Huge Jump in Ocean Acidification Research – Science Assisted by Greenpeace!

Ocean acidification research assisted by Greenpeace Esperanza.

35 scientists from 12 countries led by the Leibniz Institute for Ocean Sciences (IFM-GEOMAR) studied for 6 weeks the effects that increasing CO2 concentrations would have on life in the sea. Read here (German). 

Human emissions of CO2 lead to higher concentrations in sea water and thus lower its pH value. The study is led by marine biologist Prof. Dr. Ulf Riebesell, who explains: 

This phenomenon can lead to drastic changes in maritime life systems. Calcium forming organisms like shellfish, snails and microscopic plankton, which are at the base of the food chain, react sensitively to ocean acidification. 

Cold water  can absorb more CO2, and so ocean acidification will occur earlier and more intensely in the Arctic than in other regions, according to the IFM-GEOMAR press release. 

Scientists anchored nine 17-meter long tubes in the Kongsfjord of northwest Spitzbergen. These jumbo sized test tubes held a water column of 50 cubic meters and were subjected to various concentrations of CO2. 

According to Dr. Riebesell: 

We simulated conditions that we expect to see 20, 40 and 60 years in the future. 

As the scientists took measurements and samples daily, they observed changes in the seawater and the enclosed life systems. The simulated ocean acidification led to unexpectedly large changes in the production activity of the plankton with considerable impacts on the release of climate-relevant gases and in turnover rates of important elements in the seawater. 

The scientists took measurements and samples for 6 weeks. Every day 300 liters of water were removed from the large tubes and analysed. With over 60 measurement parameters and tens of thousands values, this will be the most comprehensive experimental data set ever taken in studying ocean acidification, according to the press release. Dr. Riebesell says: 

We expect to make a great jump in the research of ocean acidification. 

Currently the large tubes are now being removed from Kongsfjord. For this job, the scientists are getting assistance from Greenpeace, who have put their vessel ESPERANZA at their disposal. 

Greenpeace is on expedition in the Arctic this summer to record the life systems on the sea floor of the Arctic Ocean for the first time and to continue work on glacier melt in Greenland. (Yeah right! Science by an environmental activist group – I wonder what kind of results they’ll come up with!) 

The Greenpeace ESPERANZA vessel is expected to arrive in Kiel on July 22. The ship will be open to the public at the IFM-GEOMAR pier on July 24-25. 

EPOCA (European Project on Ocean Acidification) started the project in May 2008. The project involves more than 100 scientists from 27 institutes from 9 countries (and Greenpeace). The project will be 4 years long and is funded by the European Commission.

Explore posts in the same categories: CO2 and GHG, Oceans

4 Comments on “Huge Jump in Ocean Acidification Research – Science Assisted by Greenpeace!”

  1. Brian H Says:

    But… but… CO2 will supposedly WARM the oceans, which will drive out the CO2 dissolved in them, and hence reduce acidity! So maybe they should start a scare about excess alkalinization?

    :D

  2. Ed Caryl Says:

    Especially the Arctic ocean.

    I note that the Esperanza is leaving the Arctic before the fall freeze up. Or is it going back?

  3. Larry Says:

    ..:: Increased CO2 is causing Ocean Acidification and reduced O2 levels… while increased industrial PCB levels are causing a global diminish in immune system responses… add a virus to some warm water and you get a massive die off… like we have been seeing worldwide from the coral reefs all the way up to the dolphins and whales… PCBs have bio-magnified to toxic levels in humans and with a suppressed immune system… more infections and cancers… please see: http://EcoDelMar.org/ocean_awareness

    Chinese Proverb :: “If you don’t change direction, you may end up where you’re heading”…

    and in our case… it’s called extinction…

    please see: ..::”Will human CO2 emissions cause another mass extinction event?… http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100416145721AAcB7yv

    ..:: -Since the early 1980s, the production of phytoplankton, a crucial creature at the lower end of the food chain, has declined 6 percent, with 70 percent of the decline found in the northern parts of the oceans. Scientists also have found that phytoplankton are becoming smaller.

