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Sunday, 29 May 2011

Ocean Acidification

I was just reading a post over at Biased BBC about an Article written by Richard Black where he is exhorting us with his usual lack of scientific knowledge, that we are all doomed by a rise in ocean acidification. Of course the science is settled in the mind of dear Richard as he links to this piece of garbage. Now, if you can be bothered to read that article, it in no way gives you any facts or figures. It’s just a broad brush propaganda piece.

Now I might not be a scientist, but I was a Marine Engineer for over forty years, and did  keep a close eye on the pH of that wobbly stuff that I was sailing across. In all those years, never did I see a significant change in the pH. In fact I never saw as much change as one paper suggest there should be. Cited below. We took a lot of notice of the condition of the sea water, not for esoteric “ Save the world” reasons, but simply for our own survival. The reason being that I was serving on one of her Majesty's grey ships. It is essential to know the temperature and other parameters in order to counter the threat from Russian submarines.

A simple summary of pH is given below.

pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a substance and is one of the stable measurements in seawater. Ocean water has an excellent buffering system with the interaction of carbon dioxide and water so that it is generally always at a pH of 7.5 to 8.5. Neutral water is a pH of 7 while acidic substances are less than 7 (down to 1, which is highly acidic) and alkaline substances are more than 7 (up to 14, which is highly alkaline). Anything either highly acid or alkaline would kill marine life but the oceans are very stable with regard to pH. If seawater was out of normal range (7.5-8.5) then something would be horribly wrong.

As you can see there is quite a range in the pH values allowed. pH at any location also depends on temperature (Don’t go there unless you have a degree in mathematics), as the pH is related to the absorbance of CO2. Now Ocean currents vary from year to year, making reliable permanent upward changes in CO2 highly suspect. I take the reader has heard of  El Nino and La Nina which has a cyclical relevance to sea temperatures.

Dear Richard doesn’t seem to realise the wheels are rapidly falling off his band wagon. I suggest, in the interest of humanity that he should jump of before a wheel spoke impales him on the reality that climate change is a dead horse that fell before the wagon.

The Debate is not over

H/T to Counting Cats