how acidic would it be? Well after reacting with the earth it would neutralise out and any resolving water and solutions left would be around 8.1 ie the natural “acidity” of any water on the surface of our planet. Pretty basic really

  54. michael hart

    Is it not curious, even bizarre, that someone might give credit to early 20th century wet-chemical techniques for determining CO2 in seawater, yet not do so for CO2 in the atmosphere?

  55. Chief Hydrologist

    http://judithcurry.com/2013/07/19/ocean-acidification-discussion-thread/#comment-347775

    Despite Bart’s odd chemistry – extra C03 (and an extra ‘proton’) scavenges Ca from the water column – where it is supersaturated and goes back and forwards into and out of solution as ions or as the solid calcium carbonate (CaCO3) polymorphs of aragonite and calcite predominantly. The extra ‘proton’ drives dissolution of CaCO3. This is the original source of calcium leading to ideas of reduced calcium carbonate content in surface waters driving shell dissolution.

    Ca + CO3 ↔ CaCO3

    Increased CO3 combines with Ca – and exits the system. The biological pump of the ocean CO2 sink.

    The secondary source of CaCO3 is living pelagic organisms that actively drive the reaction towards the formation of CaCO3 – and SiCO3. Some of this is lost to sediments and some dissolved as it sinks to maintain water column chemistry. There is a net loss of calcium carbonate to sinks. The tertiary source of CaCo3 is sediments themselves – in both coastal areas and open water – as fined grained sediment, shell and coral. It is these sources of CaCO3 that maintain the supersaturation of aragonite and calcite in the water column.

    ‘Pelagic sediment or pelagite is a fine-grained sediment that has accumulated by the settling of particles through the water column to the ocean floor beneath the open ocean far from land. These particles consist primarily of either the microscopic, calcareous or siliceous shells of phytoplankton or zooplankton; clay-size siliciclastic sediment; or some mixture of these. Trace amounts of meteoric dust and variable amounts of volcanic ash occur within pelagic sediments. Based upon the composition of the ooze there are three main types of pelagic sediments. They are siliceous oozes, calcareous oozes, and red clays.’ Wikipedia

    The chemistry beyond that is horrendously complex and uncertain. But the ocean is a system that tends to homeostasis. Can we push the system past the point of shifting regimes? Perhaps.

  56. Joseph O'Sullivan

    The information for this post is congressional testimony, and the context is multiple parties seeking statements that will support particular policy actions. However, agencies are already taking action addressing ocean acidification. The EPA started in 2010 the first step in regulation. The Center for Biological Conservation forced the EPA to act under the Clean Water Act by suing the EPA.

    The press release is here:

    http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2013/ocean-acidification-05-29-2013.html

    The petition, and the science supporting it is here:

    http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/ocean_acidification/pdfs/EPA_OA_petition_2013.pdf

    • Willis Eschenbach

      The Center for Biological Conservation forced the EPA to act under the Clean Water Act by suing the EPA.

      Yeah, the “sue and settle” scam once again …

      w.

      • Joseph O'Sullivan

        “Yeah, the “sue and settle” scam once again …”

        Well if the EPA did settle in a “scam” there would be a counter-suit by the other side opposing regulation. The government lawyers are well aware of this, and are careful to avoid such results.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Joseph O’Sullivan | July 20, 2013 at 9:33 pm

        Well if the EPA did settle in a “scam” there would be a counter-suit by the other side opposing regulation. The government lawyers are well aware of this, and are careful to avoid such results.

        Google is your friend. A simple search on “sue and settle” finds things like this headline:

        12 states sue EPA over agency’s alleged ‘sue and settle’ tactics

        More here

        Now your theory was, “if the EPA did settle in a “scam” there would be a counter-suit” … can we agree there is a countersuit, so the EMA certainly may have settled in a scam?

        There’s dozens of articles on the subject, here’s one …

        w.

      • Joseph O'Sullivan

        The lawsuit mentioned by Willis Eschenbach is purely political theater. Just because there is a lawsuit, it does not follow that the allegations might be true. The plaintiff states are just trying to score political points first with a Freedom of Information Act fishing expedition and now with a lawsuit to back it up. There is no real “sue and settle scam” issue with environmental and public health groups and the EPA.

        It is all part of the newest anti-regulation public relations campaign. The articles even use the same buzzwords like “far-left radical environmental groups” and “sue and settle.”

        The articles are also wrong on the nature of consent agreements, but that is drifting a little too off-topic.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Joseph O’Sullivan | July 21, 2013 at 7:19 am |

        The lawsuit mentioned by Willis Eschenbach is purely political theater. Just because there is a lawsuit, it does not follow that the allegations might be true.

        Joseph, you made the rules of the game. You made the statement that “if the EPA did settle in a “scam” there would be a counter-suit by the other side opposing regulation”.

        In response, I pointed out that there IS a counter-suit, and said:

        Now your theory was, “if the EPA did settle in a “scam” there would be a counter-suit” … can we agree there is a countersuit, sothe EPA certainly may have settled in a scam?

        So by your own rules, the rules you made up, we’ve established that the EPA certainly may have settled in a scam.

        Of course, you have to add to that the fact that the head of the EPA had lots of clandestine correspondence using her secret email alias, “Richard Windsor” … does that mean she had something to hide?

        By the strict rules of courtroom evidence, no. And you are free to argue that.

        But by the rules of common sense, the only reason a person hides something is because they have something to hide … so what’s your guess about what the head of the EPA was hiding?

        None of this PROVES that the EPA is practicing “sue and settle”, she may just have been hiding her sexcapades, but somehow, I don’t think so …

        IF you want to play again, with the rules being that you get to decide whether a counter-suit brought by the Attorney Generals of eleven states is really a counter-suit or not, well, you’ll have to take that up with someone else. I’ve provided the countersuit that you said would demonstrate that the EPA could have settled in a scam. My part is done.

        w.

        PS—A bit more searching finds this gem:

        Ninth Circuit Rejects ‘Sue and Settle’ Consent Decree

        Jun.12.2013

        In a decision that strikes a blow against the federal government’s controversial practice of excluding industry from consent decrees with environmental citizen groups, a practice known as “sue-and-settle,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned the district court’s approval of a consent decree between a coalition of environmental groups and several federal agencies in Conservation Northwest v. Sherman, No. 11-35729 (9th Cir. Apr. 25, 2013).

        The Ninth Circuit held that “a district court abuses its discretion when it enters a consent decree that permanently and substantially amends an agency rule that would otherwise have been subject to statutory rulemaking procedures.”1 The Ninth Circuit agreed with the industry defendant-intervenor that the district court had in fact abused its discretion in approving what amounted to substantial, permanent amendments to federal agencies’ wildlife species management obligations.

        The unanimous panel reversed and remanded the case to the district court, potentially setting the stage for widespread challenge to similar decrees, and illustrating the importance of early and active intervention by the regulated community in such cases.

        Since the suit was about “sue and settle”, and the EPAlost the suit, seems like your argument is looking kinda weak …

      • Joseph O'Sullivan

        The first case Willis Eschenbach cites is not a court case where states are counter-suing over a specific consent agreement or consent agreements (“sue and settle scams”) in general. The case is an attempt to enforce FOIA demands. It is just not on point. It does have the characteristics of a SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) suit, a tactic to intimidate public interest groups like environmentalist organizations.

        The second case Willis cites is closer, but still not on point. It is about a procedural issue. The particular issue is when an agency action is a rule-making decision, so stays within the agency, or an individual judicial action and so can be brought to the courts. The court was not overly critical of consent agreements, and even stated they made sense. However, the court then went on to decide a more bright line rule was needed that would provide predictable guidelines for the lower courts, agencies and involved parties. It decided that the plan was a rule-making and had to go back to the agencies.

        In the second case, the EPA did not lose as Willis asserts because the EPA was not a party to that litigation, nor was the consent agreement an action taken by the Obama administration. It was created in 2007 during the Bush administration.

      • Joseph O'Sullivan

        From the blog rules: “Be patient with people having less technical expertise or background than yourself.”

        Willis Eschenbach:
        “Joseph, you made the rules of the game. You made the statement that “if the EPA did settle in a “scam” there would be a counter-suit by the other side opposing regulation”. In response, I pointed out that there IS a counter-suit”

        To be more patient and end this thread on a civil note, Willis is correct that there was a counter-suit. However, I was using the more limited meaning of counter-suit that is used in law based on my professional experience in this field. The term counter-suit has a more narrow definition in law than it does in common usage. It is like the way the term theory has a different meaning in science than in common usage.

      • Joseph O'Sullivan

        As was pointed to me by a friend, I should have written that Willis Eschenbach is not correct when he writes the cases he cites to are cases opposing “settle and sue scams”, but it understandable for a layman to think that they are.

    • The science citations in your second reference again point to the 30% increase in measured hydronium ion since the mid 1700’s. Seems to be a well-accepted value.

      • Joseph O'Sullivan

        The Center for Biological Conservation’s petition cites three papers for it.

  57. I should add as a corollary to the above that if fish are responsible for a sizeable chunk of the alkalinity in the oceans, what happens when coastlines are overfished?

  58. Willis Eschenbach

    The pCO2 changes in the ocean over the next century are slated to be on the order of 0.15 pH units.

    Your typical coral reef pH can change 150% of that much overnight.

    This is because the ocean pH is not simply a matter of chemistry. Many areas of the ocean are bursting with life, life which either burns oxygen and gives off CO2, or which takes up CO2 and exhales oxygen.

    As a result, these calculations of pH balances based solely on chemistry are a joke. They can never explain the diurnal swing in the pH over a coral reef.

    There are some graphs of variations in oceanic pH here. Right off of my house, the pH will change well over twice the predicted century-long change in a week or so.

    Finally, the majority of lab studies have involved an instantaneous change in pH. However, studies of a slow change show very different results, as sea creatures are quick to react to changes in the qualities of the water around them. They have to be quick to react, because different masses of water are often very different in salinity, pH, DIC, and alkalinity … if the ocean creatures couldn’t adapt very quickly to the shock of some storm- or current-driven new water mass coming through the area where they live, they’d have gone extinct millennia ago.

    w.

  59. Pingback: The Curry test for ocean acidification | quakerattled

  60. How much CO2 enters the oceans through mid-ocean rift zones, hot spots, undersea volcanism, etc.? How does this amount compare to that which might enter from the atmosphere?

  61. A far more reasonable comparison of Downey and Idso would have used the Annual Reviews of Marine Science article, “Ocean Acidification: The Other CO2 Problem,” with Downey as lead author (http://www.annualreviews.org/eprint/QwPqRGcRzQM5ffhPjAdT/full/10.1146/annurev.marine.010908.163834) originally cited by R. Gates.

    But it still would have been an insult to Downey and an embarassment to Dr. Curry to place the two on the same playing field.

    • Thanks for this reference. It states:

      4. Our present understanding of potential ocean acidification impacts on marine organisms stems largely from short-term laboratory and mesocosm experiments; consequently, the response of individual organisms, populations, and communities to more realistic gradual changes is largely unknown (Boyd et al. 2008).

      5. The potential for marine organisms to adapt to increasing CO2 and the broader implications for ocean ecosystems are not well known; an emerging body of evidence suggests that the impact of rising CO2 on marine biota will be more varied than previously thought, with both ecological winners and losers.