    Volcanic activity and large meteorite strikes in the past have … resulted in hostile conditions that have increased extinction rates and driven ecosystem collapse,” the report says. “There is now overwhelming evidence human activities are driving rapid changes on a scale similar to these past events.

    “Many of these changes are already occurring within the world’s oceans with serious consequences likely over the coming years.”

    http://www.physorg.com/news197521399.html

    ..:: Abstract :: The five mass extinction events that the earth has so far experienced have impacted coral reefs as much or more than any other major ecosystem. Each has left the Earth without living reefs for at least four Million years, intervals so great that they are commonly referred to as ‘reef gaps’ :: http://iod.ucsd.edu/courses/sio278/documents/veron_08_coral_reefs.pdf

    please see: http://EcoDelMar.org/ocean_awareness

  4. DennisA Says:

    This is another area of science that has been corrupted, with scientists producing disgraceful claims about “acid oceans”.

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/acid_seas.html

    This is what the IPCC says in AR4:
    The consequences of changes in pH on marine organisms are poorly known (see Section 7.3.4 and Box 7.3). For comparison, pH was higher by 0.1 unit during glaciations, and there is no evidence of pH values more than 0.6 units below the pre-industrial pH during the past 300 million years (Caldeira and Wickett, 2003)12. A decrease in ocean pH of 0.1 units corresponds to a 30% increase in the concentration of H+ in seawater, assuming that alkalinity and temperature remain constant.

    Hence we get the claim that “the ocean” has become 30% more acidic since the start of the industrial revolution. There can be no single pH value for the world’s oceans, any more than there can be a single surface-air temperature for the globe. The range of pH can vary extensively from as low as 7.8 to as high as 8.4 in a single 24 hr period (Yates and Halley, 2006). In some lagoons, pH has been measured to vary as much as 1 pH unit in a day (e.g., 7.6 to 8.6). Seasonal and even multi-decadal cycles of pH variation in reef water have also been measured (Pelejero et al., 2005).

    The UK Natural Environment Research Council20 is the main UK body in charge of funding research into the Natural Environment, which effectively means anything perceived to warrant the labels, “global warming” or “climate change”. Their web site discusses ocean acidification. They do acknowledge recent research which runs counter to the claims, but say that more research is required. Interestingly they include NGO’s in this process:

    Scientists from across Europe are working with representatives of organisations ranging from BP and Rolls Royce to WWF and Greenpeace.

    There is little doubt that ocean acidification will be there again in AR5 but probably worse than we thought and the story is already in place.

    The next IPCC assessment will benefit from more ocean science:
    “We now know that increasingly acidic seas are reducing coral reef health and changing ocean ecosystems. But will the increasing CO2 uptake by the ocean and warmer oceans also bring risks for all life on Earth?”

    The chemistry of the oceans has been known for many years, it hasn’t just been invented by the IPCC; Limnology and Oceanography 958 November 1972, V. 17

    ..alkalinity already present in seawater can prevent severe pH excursions for periods of thousands of years even when reverse weathering is neglected. If reverse weathering is taken into account, then the buffering capacity of the CO2 system extends for much longer periods. The actual pH of seawater is fixed by any two relevant quantities and, as the alkalinity is controlled by the input of HC03- from weathering and the biogenic output of CaC03 and the Pco, below the thin wind-mixed layer is controlled by oxidation, the pH is determined primarily by biological processes. Of course, geochemical events, such as weathering …. and chemical equilibria also play a role.

    Atmospheric CO2 rose as high as 2500 ppm between 60 and 40 Ma and Caldeira and Wicket say that there is no evidence for a greater than 0.6 decrease in pH in the last 300 Ma, so even with CO2 levels six and a half times greater than today, the oceans were still not acid.


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