Friday, May 23, 2008

Corrosive oceans are now real

Seawater that dissolves skeletons? Sounds like a horror movie, but it's now reality. Scientists found CO2-spiked seawater closer to land than expected.

It's an excess CO2 scenario that the climate change deniers can't deny, because it doesn't rely on climate. It's simple chemistry, more CO2 in the ocean means higher acid, and eventually it'll corrode shells and skeletons of marine animals.

Only now it's not "eventually," it's NOW. Today, hot off the elctronic presses, an article in Science Express describes what's up with the scary CO2-spiked ocean water that we've all been worried about. OK, some of us have been worried about it, and now you will worry too.

CO2-ocean is real off the US west coast, and the water has reaced the surface off Northern California. It's happening faster than the models predict, and it could change our oceans in a bad way. Your favorite animals may be affected.

4 comments:

FoulHooked said...

"The most acidic water the scientists found off the Pacific Coast measured 7.6 on the pH scale."

I'm not discounting the fact that the shift is disconcerting (either way, less carbonate will be available...or more carbonate will be leached from shells, etc), but, a pH of 7.6 is still "alkaline," (more appropriately, basic?) no?

I don't know, I can never keep pH, alkalinity, ORP, etc, straight.

Ed

Mark Powell said...

pH of 7.6 is too acid for some ocean animals, that's the issue. pH of 7.6 is defined as nearly neutral to slightly basic, but it's too acid compared to what ocean water should be, around 8.1

It's like asking how fast is too fast when driving a car. On some roads, 20 mph might be too fast, despite the fact that most people would say 20 mph is "slow." Try taking a hairpin curve above a cliff at 20 mph, and tell me whether 20 mph is "slow."

Anonymous said...

Many toxic metals, including lead, can dissolve up to a pH of about eight. Dissolved metals often are more toxic. As water becomes more acidic calcium dissolves shell material that has sequestered lead and cadmium which can then affect soft tissue again. Some freshwater salmonid habitat on the left coast appears to be acidifying as well. At some sites freshwater mussels are becoming perforated by shell dissolution. Young mussels at these sites are dying before they can attain the thick shelled 'old Growth' stage common historically.
Ray Kinney

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