      6. Ocean acidification likely will affect the biogeochemical dynamics of calcium carbonate, organic carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus in the ocean as well as the seawater chemical speciation of trace metals, trace elements, and dissolved organic matter.

      Doney’s testimony did not provide this same sense of uncertainty. Nor did he mention the existence of disagreement and countervailing evidence. Given Doney’s ‘oversight’ in this regard, I would like to understand what basis for disagreement exists and what is some of the countervailing evidence, and what are the main areas of uncertainty. If the ‘mainstream’ experts don’t supply this information (i.e. evidence against as well as evidence for), then it is left for Idso et al. to fill in the blanks.

      Experts presenting one-sided evidence with little mention of uncertainty in a field ‘that is in its infancy’ ends up elevating Idso’s report probably more than it deserves.

    • Latimer Alder

      @owen

      ‘But it still would have been an insult to Downey’

      Ah..poor dear. What a terrible, terrible thing that would have been.

      As an aside, why are all academics so incredibly touchy about status and prizes and citations and ‘respect’? Sometimes I find it hard to distinguish between their antics and those of toddlers….petulant, completely egocentric and rather silly.

      Out in the real world – where doing things, not just writing about them – matters, people have to ‘take the rough with the smooth’.

      If academics want to venture out from their cosy cocoons – like giving testimony to the Senate – – they will need to do so too. The world does not conduct itself according to the bizarre rituals of academic etiquette.

      In common parlance, they need to ‘grow a pair’

      • > If academics want to venture out from their cosy cocoons […] they need to ‘grow a pair’.

        Exactly.

        I’m sure Judy already did.

      • Latimer Alder

        @willard

        In every sense…. :-)

        She perosnally has more ‘cojones’ than a whole phalanx of asinine male party line toeing climatologists.

  62. My skepticism was aroused by his mention of oyster farming near collapse (nothing to do with Co2) and nutrient overload from land based (again nothing to do with CO2, he was definitively aiming for scare factor, and purposely avoiding direct evidence that could be refuted.

  63. Berényi Péter

    Well, either / or.

    Oceans, from surface to bottom, hold some sixty times more dissolved CO₂ than the entire amount found in the atmosphere, therefore either heat is not sequestered in the deep ocean (presumably by mechanically driven vertical turbulent mixing) at a rate sufficient to negate atmospheric warming due to increasing CO₂ concentration during the last one and a half decade, that is, this heat has escaped to space after all in spite of carbon dioxide’s valiant efforts to trap it, or excess CO₂ dissolved in upper layers has inevitably been sequestered along with it, making the link between its concentration in surface waters vs. the atmosphere extremely weak. The dire fact for warmists is that one can’t have it both ways.

  64. J Doug Swallow

    willard (@nevaudit) | July 20, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    “Superb. And philosophers do study strange things, like this:
    […]
    The sequence of chemical reactions that enable aqua regia to dissolve gold is remarkable, and depends on chemical structures, but the unique ability to dissolve gold is an emergent property, of a sort that essentialists have not much discussed. Both acids are required to dissolve gold, in a chain reaction of some complexity.”

    The gold extraction companies have gone far beyond this procedure in a huge way:
    “Leaching reagents in the form of cyanide and an oxidant
    such as air or oxygen are added after thickening. Leaching
    takes place in a series of agitated leach reactors or pachucas.
    Before leaching the pH of the pulp is normally adjusted to a
    value of around 9.5–11 to ensure minimum loss of cyanide
    as hydrogen cyanide.
    The leaching of gold can be conveniently represented by
    the Elsener equation:
    4Au+8NaCN+O₂+2H₂O→4NaAu(CN)₂+4NaOH”

    http://www.saimm.co.za/Journal/v099n01p013.pdf

    • Thanks, J Doug Swallow.

      In exchange, here’s an anecdote that I just read:

      When Germany invaded Denmark in World War II, Hungarian chemist George de Hevesy dissolved the gold Nobel Prizes of German physicists Max von Laue (1914) and James Franck (1925) in aqua regia to prevent the Nazis from confiscating them. The German government had prohibited Germans from accepting or keeping any Nobel Prize after jailed peace activist Carl von Ossietzky had received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1935. De Hevesy placed the resulting solution on a shelf in his laboratory at the Niels Bohr Institute. It was subsequently ignored by the Nazis who thought the jar—one of perhaps hundreds on the shelving—contained common chemicals. After the war, de Hevesy returned to find the solution undisturbed and precipitated the gold out of the acid. The gold was returned to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Nobel Foundation. They re-cast the medals and again presented them to Laue and Franck.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aqua_regia

  65. Chief Hydrologist

    ‘Since the publication of two reports in 2005–2006 [1], [2], the drive to forecast the effects of anthropogenic ocean acidification (OA) on marine ecosystems and their resident calcifying marine organisms has resulted in a growing body of research. Numerous laboratory studies testing the effects of altered seawater chemistry (low pH, altered pCO2, and undersaturation states – Ω – for calcium carbonate polymorphs) on biogenic calcification, growth, metabolism, and development have demonstrated a range of responses in marine organisms (for reviews see [3]–[8]). However, the emerging picture of biological consequences of OA – from data gathered largely from laboratory experiments – is not currently matched by equally available environmental data that describe present-day pH exposures or the natural variation in the carbonate system experienced by most marine organisms. Although researchers have documented variability in seawater carbonate chemistry on several occasions in different marine ecosystems (e.g., [9]–[15]), this variation has been under-appreciated in these early stages of OA research.’

    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi/10.1371/journal.pone.0028983

    The oceans are far different to conditions found in labs. Oceans are both variable and tend towards homeostasis – the Gaia hypothesis – but with obvious chemical pathways.

  66. Willis Eschenbach

    Owen | July 20, 2013 at 9:11 pm |

    Willis,

    Try this Annual Reviews article ( http://www.annualreviews.org/eprint/QwPqRGcRzQM5ffhPjAdT/full/10.1146/annurev.marine.010908.163834). They state a decline in pH of 0.1 pH unit since pre-industrial times. Wikipedia gave 0.11 decline in pH. When you translate to hydronium ikon concentration, you get very close to the 30%.

    Thanks for the link, Owen. They show a pH change at one location off of Hawaii of – 0.0019 pH units per year. However, Takahashi also reported that out of the 32 oceanic locations studied (including the one off of Hawaii), 28 of them showed decreased pH and four showed increased pH, with the average increase being +0.0011 pH units per year. Go figure. pH in the ocean is very variable, and the changes and variations are poorly understood.

    As to being able to measure the “average” ocean pH, we’ve measured it only very sporadically over a few decades, in few scattered locations, with infrequent repeat measurements. Heck, accurate instrumentation to measure it isn’t that old. And repeat measurements are rare. So anyone claiming anything about the “average global ocean pH” is blowing smoke. And if they claim they know what happened as a global average pH since pre-industrial times? They are either charlatans or totally self-deluded. We don’t have the data to even guess at that. It’s all models, as I said above.

    There was one repeat pH transect 15 years apart, in 2010 I discussed the report by Byrne et al. here. One interesting thing I learned from the Byrne study was that as you go from Hawaii to Alaska, the pH goes down from 8.05 in Hawaii to 7.65 in Alaska.

    In addition, if you go 200 meters straight down in the North Pacific up near Alaska, the pH goes from 7.65 down to 7.2! That’s a huge difference, in only 200 metres, and it ends up almost neutral. And in Hawaii, a drop of 500 metres into the ocean is a drop of a full half unit in pH. .

    Because here’s the thing. Life not only flourishes at all those pH levels. Life regularly moves and migrates from one pH level to another. Not only that, life is abundant where the pH changes by a quarter of a unit in a week. In the post about Byrne I also show the fluctuations in pH at the inlet pipe of the Monterrey Bay Aquarium … the speed and size of the pH changes are an eye-opener, and the waters off Monterrey are boiling with life.

    In the open ocean, the hugest migration of life on the planet goes on every night. Millions upon millions of tiny creatures swim upwards from the stygian depths towards the surface, from which all of the food descends. They feast up near the surface, and then descend with the dawn back into the depths. Overall they move vertically as much as 800 metres.

    And as the data from the Barnes study shows, this involves a change in pH from about 7.3 down in the deeps to about 7.8 up near the surface. So every one of these creatures experiences a pH change of half a pH unit, twice a day!

    As a result, I find the horror story scares about “acidification” to be laughable. The maximum estimated change, which we may never see, is very small compared to the changes experienced daily, monthly, and yearly all over the ocean.

    I show a variety of actual hourly observations of pH at various ocean locations in a post here. You know, real data. The amount of variation was quite surprising to me. But considering that anywhere in the ocean the pH drops with increasing depth, all that needs to happen is an upwelling for any reason and the pH will change.

    Finally, I say again that the life of the ocean is not ruled by the chemistry of the ocean.

    Instead, the chemistry of the ocean is ruled by the life of the ocean. The pH of the water on the coral reefs is controlled by the reef itself.

    All the best,

    w.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      Willis said:

      “Finally, I say again that the life of the ocean is not ruled by the chemistry of the ocean.

      Instead, the chemistry of the ocean is ruled by the life of the ocean. The pH of the water on the coral reefs is controlled by the reef itself.”

      ——

      Both are true and must be. We certainly know that multiple factors go in to determining the chemistry of he ocean– of which life is only one. We know that the biosphere, atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, and cryosphere all I interact with each other.

  67. Willis Eschenbach

    Or consider your average sperm whale. It dives down and spends lots of time hanging out a thousand metres below the surface. At the surface, say near Hawaii, the pH is about 8.0.

    Down 1000 metres in that tropical ocean, on the other hand, the pH is only about 7.3. So the whale is experiencing a drop in pH of nearly three quarters of a pH unit in 5 minutes or so …

    And not only the whale, of course. The whales all have barnacles, parasites, and a host other sea life living on their skin. And those creatures don’t seem to mind being plunged from pH 8.0 to pH 7.3, hanging out there a while, and then coming back up.

    The life of the ocean is not supersensitive to pH as people think. If it were, it would have been long extinct …

    w.

    • David Springer

      “The life of the ocean is not supersensitive to pH as people think. If it were, it would have been long extinct …”

      It’s conceivable that some sub-species are dependent on a very narrow pH range. They would die off as individuals but some close relatives whose pH requirements are slightly different will become dominant in the the population. That’s what allele frequency is all about.

      • David Springer, 7/21/@ 4L18 am

        You might make much stronger statements, propositions without the qualifiers very, slightly, close. Flora and fauna that exist in the ocean are those adapted to the existing pH, with a robustness sufficient to overcome pH variations experienced over the past many generations.

        Life forms competing within a niche (defined by the parameter ultimately limiting the competitors’ population sizes) need not be relatives, nor even from the same kingdom. If a worm and a fern were to occupy the same niche, restricted by the availability of manganese, then the lid would be on the evolutionary pressure cooker, and a lethal race would be underway, all other things being equal. It’s math.

        And dominance within a niche is a transient condition tending to exclusivity, i.e., one life form per niche, except for the fact that Earth is never in equilibrium.

      • What did the study on ‘The Short Term Effects of Human Urine on Sea Corals’, tell us about these plants ability to adjust to wide swings in niche temperatures as well as pH levels?

  68. Berényi Péter

    “Model simulations indicate that polar surface waters will become undersaturated for aragonite in the near future for the Arctic (atmospheric carbon dioxide of 400-450 ppm) and by mid-century for the southern ocean off the Antarctic (atmospheric carbon dioxide of 550-600 ppm). This is expected to result in major changes in polar ecosystems.”

    Before prognosticating early demise of aragonite shelled creatures due to anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, solve a riddle for me first.

    Ammonoidea, with outer shells made of aragonite have thrived all over the Mesozoic and got extict only at the end Cretaceous extinction event along with dinosaurs.

    How can that be, when CO₂ concentration in the Mesozoic atmosphere went above 2000 ppm in some periods and never dropped below 1000 ppm?

    We even have well preserved (and beautiful) aragonite outer shells called Ammolite (a gemstone).

    • michael hart

      “How can that be, when CO₂ concentration in the Mesozoic atmosphere went above 2000 ppm in some periods and never dropped below 1000 ppm?”

      Much of the carbonate precipitation actually occurs INSIDE the cell, behind membranes and substantially under the regulatory control of biological processes such as the ion transporters.

      Use is also made of the diurnal cycles by precipitation occurring at night. Some of these may come at an energetic cost, depending on species, location etc. But in many relatively nutrient-poor locations energy (sunlight) is not thought to be limiting.

      • Berényi Péter

        Okay, but in that case it is not easy to see why is there such a scare. If aragonite saturation depth ever reaches the surface, that only concerns shells of dead animals, does it? Why would live ones care if shells of deceased specimens would not get fossilized properly but get dissolved? It only makes more raw material (Calcium ions) available to build their own shells. Dissolution may be an issue with coral reefs indeed, where the next generation grows on dead skeletons of previous ones, but as far as I know there are no reefs in polar regions, while in warm water aragonite saturation horizon can never get even near to the surface.

      • Look up biological pump for a clue.

  69. Schrodinger's Cat

    Ocean acidification is another example of half truths used by those who wish to promote environmental alarmism.

    Carbon dioxide produces very little carbonic acid in water and the carbonic acid is very poorly diassociated to the anion and proton. Only the proton (hydrogen ion) can contribute to acidity. Increases in this species drive the reactions all the way back to the production of carbon dioxide dissolved in water.

    This not only happens in sea water, but also in the blood, otherwise our conversion of food to energy plus carbon dioxide would lead to the acidification of the blood.

    Carbon dioxide in water can be regarded as a pH buffer.

  70. “”On both a monthly and annual scale, even the most stable open ocean sites see pH changes many times larger than the annual rate of acidification,” say the authors of the study, adding that because good instruments to measure ocean pH have only recently been deployed, “this variation has been under-appreciated.” Over coral reefs, the pH decline between dusk and dawn is almost half as much as the decrease in average pH expected over the next 100 years. The noise is greater than the signal.

    Another recent study, by scientists from the U.K., Hawaii and Massachusetts, concluded that “marine and freshwater assemblages have always experienced variable pH conditions,” and that “in many freshwater lakes, pH changes that are orders of magnitude greater than those projected for the 22nd-century oceans can occur over periods of hours.””

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203550304577138561444464028.html

  71. “From preindustrial levels, contemporary surface ocean pH is estimated to have dropped on average from 8.2 to 8.1, or by about 0.1 pH units (a 26% increase in hydrogen ion concentration), and further decreases of 0.22 to 0.35 pH units are projected over this century unless carbon dioxide emissions are significantly reduced.”

    When ever a climate “scientist” starts giving such precise descriptions of something that was never measured before, grab your wallet.

    “From preindustrial levels…on average from 8.2….”

    Really? Is that global average surface ocean pH levels?

    I took me a long time, and lots of questions to warmists who gave evasive answers, to learn that “Global Average temperature” is not global, does not represent an average, and does not reflect temperature. GAT is a product of sparse measurements of selected areas of the global climate, It is a mean not of actual average temps, but of anomalies. The “averages” for whole large areas of the globe are inferred or deduced from temps a thousand miles or more away. The largest component of the globe (heat contentwise), the deep sea, is virtually unmeasured. But the “mean” of kriged, adjusted anomalies of a small portion of the surface air (and rarely sea surface) of the globe are referred to in all the scare propaganda as “Global Average Temperature.” This manufactured GAT is then reported to within a tenths of a degree?

    And that is current temps. Paleo is far, far worse.

    So color me skeptical that anyone knows what the preindustrial pH level of the Earth’s oceans was at all, let alone with such precision.

    As for “contemporary surface ocean pH” levels, I wonder how long it will be before we learn just how little actual information goes into this “estimate,” and how the “data” are adjusted.

  72. While “acidification” is a perfectly valid technical term, to the non-chemist it connotes a need for acid reflux medicine.

    Nomenclature issues aside, in addition to pH another measure of the effect of dissolved CO2 is redox potential. Since it appears there is ample calcium to buffer the carbonic acid, the chemical potential of the carbonate equilibria (and heaven only knows how many others) will change.

    • Calcium is not the only cation (or anion) in the system. The equilibrium is complex, and moving the pH down 0.1 units makes a difference to aragonite availability. Here are the measurements and here is some video

    • Chief Hydrologist

      I linked to the video earlier.

      For current ocean composition, CO2 that is added to sea water is partitioned primarily into HCO3 with the net reaction resulting in the generation of H+ and thus decreasing pH and making sea water more acidic; adding CO2
      thereby decreases the concentration of CO. Total Alkalinity is increased when, for example, alkaline minerals such as CaCO3 are dissolved in sea water through the reaction,

      CaCO3 ↔ Ca + CO3

      which releases 2 mole-equivalents of Total Alkalinity and 1 mol of Dissolved Inorganic Carbon for each mole of CaCO3 dissolved. Increasing TAlk more than DIC leads to a decrease in the partial pressure of CO2 as seen in Figure 6.5. Because most Dissolved Inorganic Carbon is in the form of HCO3
      – the main effect of dissolving CaCO3 in surface waters is (see Kheshgi, 1995)

      CaCO3 (s) + CO2 (g) + H2O ↔ Ca2+ + 2HCO3

      thereby shifting CO2 from the atmosphere to the oceans in equilibrium, neutralizing the effect of CO2 on pH. Ocean surface waters are super-saturated with Ocean surface waters are super-saturated with respect to
      CaCO3, allowing the growth of corals and other organisms
      that produce shells or skeletons of carbonate minerals.’ http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/special-reports/srccs/SRCCS_Chapter6.pdf

      So in these primary reactions – the result is a decrease in the calcium carbonate polymorphs and a neutralization of the additional H+ ions. The real question is the speed of NaCO3 dissolution in ways that replenish surface stores of aragonite and calcite. Call it 10,000 years and I will call you a drongo.

  73. I’m interested in the fact that a bio was given for Scott Doney (apparently he’s a working scientist with a fairly extensive publication record and qualifications in Chemistry and a PhD in Checmical Oceanography), but no bio was given for Craig Idso.
    I looked it up and Craig Idso seems to be some kind of political lobbyist working for non-science organisations that don’t disclose their sources of funding. He has no qualifications in chemistry, but is apparently qualified in Geography and Agronomy.

    Wouldn’t it be better to fact-check Doney’s statements by a relevant expert, instead of using somebody who doesn’t work in the field and has known political biases informing his views?

    • David Young

      Like so many things in climate science, its difficult to do this fact checking systematically. Sometimes laymen have this mistaken view of the peer reviewed literature, assuming that peer review means it must be right. Nothing could be further from the truth. The medical literature for example is full of meaningless studies, politically motivated research, and special pleading. In medicine this problem is recognized and studied. In climate science it is politicized, and that’s a problem. Skeptical Science is a typical example of activists with a political axe to grind, whose real function is to chill debate by slandering those on the wrong side of the issue, trying to keep their papers out of the literature, etc.

      The right way to view experts in such a field is to be skeptical. It unfortunately is usually outsiders who are best at this. Just as Berny Madoff was found out by a mathematician, whose testimony to Congress was ignored by the SEC for years because everyone knew Berny’s credentials were impeccable. Outside auditors should be welcomed.

      Doney’s testimony struck me as being an attempt to convince the committee that action was needed and not a careful scientific exposition.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        This array suggested a bigger, underlying dysfunction, and Ioannidis thought he knew what it was. “The studies were biased,” he says. “Sometimes they were overtly biased. Sometimes it was difficult to see the bias, but it was there.” Researchers headed into their studies wanting certain results—and, lo and behold, they were getting them. We think of the scientific process as being objective, rigorous, and even ruthless in separating out what is true from what we merely wish to be true, but in fact it’s easy to manipulate results, even unintentionally or unconsciously. “At every step in the process, there is room to distort results, a way to make a stronger claim or to select what is going to be concluded,” says Ioannidis. “There is an intellectual conflict of interest that pressures researchers to find whatever it is that is most likely to get them funded.” http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/11/lies-damned-lies-and-medical-science/308269/

      • As usual, Chief, you are an encyclopaedia of interesting information. :-)
        BTW, what’s happened to Webby? His usual libelous and nasty insults have not graced us here recently.

      • Sometimes laymen have this mistaken view of the peer reviewed literature, assuming that peer review means it must be right.

        Well. According to David, sometimes laymen assume that peer reviewed literature must be right.

        Of course, David offers no proof that sometimes laymen make such an assumption, but it does seem at least theoretically possible.

        However, I am left to wonder just how many laymen David thinks make such an assumption.

        Tell me, David – can you approximate how many laymen you believe think that peer reviewed literature is infallible?

        Do you think it is maybe 1%? 10%? 30%? 60%?

        And do you have any actual evidence for your beliefs? In fact, can you provide one example of even one layman who thinks that if an article is peer reviewed, it “must be right?

        Or are you are willing to draw absolutely certainly conclusions w/o any basis in evidence?

      • David Young

        Josh, Josh, I have a lot of experience in this area. It’s a feature of the medical literature and the fluid dynamics literature. I know you are inexperienced in publishing in the scientific literature or evaluating results for their usefulness. We do it for a living. My brother does it all the time with the medical literature. He likes to have independent people do the evaluation. Statisticians are particularly useful in this work. For examples, just view the video of the recent Senate hearing on this subject where “peer reviewed” is thrown around quite a bit, particularly by the Democrats. You can see this at Real Climate too where the faithful revere the literature at least if it supports their political views.

      • Peer review is certainly not a guarantee of correctness, but it does reduce very much the likelihood of explicit errors. The most important difference between a paper published in a high quality peer reviewed journal and an paper published in some other way is that essential errors in a peer reviewed article are with high likelihood brought up in some way in later scientific literature, while it’s common that nobody considers it worthwhile to publish corrections to an article not published properly anywhere.

        Peer reviewed articles are part of the self-correcting scientific process, while unpublished articles may remain totally disconnected from that. If an unpublished article is seriously false or badly written, it’s almost certain to remain disconnected.

        In the spirit of the scientific process any genuinely new non trivial result should be considered as provisional until it has been verified by other scientists (not only the reviewers of a journal). Sometimes that does not require further publications, but typically new independent research is needed for that.

        News releases of many universities and related news in main stream media confuse the public as they present highly provisional results as if they would be certain to be correct. In some cases that misleads people to take very seriously threats or promises that are highly exaggerated, in other cases that results in general mistrust in science.

        My own impression is that science news in MSM are more often seriously wrong than give the right impression on the subject. The reason for that is that MSM is interested in dramatic news and a dramatic science news is seldom correct. (No, I don’t have statistics to back up my impression.)

      • David –

        Your condescension is misplaced – (not the least because I am much more experienced with the process of peer review than you assume – and particularly if you want to use having brothers and other family members being involved in peer review as a qualifier).

        Primarily, it your condescension is misplaced because your self-reference to your “authority” from expertise does not negate the fact that you were sloppy and wrong both in your original statement and in your follow-up.

        Wile it is theoretically possible that someone might believe as you describe, I’d say that practically no one thinks that ” peer review means it must be right.”

        What many people think is that peer review is a process that helps improve the quality of research. In that, I’d say that they are correct.

        Some people may assume that if you’re comparing research that is peer reviewed to research that hasn’t been, they can assume that the peer reviewed work is of higher quality or more likely to be valid. I would say that is incorrect as a blanket assumption – but then again, as a probability it is more than likely accurate.

        It’s unfortunate that you seem to have fallen into the typical binary mindset of a “skeptic.” Just because people value peer review does not mean that they believe that “peer review means it must be right.” No amount of your self-referential appeal to authority will make your statement true. No amount of sharing elitist chuckles about how much smarter you are than those who view peer review with something other than a binary mindset will make your statement true.

        For examples, just view the video of the recent Senate hearing on this subject where “peer reviewed” is thrown around quite a bit, particularly by the Democrats.

        Just because you may bring a binary mentality to examining these issues, it doesn’t validate your assumption that others do. People refer to peer reviewed literature with the assumption that peer review increases the probability or validity – not that “peer review means it must be right.”

        You can see this at Real Climate too where the faithful revere the literature at least if it supports their political views.

        To the extent that may be true, it is certainly not unique to Real Climate. We can find an overtly selective mindset about the value of peer review throughout the “skept-o-sphere.” I guess that as an “outsider,”: it is much easier for me to see that than for you to see it.

        Please, provide one example of someone who thinks that “peer review means it must be right.” I noticed that you failed to do so when first asked.

        Certainly, as a skeptic and and outsider, we can assume a greater validity to your analysis, right? If so, you must have evidence.

        Or perhaps actually you’re a “skeptic?” Say it ain’t so, David.

      • Pekka –

        My own impression is that science news in MSM are more often seriously wrong than give the right impression on the subject. The reason for that is that MSM is interested in dramatic news and a dramatic science news is seldom correct. (No, I don’t have statistics to back up my impression.)

        Thanks for doing what “skeptics” fail to do. There’s nothing wrong, IMO, with stating an impression as an impression, along with acknowledging that you don’t have the evidence to confirm your impression. That’s what a skeptic does as opposed to a “skeptic.”

        I will say, however, that I doubt your impression. There is no doubt that the media business exploits sensationalism as part of its marketing strategy. And there is no doubt that the pattern of exploiting sensationalism can, and probably often does, lead the general public to incorrect impressions. It does not mean, however, that it happens “more often.” I don’t have statistics to back my view any more than you do, but my guess is that those occasions when media reporting has given wrong impressions has had greater impact on you than the many banal and commonplace times when non-misleading reporting has occurred. Thus, you have given greater weight to relatively fewer occurrences – which has biased your overall impression.

      • Your words have shown us that Porn and Peer Review have much in common in that you won’t tell us what it ‘will’ look like but that we will know it when we see it.

      • “Peer review as a reliable technique for assessing the validity of scientific data is surely discredited.

        “The mistake, of course, is to have thought that peer review was any more than a crude means of discovering the acceptability — not the validity — of a new finding. Editors and scientists alike insist on the pivotal importance of peer review. We portray peer review to the public as a quasi-sacred process that helps to make science our most objective truth teller. But we know that the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed [jiggered, not repaired], often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong.” Richard Horton, Editor, The Lancet, London, UK, Editorial, Med.J.Au, 2/21/00.

        And from another:

        “I have experienced conflicts of interest in the review process, where manuscripts are prevented from publication due to data and interpretations that disagree with the past published findings of the reviewers. In these situations, the associate editors have failed to adhere to the scientific method by demanding that only objective, research supported criticisms of the manuscript content are valid. Too often associate editors have allowed reviewer personal opinions and biases to determine the fate of a manuscript.

        “I have discussed my frustrations of the peer review process with many of my colleagues, and have found that they also have numerous stories of unfair reviews. There are stories of second and third rounds of manuscript revisions, ending in rejection without any explanation of the decision. Stories of where reviewers’ demand that certain interpretations or sections be removed that oppose past interpretations or conclusions on a given topic, and when this is not done for sound scientific and ethical reasons, all of which are explained to the reviewers and associate editor, the manuscript is rejected.

        “As a professional exercise physiologists, I can no longer function without expressing my dismay at the clear fact that there seems to be a blatant disregard for the need to develop and reinforce a scrutinizing eye on the scientific peer review process. If publication of scientific findings and thought is the backbone of our knowledge, understanding, and development, then, as scientists, we should be meticulous in ensuring that the review and decisions involved in publication acceptance or rejection are as thorough and valid as possible. This is not characteristic of exercise physiology, sports medicine, or applied physiology.” Robergs, R.A., Prof., U.NM, 5/2/03.

        Publication in climate journals isn’t even that good. Read the email where Mann and Jones conspire to get nonconforming editors fired. Posted above by Beth Cooper, 7/20/13 @ 9:24pm.

        Peer review and publication in professional journals is one of the five tenets of Post Modern Science, the others being falsification, consensus, error rate, and conformity with societal needs, all due to Karl Popper. He intentionally removed Cause & Effect. Modern Science on the other hand rests on scientific deduction by postulated Cause & Effect in models of the real world with predictive power. The two models for science are mutually exclusive — orthogonal.

        MS thrives in industry; PMS in academia, including especially climatology.

  74. Fortunately, when the stupid burns it doesn’t release CO2.

    This post & the threads are on fire with the stupid. Many reports on ocean acidification have been published in the peer reviewed literature, including the journal Science, but JC and herds of her oblivious commenters are completely unaware of them.

    Here’s a clue. Near natural marine CO2 sources biodiversity is reduced and acid sensitive organisms are either reduced in number or absent. Ocean acidification episodes in the geologic record correlate with extinction and mass extinction events. Corals disappeared from the geologic at the end Permian when the oceans acidified and warmed to the point that they could no longer form carbonate shells.

  75. This was supposed to be a meeting about global warming but somehow it got itself sidetracked to subsidiary issues like the pH of the ocean water. The most important issue about global warming today is lack of warming, a standstill that has lasted 15 years. If we are dealing with a new normal this could well mean that global warming is over. But since we don’t know the future we should at least be discussing the implications of the standstill. The science journal Nature said only last week that the global temperature standstill “is one of the biggest mysteries in climate science.” Actually, It should not be a mystery because a theory exists that explains it. It is called the saturated greenhouse theory of Ferenc Miskolczi. But it has been vilified, denied, and ridiculed by global warming advocates because it would destroy their neat little nest egg called AGW that justifies spending trillions of dollars of public money. As a result, not one of the ten experts called to testify even mentioned his name. IPCC claims to get their global warming theory from Arrhenius. Arrhenius measured the IR absorption of CO2 and from that concluded that putting CO2 in the air will warm it. CO2 however is not the only greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, water vapor is too, and they both simultaneously absorb infrared radiation. A basic tenet of the Miskolczi theory is that if several greenhouse gases simultaneously absorb infrared radiation an optimal absorption window exists that is maintained by cooperation among the gases. For the earth atmosphere the IR optical thickness of this window is 1.87. If, for example, we add more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere this will increase the absorption of IR by the atmosphere, just as Arrhenius told us. But as soon as this happens, water vapor will start to diminish until the optimal absorption value is restored. This is the equivalent of negative water vapor feedback, the exact opposite of what the IPCC uses. He published his theory in 2007 and was not taken seriously, partly I think because his math was over the heads of those pseudo-scientists at IPCC. But in 2010 he followed it up with experimental observations. Using NOAA weather balloon database that goes back to 1948 he studied the absorption of infrared radiation by the atmosphere over time. And discovered that absorption had been constant for 61 years while carbon dioxide at the same time went up by 21.6 percent. This means that the addition of this substantial amount of carbon dioxide to air had no effect whatsoever on the absorption of IR by the atmosphere. And no absorption means no greenhouse effect, case closed. That is the true explanation of “one of the biggest mysteries in climate science” as Nature puts it. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today is highest ever but it is not able to warm the air because the greenhouse effect alleged to be the cause of warming does not even exist. It follows that all warming observed up to now is natural warming, not greenhouse warming. It also means that all predictions of warming based on the greenhouse effect are false. Time to disband the IPCC.

    • Aron Arrak, 7/21 @ 11:19 pm:

      Leveling of temperature follows from the best model of solar radiation using a rather simple transfer function with a principal lag of 134 years and a secondary lag of 46 years. See my blog. The flagging of global average surface temperatures is a mystery to some climatologist because they are wedded to AGW.

      Miskolczi is unacceptale to “consensus” climatology for the same reason: it’s not AGW. But that is not a whiff of justification for accepting his model. He says,

      “On global scale, however, there can not be any direct water vapor feedback mechanism, working against the total energy balance requirement of the system.” Miskolczi 2007, p. 35.

      He is wrong on two counts. Cloud cover and hence cloud albedo is a water vapor feedback mechanism that gates solar radiation on and off. Consequently, it is the most powerful feedback mechanism in Earth’s climate. It is a fast positive feedback with respect to the Sun, and a slow negative feedback with respect to surface temperature. That mechanism is missing in the GCMs, which increase specific humidity with surface temperature but keep cloud cover parameterized and constant.

      Miskolczi’s second mistake he shares with AGW. His “total energy balance requirement” is a presumption not based in physics. Earth’s climate can never be in mechanical or thermal equilibrium, and hence not in thermodynamic equilibrium.

      IPCC’s baseline Kiehl-Trenberth annual and global mean energy balance (AR4, FAQ 1.1, Figure 1) for a surface temperature of 288K is arbitrary. It can be reconstructed to the same ground rules for any temperature between 0K and at least 290K, and none of those reconstructions is unique.

      No equilibrium state is a climate magnet, nor does the climate system have any memory of a particular state. Some models have the climate balanced, and some students of climate say that one process or another tends to dynamic equilibrium, but no theory supports these conjectures.

      The Second Law of Thermodynamics says that an isolated system will tend to thermodynamic equilibrium. But Earth’s climate is not isolated, and no other theory substitutes for the 2d Law to give climate any direction.

      Still Earth’s climate exhibits two stable states, the cold, snow-ball state and a warm state much like the modern era. In the cold state, high surface albedo locks Earth into a state where the Sun has little effect. In the warm state, cloud albedo acts to regulate climate around 288K, give or take a few degrees.

  76. Willis Eschenbach

    Joseph O’Sullivan | July 20, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    … The petition, and the science supporting it is here:

    http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/ocean_acidification/pdfs/EPA_OA_petition_2013.pdf

    Owen | July 20, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    The science citations in your second reference again point to the 30% increase in measured hydronium ion since the mid 1700′s. Seems to be a well-accepted value.

    Joseph O’Sullivan | July 20, 2013 at 9:56 pm |

    The Center for Biological Conservation’s petition cites three papers for it.

    Thanks for the reference, Joseph. Let’s look at the petition and see what it says about the papers:

    The ocean’s absorption of anthropogenic CO2 has already resulted in more than a 30% increase in the acidity of ocean surface waters, at a rate likely faster than anything experienced in the past 300 million years, and ocean acidity could increase by 150% to 200% by the end of the century if CO2 emissions continue unabated (Orr et al. 2005; Feely et al. 2009; Hönisch et al. 2012)

    I doubt very much if all three papers mention all three claims. My guess is one is cited for the “30% increase in the acidity”, one for “faster than anything in 300 years”, and one for “could increase by 150 to 200%”.

    Amusingly, and as a measure of the amateur status of this petition, the first reference is listed twice in the list of references, viz:

    Orr, J.C. et al., 2005. Anthropogenic ocean acidification over the twenty-first century and its impact on calcifying organisms. Nature, 437(7059), pp.681–686.
    Orr, James C et al., 2005. Anthropogenic ocean acidification over the twenty-first century and its impact on calcifying organisms. Nature, 437(7059), pp.681–6.

    This is a prospective paper that uses 13 models to determine what will happen in the 21st century … that’s not the source of the “30% increase in acidity” claim.

    Moving to the second citation, Feely et al., it does contain the claim. It says:

    The pH of ocean surface waters has already decreased
    by about 0.1 since the industrial era began (Caldeira and Wickett, 2003, 2005; Orr et al., 2005)

    Now, if that claim is in Orr 2005, I couldn’t find it. That leaves C&W 2003 and 2005. I addressed the Caldeira and Wickett 2003 paper above. It doesn’t contain a scrap of observations to show the 30%. It is nothing but a climate model result. Here’s their description again:

    To investigate the effects of CO2 emissions on ocean pH, we forced the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory ocean general-circulation model (Fig. 1a) with the pressure of atmospheric CO2 (pCO2) observed from 1975 to 2000, and with CO2 emissions from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s IS92a scenario1 for 2000–2100.

    It’s just another of the millions of untested climate model results. That leaves C&W 2005. Off I go again … back soon … OK, here’s C&W 2005:

    Caldeira, K., and M.E. Wickett. 2005. Ocean model
    predictions of chemistry changes from carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere and ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research 110, C09S04, doi:10.1029/2004JC002671.

    That one is here, and as the title says, it’s models all the way down just like the 2003 paper. It cites the 2003 paper, and it just repeats the model result, which is a reduction of 0.09 pH units (Table 1).

    So as I said from the beginning, anyone telling you that they know the change in pH since pre-industrial times is fooling you or fooling themselves. What we have is results from untested, unvalidated, unverified models … and you call that “data”.

    The “30%” or the “0.09 pH units”, in other words, is NOT AN OBSERVATION. It is not measure data, nor is it built on measured data. It is the result of one computer model, run by … well, who knows, with an accuracy of … well, who knows, and an error bar of … …

    Well, nobody knows. Nowhere is there any error estimate on that number. THAT ALONE SHOULD MAKE YOU REJECT IT AS SCIENCE.

    So despite your warm assurances that there are papers cited for the 30% number, in fact you didn’t do your homework and follow the citation chain. At bottom they all depend on Caldeira and Wickett, which are model studies and nothing else. If you believe the results of an unknown model run in an unknown manner with an unknown accuracy and no error estimates, then more fool you … but you can’t convince me that is science.

    All the best, and for both of you guys, as I learned early on (and still occasionally forget), pointing to citations without reading the citations is often not the best plan …

    w.

    • Willis, there are a few stations that measured/calculated pH directly in the oceans over time: Bermuda and Hawaii. The Bermuda plot (BATS station) is here (Fig. 5):

      http://www.biogeosciences.net/9/2509/2012/bg-9-2509-2012.pdf

      It shows a pH drop of 0.04 pH units within the huge seasonal noise over a period of nearly 30 years. That can be directly coupled on CO2 levels in the atmosphere – ocean solubility – buffer (Revelle) factor – CO3– levels – pH. So, it isn’t difficult to backcalculate the pH to what it was before the industrial revolution…

      A similar plot exists for Hawaii, but I haven’t found it yet.

      Not that I think that it has much importance, as you see the huge natural variability of pH at the same spot…

      • Latimer Alder

        FerdiEgb

        ‘It shows a pH drop of 0.04 pH units within the huge seasonal noise over a period of nearly 30 years. That can be directly coupled on CO2 levels in the atmosphere – ocean solubility – buffer (Revelle) factor – CO3– levels – pH. So, it isn’t difficult to backcalculate the pH to what it was before the industrial revolution…’

        And are you so convinced of the strength of each link in this chain of reasoning that there resultant estimate is a. reliable? and b. globally applicable? Did you make any allowance for errors, both individual and cumulative in the steps of the process?

        I’ve got this spare bridge you might be interested in…See how the fine coating of snake oil glistens in the sun…….

    • Joseph O'Sullivan

      Willis Eschenbach, and Owen I made an error when I wrote that the legal petition of the Center for Biological Conservation cited three papers. It cited four. From the petition: “Ocean acidity has increased 30% since the beginning of the industrial revolution, and seawater acidity could increase 150% by century’s end (Feely et al. 2006).”

      Feely et al 2006 is a science brief from the Pew Trust.

      http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/pubs/PDF/feel2899/feel2899.pdf

      The Authors cite three papers for the conclusions in it:
      “This brief is adapted largely from Feely et al. (2004), Sabine et al. (2004), and Orr et al. (2005).

      Feely, R.A.,C.L. Sabine, K. Lee, W. Berelson, J. Kleypas, V.J. Fabry,and F.J. Millero (2004): Impact of anthropogenic CO2on the CaCO3 system in the oceans. Science, 305(5682), 362-366.

      Sabine, C.L., R.A. Feely, N. Gruber, R.M., Key, K. Lee, J.L. Bullister, R. Wanninkhof, C.S. Wong, D.W.R. Wallace, B. Tilbrook, F.J. Millero, T.H. Peng, A. Kozyr, T. Ono, and A.F. Rios (2004): The oceanic sink for anthropogenic CO2. Science, 305(5682), 367-371.

      Orr, James C., Victoria J. Fabry, Olivier Aumont, et al. (2005): Anthropogenic ocean acidification over the twenty-first century and its impact on calcifying organisms. Nature, 437, 681-686 “

  77. William Connolley has now weighed definitively in with the ‘truth’ about ocean acidification, or at least the process of arriving at the truth, and it isn’t by open discussion.
    ===============

    • I have indeed. But you’re wrong. The truth will be arrived at by “open” discussion. But open means “visible to all” – in the scientific press. It doesn’t mean “open to all to comment” because this post, and the replies to it, are a prime example of what happens when you open discussion to a pile of ignorant bozos – you get mess, not knowledge [my apologies to the one ror two people here who do know what they’re talking about; I don’t include them in my contempt, of course].

      • Why do you act is if you are the only one who can do the literature search and arrive at the truth?

        Are your manipulations of Wikipedia visible to all?
        ==================

  78. Judy, I’m surprised that there is no reference to Hoffmann et al; High-Frequency Dynamics of Ocean pH: A Multi-Ecosystem Comparison.

    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi/10.1371/journal.pone.0028983

    for instance: “These biome-specific pH signatures disclose current levels of exposure to both high and low dissolved CO2, often demonstrating that resident organisms are already experiencing pH regimes that are not predicted until 2100.”

  79. This thread is very very stupid indeed. I’ve carefully explained why at http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2013/07/21/currys-wide-sargasso-sea-of-stupidity/

    • Heh, such evidence. Arrogant delusions of grandeur.
      =============

      • Currently, there are 533 comments on this blog. I know you would love this kind of traffic, Connolley, but coming on here and begging for some recognition is a little bit sad.
        PS Swearing isn`t big, and it isn`t clever. Grow up!

    • ‘Listen serfs, we will tell yer what yer need ter know.’

      • If you want to know what has happened to ocean acidity, yes, you’ll need to read the literature (our hostesses proposed method of a social-science type textual comparison to determine the number of times uncertainty is mentioned is so obviously doomed to fail that I’m unable to understand how anyone could take it seriously). Or you might try to find a competent blog that discusses the issue (http://onymousguy.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/guest-post-by-chem-prof.html by “Chem Prof” is fairly useful; at least it clears away our hostesses confusion about H+ and pH and 30%).

        But there are far too many lazy ignorant people here under the impression that random chatter on this blog will lead to enlightenment; or that somehow what you’re doing constitutes “doing science”. Observably, it hasn’t, and isn’t.

      • Your unconscious undid you, William, when you admitted on your blog that you no longer do science.
        ===================

      • Matthew R Marler

        William Connolley: (http://onymousguy.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/guest-post-by-chem-prof.html by “Chem Prof” is fairly useful; at least it clears away our hostesses confusion about H+ and pH and 30%).

        Well, it does go on and on about H+, pH and 30%. So there’s that. It hardly shows any evidence respecting change or causes of change at any particular site.

      • This former knuckle dragger now feels formally chastized by the oh so vastly more intelligent Mr Connolley. No wonder he uses a penis as an avatar.

    • Slow news day over at stoat then?
      Otherwise why are you wasting your valuable time here?

    • Don’t you love the way he taunts people to comment, then moderates the comments. And Tom Fuller is ‘dahling’.

      Highly amusing to hear William Connelley, Wikipedia Invisiblizer, speaking of ‘visible to all’.
      ==========

    • The pH off the coast of Oregon doesn’t appear to be unusually low compared to the rest of the world

      http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/pi/CO2/carbondioxide/global_ph_maps/ph_maps.html

      Obviously oyster production must be taking some serious damage due to acidification?

      Misdiagnosis seems to be the logical answer.

    • William Commolley

      When you write comments such as in regards to a change in pH from 8.25 to 8.14– “However, since we’re actually certain of this particular factoid, expressions of uncertainty would be wrong.” . How can you expect anything you write of say to be taken seriously?

      • He’s quite crazed with authority. One wonders what would have become of him without Wikipedia.

        We’ve seen a parade over the last couple of weeks of desperate alarmists shrilly shrieking the authority of the ‘consensus’ and all apparently oblivious to the spectacle of mania and close-mindedness they display.
        ===================

      • Rob Starkey +1000. It is my understanding that the figures 8.25 and 8.14 apply only to a small part of the ocean, over a small period of time. Whether they are indicative of what is happening all over the world’s oceans is open to question.

    • William, thanks for stopping by and providing some entertainment.

    • Steven Mosher

      err did you get around to Nic lewis paper?

    • Matthew R Marler

      On that thread, William Connolley wrote: But the last (and to me worst) part of all this is that JC is just spraying disinformation around.

      Yet without citing any actual “disinformation” that Professor Curry has [sprayed]. Prof Curry started a discussion in which numerous people posted links to reports, and others read those links. All you have provided is a baseless insult.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Matthew R Marler, I submitted this comment to his site:

        Do you really think accusing Judith Curry of “spraying disinformation around” is wise? How many people do you think will actually believe you when you accuse her of dishonesty like that? I mean, if you had said “misinformation” maybe some people would listen, but only the most biased of people are going to believe Curry is intentionally trying to deceive people.

        It’ll be interesting to see if he lets it go through and if he responds to it.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        He let it through and responded:

        [Wise? No. Satisfying? Yes. True? Certainly.

        I’m not writing propaganda -W]

        William M. Connolley has now made it perfectly clear he is accusing Judith Curry of being a liar.

        I can’t help but be reminded of the incident with Richard Tol.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        That brings back memories. Richard Tol completely made things up about what detrended fluctuation analysis is and used that to accuse Judith Curry of spreading disinformation. And somehow he didn’t get laughed out of the room.

        Incidentally, that sort of behavior seems to be common for for Tol. He did something just as silly in response to the Cook et al paper. I don’t get how nobody calls him on these things.

      • From Bart V’s post:

        Judith defended herself in a post where she tries to shift the blame to the mainstream scientists:

        Here is a quiz for you. How many of these disinformation tactics [a list containing a mix of logical fallacies and avoidance tactics] are used by:

        JC (moi)
        Public spokespersons for the IPCC
        Joe Romm
        Marc Morano

        If that’s not a dog-whistle I don’t know what is.

        A tu quoque, Bart V.

        Sorry for the late reply.

        ***

        Bart V links to this other interesting post down the memory lane at Keith’s:

        Next, Curry invited Tol to submit a detailed critique of the two papers that she had highlighted. He obliged.

        http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2011/11/09/is-judith-curry-peddling-disinformation

        Here’s where Richard obliged:

        Having removed the trend from their data, LLE cannot answer the question: What caused the warming? They eliminated from their analysis the very thing in which they are interested.

        http://judithcurry.com/2011/11/08/tols-critique-of-the-ludecke-et-al-papers/

        Now, what were the things did Richard made up, again?

      • Matthew R Marler

        willard(@nevaudit): Now, what were the things did Richard made up, again?

        Richard Tol completely failed to distinguish between testing a hypothesis (which Ludecke et al did) and estimating an effect (which Ludecke et al did not do.)

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Matthew R Marler, Tol completely misrepresented detrended fluctuation analysis, the primary statistical methodology used by the authors. He used the fact the name has “detrended” in it to claim the authors tested for a trend on a detrended series even though any examination of DFA would show that is wrong.

        He did other things as well, but that was the primary problem. He made things up about a statistical methodology, and he used that to accuse our hostess of posting disinformation. And when repeatefly challenged on what he did, he failed to address his critic(s) in any meaningful way.

        A similar thing happened recently with thr Cook et al paper. And despite being a (or perhaps the most) harsh critic of that paper, I was again the only person who called his nonsense what it was. That worries me a bit. I think when people rely purely upon hand-waving misrepresentations to make an argument, everyone should acknowledge the problem.

      • I can understand willard missing the scientific clues, oh how well I understand; what I fail to understand is why he misses the rhetorical clues from those sites in which he misplaces his faith. He’s supposed to be a critic.
        =======================

      • > Richard Tol completely failed to distinguish between testing a hypothesis (which Ludecke et al did) and estimating an effect (which Ludecke et al did not do.)

        Thanks, MattStat. That made me read the thread, which I missed at first. I’m almost done reading it. Besides you and Richard, I appreciated the comments from WebHubTelescope, PaulM, Fred Moolten, and Spence_UK, among others. But the comment that won the thread was from JCH:

        It’s like I walked into a biker bar to find the bikers doing a bar fight lip-sync style. They look tough. They talk, well, prissy. They never land a punch.

        Walked back outside and the sign says:

        The Growling Poodle:
        where statistician bikers meet

        http://judithcurry.com/2011/11/08/tols-critique-of-the-ludecke-et-al-papers/#comment-135940

        ***

        BTW, have you read Brandon’s “simple” explanation of the technical details? Perhaps it was not useful enough.

        Oh, wait. It does seem that you read it.

        http://judithcurry.com/2011/11/08/tols-critique-of-the-ludecke-et-al-papers/#comment-136079

        ***

        Anyway. I think your “this is the skeptical position” deserves a response. Will report later.

  80. That would be the same Woods Hole Institute that thought the gulf stream would shift and cause massive cooling. An event that could only happen according to Carl Wunsch “if the planet stopped spinning”.

  81. Anyone want to take a guess as to the precision and accuracy of ocean pH measurements?

    • A better question is what is the accuracy of the paleo reconstructions they are being compared with?

      • Nope, not a Squirrel. When current pH estimates are compared with much more coarse paleo estimates to “prove” a point, it is a valid argument.

        The oyster die off at two hatcheries on Tillamook Bay made the Global Warming “acidification” headlines while the deep ocean upwelling associated with the PDO barely made the fine print. Coral bleaching due to ACO2 makes the headlines while the shift in Saharan dust gets lost in the noise.

        I think AGW is more the squirrel.

      • Fess it, Cap’n: Eli says “proxy”, you hear “Mike”.

      • Eli doesn’t say proxy and willard hears squirrels chattering in his attic.
        =================

      • Willard, “Fess it, Cap’n: Eli says “proxy”, you hear “Mike”.” or Marcott. The fact of the matter is that paleo is a useful tool but limited. Paleo ocean especially since most of the critters like a temperature range that they can adjust by moving a few meters up or down. That makes “surface’ kind of difficult to determine. Then they tend to drift with currents that change making the where also difficult to determine. Since there is a warm bias, the critters like to survive, the averaging of a large number of proxies just produces nonsense if not properly modeled.

        Here is one example. http://www.clim-past.net/9/1375/2013/cp-9-1375-2013.html

        You should also be aware of the paleo divergence problems in other proxies like say treerings?

      • A better question would be: what does “a better question would be” does?

      • A better question
        Would be: What does ‘a better
        Question would be’ do?

        Fixed it for ya’, much better.
        ============

    • You would need to define a timeframe and a location to get a reasonably accurate answer.

    • Steve,
      Perhaps I can explain how I evaluate a paper and come to the conclusion that it has credibility.

      My method is different from yours and there more than one way to skin a cat, so I am not going to argue that my method is superior to yours. In this case, I have some familiarity with the subject maybe less than yours, but when evaluating a paper peer reviewed or not, these are some of the things I do.

      First I scan the paper, a quick review, if it has an abstract I’ll read that. I need at this point to identify the thesis of the paper. Then I will look for other papers that discuss the same issue to see if I can independently confirm that there is other research in the area and see what that research says.
      Then I would read the paper more carefully and follow some of the cites to see if they support the thesis or not.
      When a paper is written for a specific audience, I can take that into account, rather than waving flags.
      References are usually in alphabetical order, so the first cite is not necessarily the most important. Finding the most important one may involve some work, but hey if you are going to judge a paper, you need to do the homework.
      Whether a person’s organization endorses his work or not isn’t that important, I don’t give any credence to whether the Swiss patent office endorsed a certain series of papers last century, should I?

      And it is testimony to congess, there is a serious downside for Doney if he is lying.

      I find independent support for Doney’s testimony so I find him credible.

      • Steven Mosher

        Bob.

        “First I scan the paper, a quick review, if it has an abstract I’ll read that. I need at this point to identify the thesis of the paper. Then I will look for other papers that discuss the same issue to see if I can independently confirm that there is other research in the area and see what that research says.”

        1. Doney’s testimony has no abstract. so I failed to see the point of this.

        “Then I would read the paper more carefully and follow some of the cites to see if they support the thesis or not.”

        A) agreed. Checking that they cite accurately is a good check.
        when they fail to cite something that I think should be cited,
        that wrinkles my brow. I know reviewers who demand all sorts
        of additional cites to things that are well known. So, since
        its been demanded of me i find it reasonable to demand it of others.

        “When a paper is written for a specific audience, I can take that into account, rather than waving flags.”

        A) fair enough. I look at it this way. I’m reading a survey of literature
        for the past 20 years. I start to check the references. He’s a
        good summarizer. At some point I decide that I can rely on his
        work and I cite the secondary source. I would never cite Doney’s
        testimony as a source. Its that simple. Its not a question of my
        personal belief in his credibility. would I use his work is the
        operative question. The answer is yes, I would use his bibliography.

        “References are usually in alphabetical order, so the first cite is not necessarily the most important. Finding the most important one may involve some work, but hey if you are going to judge a paper, you need to do the homework.”

        A) here is what I read. I read “it is well documented…” I expected
        the see a list of cites after that sentence. I didnt. To me that
        indicates Im better off using this paper for its bibliography. Look,
        If he has summarized the science accuarately I’ll come to the same conclsuions and tthe ONLY DOWNSIDE
        of my approach is that I HAVE TO DO MORE WORK. If you swallow him hook line and sinker and build on his work and he hasnt summarized accuarately, you do less work but you perpetuate mistakes. This is not an issue that I think either one of us can be wrong about.

        “Whether a person’s organization endorses his work or not isn’t that important, I don’t give any credence to whether the Swiss patent office endorsed a certain series of papers last century, should I?”

        The endorsement would imply that it had been reviewed. The lack of endorsement implies no official review. Its more the lack of review than anything else. Now, if the head of the EPA came out and testified that C02 was not a pollutant, and his testimony did not go through a standard agency review, what would you say? You know what the skeptics would do.. they would say “head of EPA denies C02 is a pollutant” and we would say ‘ stop right there buddy, he wasnt speaking for the government.”

        “And it is testimony to congess, there is a serious downside for Doney if he is lying.”

        Huh? that logic applies to christy, spencer, lindzen, lomborg et all.
        You just created a criteria that gives credibility to skeptics.

        “I find independent support for Doney’s testimony so I find him credible.”

        From what I see Judith tried to judge from the document itself. And concluded that she would have to go to primary literature.. which is…
        Seeking independent support. So, you sought independent support and found it. She concluded from the document qua document that it did not stand on its own.. she concluded that she would have to seek independent verification. The difficulty comes in her classification of the document as “not credible” In my mind that doesnt mean
        ‘wrong” it means quite literally, “i’ll have to check it”

        In the end if she goes to the primary literature, everybody will be happy. except doney who was compared to idso. boo hoo.

    • Guess first, look up later,

      I guess the precision and accuracy are both less than 0.01 pH units.

      Hopefully they are using better than a Symphony pH meter.

      I’ll look it up and report later

    • Steven Mosher

      sounds like your suggesting an audit of all the code and data. Cool.
      I’m suddenly interested. Hope they saved their code. I’d hate to FOIA them.

    • Steven Mosher

      3 minutes of digging into their methods

      ‘Certified seawater CO2 reference materials (Dickson 2001) were used to validate DIC and TA
      calibrations. The spectrophotometric m-cresol purple method was used for direct pH
      measurements at 25 °C (Clayton & Byrne 1993). It has been suggested that the absolute
      calibration of the m-cresol purple pH method may be slightly biased such that a +0.0047
      correction to measured pH values is necessary (DelValls & Dickson 1998); we did NOT apply
      this correction factor to our pH measurements.”

      Looks like digging into the data and methods may be fun.

      • I think we were looking at the same page.

        Looks like Eli is suggesting fun and science, at the same time, I knew there was a problem with getting a degree from the University of Illinois.

    • “Anyone want to take a guess as to the precision and accuracy of ocean pH measurements?”

      According to one rabid commenter above, “science” knows the change in the level of pH to two decimal places.

      “Then we need to clear away some confusion: a change in pH from 8.25 to 8.14, which is what has happened, is indeed a change in H+ [*] ion concentration by ~30%.”

      Of course, neither he nor you defines “ocean.” He presumably is referencing average global sea water pH levels, otherwise how is it relevant to climate? But your use of the term could refer to merely current individual measurements of individual locations.

      I also assume his comment refers to paleo proxies as well, though your ambiguous question…begs the question on that issue.

      Perhaps either of you could take a guess as to the precision and accuracy of the current claims of preindustrial ocean pH levels?

      • If you are referring to me as the rabid commenter, can you read, I said I was making a guess.

        Why don’t you post some cites?

        The paleo proxies for ocesn pH look like will take a bit longer to dig up cites.

      • Bob Droege,

        No, I was not referring to you.

        I used the word rabid advisedly, to describe the foaming at the mouth, psychotic break style of commenting practiced by some.

        Here is where I got the quote, linked to by the erstwhile Wizard of Wiki himself above:

        http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2013/07/21/currys-wide-sargasso-sea-of-stupidity/

      • David Springer

        Actual experment finds food chain primary producers increase 15-19% in mid-Atlantic when dissolved CO2 raised to anticipated level of 100-200 years from now. CO2 is plant food in the ocean too. Plants are animal food.

        What’s the estimated economic benefit from greater biological productivity concomitant with rising CO2?

        Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

        http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v388/n6642/abs/388526b0.html

        Nature 388, 526-527 (7 August 1997) |

        CO2 increases oceanic primary production

        Mette Hein and Kaj Sand-Jensen

        The regulation of oceanic primary production of biomass is important in the global carbon cycle because it constitutes 40% of total primary production on Earth1. Here we present results from short-term experiments in the nutrient-poor central Atlantic Ocean. We find a small but significant stimulation of primary production (15-19%) in response to elevated CO2 concentrations that simulate the CO2 rise in surface waters that will occur over the next 100-200 years.

    • Precision without accuracy means nothing.

  82. Ask Steven Mosher.

  83. Pingback: Stoat – unhinged | Watts Up With That?

  84. Judith

    here is a live web cast for the;

    2nd International Workshop to Develop an Ocean Acidification Observing Network of Ship Surveys, Moorings, Floats and Gliders

    St. Andrews, Scotland, UK
    July 24 – 26, 2013

    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/GOA_ON/2013/Workshop2013Webcast.html

    Can I suggest that the occasional visit here over the next few days might help to improve the knowledge of denizens? I appreciate that certain visitors already seem to think they are so full of knowledge on the subject that they will burst if they take on board any more.

    tonyb

    • tonyb,

      When I read claims like the one I quoted above, “Then we need to clear away some confusion: a change in pH from 8.25 to 8.14, which is what has happened…,” I must confess that I don’t feel the need to investigate the claim to know it’s garbage.

      Probably the most talked about, and measured aspect to climate is “global average temperature.” And the more they talk about it, the more clear it becomes that their modeled trends are nothing like global, average or temperature.

      I also don’t need to read underlying papers to know intentional ambiguity when I see it. In my day to day work, I have had to both prepare, and cross examine, experts in any number of fields. There is a pattern to their speech when they are trying to imply greater knowledge than they actually have. And the climate “science” literature and commentary are full of it.

      I have no idea what the average pH level of the oceans together is. I doubt that anyone does, but so far, no one has posted anything to suggest they have a genuine basis for thinking they do. And I will be astounded if there is anything approaching a realistic assessment of pre-industrial pH, on a global scale. One reason is, if there were such research, we would have heard about it long before now. It certainly would have been referenced ion the various threads that are ongoing now.

      I looked at a couple briefly, and I find the same modeling and proxy references that make GAT a virtually meaningless term in my opinion.

      I will repeat a comment I made earlier though. If “we” knew the ocean pH with anything like the precision and accuracy claimed, we wouldn’t need a shiny new, expensive, government run “global ocean acidification observing network.” (Logic applies to science, whether the scientists like it or not.)

      • Gary

        You said;

        ‘And I will be astounded if there is anything approaching a realistic assessment of pre-industrial pH, on a global scale.’

        Our knowledge is even less than historic SST’s which is saying something.

        As I think you said earlier when I first posted a link to the workshop, if we already knew everything we wouldn’t need to set up international monitoring would we?
        tonyb

  85. Chief Hydrologist

    ‘July 22, 2008 — Scientists say they have found a workable way of reducing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere by adding lime to seawater. And they think it has the potential to dramatically reverse CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere, reports Cath O’Driscoll in SCI’s Chemistry & Industry magazine.’

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080721001742.htm

    ‘Calcium occurs in water naturally. Seawater contains approximately 400 ppm calcium. One of the main reasons for the abundance of calcium in water is its natural occurrence in the earth’s crust. Calcium is also a constituent of coral. Rivers generally contain 1-2 ppm calcium, but in lime areas rivers may contains calcium concentrations as high as 100 ppm.

    Examples of calcium concentrations in water organisms: seaweed luctuca 800-6500 ppm (moist mass), oysters approximately 1500 ppm (dry mass).
    In a watery solution calcium is mainly present as Ca2+ (aq), but it may also occur as CaOH+ (aq) or Ca(OH)2 (aq), or as CaSO4 in seawater.

    Calcium is an important determinant of water harness, and it also functions as a pH stabilizer, because of its buffering qualities. Calcium also gives water a better taste.
    Read more: http://www.lenntech.com/periodic/water/calcium/calcium-and-water.htm#ixzz2ZnyaeRBD

    ‘Calcium is the fifth most abundant element in seawater with a nearly conservative distribution. High precision measurements made by Horibe et al. (1974) demonstrated a slight surface depletion in the Pacific that is produced by uptake of calcium and incorporation into CaCO3 shells that sink from the surface layer. More recently, high precision measurements of calcium by isotope dilution mass spectrometry (de Villiers, 1998) have also suggested a maximum concentration near 2500 m depth, coincident with the depth of the mid-ocean ridge crest (data). These results suggest a calcium source from low temperature hydrothermal sources.’

    http://www.mbari.org/chemsensor/ca/calcium.html

    Shell – in microstructures – is dissolved as it sinks recycling calcium to maintain super-saturation in surface water. The pelagic ecology is extremely efficient at recycling nutrients.

    ‘Until very recently, our concept of how the upper ocean works was driven largely by studies of the physics and chemistry. Even the models used to describe how phytoplankton production is sustained were driven by relatively simple concepts relying on mechanistic relationships between the algae, water chemistry and physics, and the light environment…

    For almost a century, krill have been known to undertake regular migrations within the top 200 m of water. Recently, however, scientists have discovered that krill can exploit food supplies through the entire water column. Underwater footage has shown krill near the seafloor at 3500 m, apparently feeding on sedimentary material originating from the surface. Increasingly, footage is appearing of krill at depths previously thought well below their acknowledged habitat of less than 200 m. This makes them a potentially important biological route for bringing nutrients from the sediments back into the surface layer. Of course the process may also work in reverse, with animals feeding at the surface and defecating at depth….

    The concepts laid out here are merely the beginning of a new way of viewing the role of animals in pelagic marine systems. Quantification of these effects is the next step and the modelling of the combined effects of turbulence, nutrient recycling in the surface layer and the effects of nutrient scavenging from deep water is already under way. Such models can be used to confirm whether the sum of these effects can have a cumulative positive outcome on marine productivity. If these ideas hold water then it will be necessary to revisit long-cherished concepts in marine ecology that suggest that removal of higher order predators would have a beneficial effect on ecosystem productivity. Instead, intact ecosystems could be viewed as finely tuned production systems with intricate feedback loops that serve to maintain that productivity. We would have to be much more careful about choosing the organisms we exploit within these systems, given that the effects of exploitation are unlikely to be simple.’

    http://www.antarctica.gov.au/about-us/publications/australian-antarctic-magazine/2011-2015/issue-21-2011/antarctic-science/oceans-need-big-animals

    Another long and rambling comment I am afraid. Ocean acidification seems to be another of those simplistic ideas crying out for a dispassionate analysis of evidence for, evidence against and the chasm of uncertainty between.

  86. If by lime you mean CaO, then sorry, you get it from limestone by

    CaCO3 + heat → CaO + CO2.

    which means not only are you generating CO2 directly, you are most likely adding more emissions to generate the needed heat. Looks like a lose lose.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      They meant slaked lime I believe – calcium hydroxide. ‘The process of making lime generates CO2, but adding the lime to seawater absorbs almost twice as much CO2. The overall process is therefore ‘carbon negative’.’ The heat source was discussed in the article.

      But on my part it was really just an example of what happens chemically when lime is added to seawater. The sources of lime already in the ocean environment is in the millions of billions of tons – some of which is readily available to maintain calcium levels at the surface despite ongoing losses. All those little krill working for us.

      Tell me that homeostasis isn’t the preferred mode and that there are not processes that resist depletion of calcium carbonate polymorphs super-saturation in pelagic waters.

    • Wabbit, from what I have read the only difference between calcite and aragonite is the lattice structure. Aroganite dissolves at a higher pH and Calcite at a lower pH. That would kinda limit the pH range. Then there are other factors that favor the precipitation of one over the other, like presence of iron. I don’t think the heat requirement is a limiting factor, more like surface area and lattice structure.

      Not being a card carrying chemistry expert I suppose I should provide some reference for what should be obvious. http://www.gly.uga.edu/railsback/Fundamentals/CaCO3factors.pdf

    • If you’re talking about geoengineering, don’t forget that the CO2 from the limestone burning process can be essentially pure, which means little expense in capturing and sequestering it. (Relative to pulling it out of air-fired stack gasses, anyway.)

      Not only that, but concentrated solar power can be used directly for this, without converting it to electricity. (Of course, an R&D process would have to take place first. But the savings might well pay for themselves, once the process reached maturity.)

  87. Chief Hydrologist

    Ca(OH)2 + 2CO2 –> Ca(HCO3)3

    Or so they say.

    http://www.cquestrate.com/the-idea/slideshow-presentation

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Whoops – doesn’t add up.

      Ca(OH)2 + 2CO2 –> Ca(HCO3)2

      • Calcium bicarbonate is a soluble salt and exists as Ca2+ ion and bicarbonate ion. That reaction does not remove CO2 from the ocean water. Forming insoluble CaCO3 does remove it from the sea water.

      • Put another way, there’s no gain in calcining. CaCO3 takes up 1 CO2 (->2HCO3-); CaO gives off 1 in making and then takes up 2.

      • The argument presented in their detailed description is built upon the assumption of undersaturation of CaCO3 as far as I can understand from the few sentences. As long as all carbon is dissolved adding Ca(OH)2 has a larger effect as most of carbon goes into bicarbonate.

  88. Chief Hydrologist

    ‘The addition of calcium oxide to seawater leads to the sequestration of carbon dioxide, by enhancing the capacity of the oceans to act as a carbon sink. It does this by shifting the series of equilibria (below) to the right, thereby increasing the capacity of seawater to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and by decreasing the propensity for seawater to desorb carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.’

    It is not an idea I endorse. Would we for instance change the Mg/Ca ratio triggering shifts to a calcite rather than the modern aragonite state of the oceans?

    http://iod.ucsd.edu/courses/sio278/documents/stanley_06_paleo_chem_biomin_paleoecol.pdf

    But arguing with me about it – especially without understanding the nature of the proposal – is not seeing the wood for trees. What I was suggesting was that there are lots of sources of calcium already there. Certainly less spectacular than reacting calcium hydroxide with carbon dioxide – krill at 3500 metres – but nonetheless.

    • Where you gonna get the CaO from Chief? Think about the emissions and energy used in that process

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Hard to know where to begin Eli. I was using it as an example of lime chemistry in seawater – not as a proposal for geoengineering.

        Read my lips – there is plenty of calcium carbonate in the oceans, dissolving calcium carbonate – i.e.

        CaCO3 + 2HCl → CaCl2 + CO2 + H2O – as the perhaps the primary reaction – increases pH and dissolution of calcium carbonate is far more likely to effect dead critters than live ones with all their protective mechanisms for naturally variable environments.

        I guess I have to write shorter comments with no science. I will be just like you then.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Oh no – that’s right – I need to be patronizing and snarky as well.

  89. There is a nice 3d chart in this paper showing the solubility of CaCO3 vs temp and pressure. Highest solubility at high pressure and low temp. This may mean deep ocean water will have a high concentration of it and dump it on the way up in upwelling regions of the ocean. Of course, there is a lot more to the ocean than these three things, so take it with a grain of salt.

    http://eciencia.urjc.es/bitstream/10115/6052/1/REPOSITORIO%20ANGEL.pdf

  90. Regarding the semantics of acidification, I am neither a chemist nor a scientist of any kind, but I understand ‘acidify’ to mean ‘make less alkaline’. It doesn’t matter where on the spectrum the process is currently residing (eg, 7+), it is acidification if the property is becoming less alkaline.

    It’s happening in the oceans and ongoing, so acidification is correct, to my layman’s mind. I don’t know of any other term (except the cumbersome phrase, “becoming less alkaline”) that woud express it as succinctly. I have no illusions about taking an acid bath in the ocean any time in the near future, or that the ocean will one day burn my skin. I imagine most people, like me, are not so daft, so these calls about ‘scaring’ Joe Public, of which I would be a card-carrying member, are off-base to my mind.

    • Hector Pascal

      “Acidify” means make more acid. Making less alkaline (or less acid fwiw) is neutralise. Acidification is not correct.

      Within a couple of hours drive from my home are many rotenburos. One is a stream flowing off an active volcano where people (including me) bathe in the hot water. pH is 1.46. Splashes in the eyes sting a little. After 30 minutes or so, skin starts to feel a little waxy. It’s great for treating annoying little skin infections though. :)

      • Do you object to the expression going south while in Northern hemisphere or warming a cold house in winter when the temperature is below zero?

        Why is acidifying any different?

        This debate is totally ridiculous. Language is defined by the actual usage. When many enough people use the word acidification for reduction of pH of ocean water, the word has this meaning.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        Pekka, it has this meaning for some people, but not others. Those who use it a knowing way, understand that it doesn’t signify pH value less than 7.
        People who do not use it in that way may think it means below 7, which is more alarming. Another 30% drop would be fatal.

        So is the message sent by those who use it in the sophisticated way, knowing many people do not understand their usage of the word, carefully couched in language up , saying that it does not mean pH less than 7?

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        The analogy with houses higher up in northern hemisphere shows that everyone understands what going south means, wherever you are.
        That’s the difference.

      • Do you really believe that the views of many people are dependent on the choice of words.

        For a scientist “acidify” is the most natural short expression. “Neutralize” has a very different meaning as “neutral” represents a single point, while acidity is a variable whose value can always be increased or decreased.

        Furthermore the word “neutralize” has such connotations that it would certainly be strongly opposed if it had been chosen in spite of it’s unsuitability.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        Catching a bus marked 10th Street East Westbound is also a little task that trips people up, but they learn what they did wrong, soon.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        I think the majority of people do not understand it, even the majority of those who think from high school memories, what pH stands for. To them it’s an acid/base measure.

        To think “acidify more”, even for them, I’d say, begins to somehow implicitly mean below 7. Some will and some won’t. You can see quite a few do, even when understanding the explanations, the impression is that it means below 7.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        edit: should have used “becoming more acid”. That sounds like below 7.

      • Face it Hector: you are wrong and you need to accept it.

      • Fershure. The pH is 1.47.
        ===============

    • “People who do not use it in that way may think it means below 7, which is more alarming. Another 30% drop would be fatal.”

      Perhaps you or anyone else can supply a link to such an apprehension. There are 4 billion pages on the intertubes, so a good chance someone has seriously commented thus. Otherwise, maybe you’re not giving Joe Public enough credit.

      I think the basis for this criticism is imaginary.

  91. I thought you might be a card carrying member Bart_R. That won’t scare Joe Public. So, no worries.

  92. If the upwelling on the Pacific coast in 2012 brought up water that is 30-50 years old, then it is very doubtful that the low pH is due to ACO2. More likely, it is natural decomposition of organic matter in the deeper ocean.

  93. Here is a paper from the late ’60s, based on the cites, that shows the pH has always been lower in deeper waters. It is due to biological activity. Deeper waters haven’t been exposed to ACO3 for very long so one wouldn’t expect it to move the pH of the buffered water very much.

    aslo.org/lo/toc/vol_13/issue_4/0688.pdf

  94. Allchemistry

    A 30% increase in H+ concentration may sound impressive but we are dealing here with very low concentrations. In this case it corresponds to an absolute increase in H+ concentration of approx. 2×10(-8) M (5×10(-8) M –> 7×10(-8) M). Another thing is that an increase in concentration of dissolved [CO2] will cause an increase in [HCO3-]. HCO3- (not CO3–) is the ion that is used by coral polyps during the formation of their CaCO3 skeleton.

  95. Problem is to guess how much this change (30%) could influence ecosystem. I would use the same quick, back of the enveloppe, assessment as I would for projected temperature:
    1) how much does pH vary in time, at frequencies higher than the feared trend? To take possible seasonal adaptation or lifecycle effects, the best way is to check the variance of the smoothed time history, smoothed with a moving average on a typical lifetime for the ecosystem (10 years seems fine).
    2) how much does this smoothed pH vary geographically (check in the biggest region containing the ecosystem of interest)
    Take the max of those variances, this gives an acceptable level under which the ecosystem has proved to be robust. If the projected variation is below this threshold, move along, nothing to see. If above, more research is needed and start funding PhD ;-)
    I did not check this formally, but I am not sure so many ecosystems are really under threat for climate change either using this quick rule…

    • wrt the oceans, the issue is not so much the pH but CaCO3 saturation. If this is not saturated, not only will many sea creatures have trouble forming shells, but many shells will dissolve. This is bad, not only for the animals but for the export of CO2 into the deep oceans.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        An acid/base reaction in seawater

        CaCO3 + 2HCl → CaCl2 + CO2 + H2O – as the perhaps the primary reaction.

        The CO2 I assume goes back into the atmosphere. Why you get bubbles when reacting an acid with an alkali in cake.

        You presume this reaction continues until there is no more acid or no more base. It is one way – the acid stalks around until it eats a base.

        There is a great mass of calcium carbonate lost to the seafloor.

        ‘Calcareous ooze is ooze that is composed of at least 30% of the calcareous microscopic shells—also known as tests—of foraminifera, coccolithophores, and pteropods. This is the most common pelagic sediment by area, covering 48% of the world ocean’s floor. This type of ooze accumulates on the ocean floor at depths above the carbonate compensation depth. It accumulates more rapidly than any other pelagic sediment type, with a rate that varies from 0.3 – 5 cm / 1000 yr.’ Wikipedia

        Some 20% to 80% of those losses are dissolved and recycled in surface water before the rest sinks out of sight.

        It seems far more likely that calcium carbonate sinks will diminish before the mechanisms that maintain carbonate super-saturation in surface waters falter. Perhaps there are mechanisms as well for bringing the calcareous ooze back to the surface. There is an article I linked to above that posits a role for larger critters in ocean nutrient dynamics.

  96. Allchemistry

    A back of the envelope calculation:
    – Solubility product of CaCO3 (aragonite ): 6*10(-9) M(2).
    – [Ca++] in seawater: approx 10(-2) M.
    – Preindustrial [CO3–] in seawater: approx 2*10(-4) M;
    For the sake of the argument lets assume value of 10(-4) M.
    –> [Ca++]*[CO3–] = 10(-6) M >>> 6*10(-9).
    So for the next years to come spontaneous chemical dissolution of preformed CaCO3 under the current “acidic” conditions is not to be expected. Since CO3– is not directly involved in CaCO3 deposition by corals etc, an effect on the the deposition rate of CaCO3 deposition is neither expected.
    With biological processes, however, there are a lot of unknowns that may screw up nice and tidy theoretical calculations. So let’s do experiments instead of arguing about how many angels can dance on a pin.

    • “Since CO3– is not directly involved in CaCO3 deposition by corals etc, an effect on the the deposition rate of CaCO3 deposition is neither expected.”

      I find it hard to believe that the deposition process is not favored by increased [CO3–]. But in any case, once formed, the structure is exposed to sea water, and unsaturated [Ca++][CO3–] will corrode it. And while on average there may be supersaturation, it has to be maintained all the time. If CaCO3 is ever dissolved, it won’t re-form in the same place.

      • Allchemistry

        “I find it hard to believe that the deposition process is not favored by increased [CO3–]”

        The sophisticated level on which biochemical machineries operate is indeed hard to believe, but coral biomineralization is not a simple precipitation reaction. In a number studies it has been shown that e.g. corals build their skeleton by continuously pumping Ca++ and HCO3- into a mineralization zone. No direct involvement of CO3–:
        Ca++ + HCO3- –> CaCO3 + H+.
        Pumping of these ions is an energy-requiring process, driven by ATP, so the system is not in thermodynamic equilibrium.
        H+ ions that are released in this process are pumped away, which drives the reaction to formation of CaCO3.

        “unsaturated [Ca++][CO3–] will corrode it.”.

        Yes, but at present we are far from undersaturation. It is calculated that dissolution starts when pH drops to 7,4 (a 500% increase in acidity ). It is important to note, however, that this is a theoretical calculation that applies to the dissolution of an inorganic CaCO3 salt. Below pH=7.4, the [CO3–] will be so much decreased, that the rate of the dissociation reaction (CaCO3 –> Ca++ + CO3–) exceeds that of the association reaction (Ca++ + CO3– –> CaCO3), and CaCO3 starts to dissolve.
        For the coral biomineral the situation is different:
        – the deposition of the mineral involves HCO3- not CO3–.
        – the mineral is laid down in an organic matrix which stabilizes it and slows down diffusion of ions.
        It is difficult to make a prediction about the critical pH of the coral mineral (after all, we are dealing with a biological system), but everything else being equal I would guess that it will dissolve at a lower pH than the inorganic CaCO3 salt.
        I repeat: theoretical arguments will not resolve the dissolution-discussion. Properly conducted experiments should bring evidence.

  97. Allchemistry

    Oops “.. CO3– is not ..” must of course be:”…CO3– is not …”

  98. Since pH is measured on a logarithmic scale, a 30% increase would mean a drop of about 0.1 not enough to affect much the alkalinity of seawater in the direction of acidity. In fact the pH varies much more than this from one ocean location to another depending on latitude, depth and proximity to coasts..

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  100. “For these reasons, Doney’s testimony didn’t score too high on my credibility meter, in spite of my acknowledgement of his expertise and stature in the field.”

    You really are a stupid, mendacious fool.

  101. Can anybody find any English word that ends with “fication” and does not imply the object acquiring each respective property?

    Apart from “ocean acidification” that is.

    For example “desertification” can and does end up turning areas into deserts. Ossification produces bone tissue. Etherification transforms petroleum into ethers. And so on and so forth.

    Keep in mind, no matter how much CO2 we will ever emit, ocean water will never become acidic.

    • Ph levels in the oceans will continue to vary just as the water in my swimming pool. Long way to go from alkaline to acidic me thinks, with a wide band of neutrality in between.

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