[Coral-List] Don't be such a scientist

Bill Allison allison.billiam at gmail.com
Tue Jan 10 02:50:04 EST 2012

What a card you are.

Background checks

1. WSJ - seriously?

2. CO2science.com - yr kidding, right?
CO2 Science Magazine, published by the Centre for the Study of Carbon
Dioxide and Climate
The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change is not so
much a "center" as it is a family-run global warming denialism


On Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 7:39 PM, Eugene Shinn <eshinn at marine.usf.edu> wrote:
> I missed the 60 minutes program because I was at sea when it aired. I
> nevertheless wonder if they discussed any of the scientific issues
> presented in the WSJ (below). or the lengthy technical presentation
> at   http://co2science.org/subject/o/acidificationphenom.php.  Gene
>>>Source:  WSJ
>>>[SPPI Note:  More in-depth papers on this issue can be found at the
>>>SPPI website:
>>>C02 Science's Ocean Acidification Database
>>>Quantifying the Effects of Ocean Acidification on Marine Organisms
>>>Effects of Ocean Acidification on Marine Ecosystems
>>>Answers to a Fisherman's Testimony about Ocean Acidification
>>>EPA's Role in Protecting Ocean Health Should Focus on the
>>>"Here-and-Now" Threats
>>>See also CO2 Science website for reviewed papers on the topic
>>>WSJ text beings here:
>>>Coral reefs around the world are suffering badly from overfishing
>>>and various forms of pollution. Yet many experts argue that the
>>>greatest threat to them is the acidification of the oceans from the
>>>dissolving of man-made carbon dioxide emissions.
>>>The effect of acidification, according to J.E.N. Veron, an
>>>Australian coral scientist, will be "nothing less than
>>>catastrophic.... What were once thriving coral gardens that
>>>supported the greatest biodiversity of the marine realm will become
>>>red-black bacterial slime, and they will stay that way."
>>>Humans have placed marine life under pressure, but the chief
>>>culprits are overfishing and pollution.
>>>This is a common view. The Natural Resources Defense Council has
>>>called ocean acidification "the scariest environmental problem
>>>you've never heard of." Sigourney Weaver, who narrated a film about
>>>the issue, said that "the scientists are freaked out." The head of
>>>the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calls it global
>>>warming's "equally evil twin."
>>>But do the scientific data support such alarm? Last month
>>>scientists at San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography and
>>>other authors published a study showing how much the pH level
>>>(measuring alkalinity versus acidity) varies naturally between
>>>parts of the ocean and at different times of the day, month and
>>>"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."
>>>This adds to other hints that the ocean-acidification problem may
>>>have been exaggerated. For a start, the ocean is alkaline and in no
>>>danger of becoming acid (despite headlines like that from Reuters
>>>in 2009: "Climate Change Turning Seas Acid"). If the average pH of
>>>the ocean drops to 7.8 from 8.1 by 2100 as predicted, it will still
>>>be well above seven, the neutral point where alkalinity becomes
>>>The central concern is that lower pH will make it harder for
>>>corals, clams and other "calcifier" creatures to make calcium
>>>carbonate skeletons and shells. Yet this concern also may be
>>>overstated. Off Papua New Guinea and the Italian island of Ischia,
>>>where natural carbon-dioxide bubbles from volcanic vents make the
>>>sea less alkaline, and off the Yucatan, where underwater springs
>>>make seawater actually acidic, studies have shown that at least
>>>some kinds of calcifiers still thrive-at least as far down as pH
>>>In a recent experiment in the Mediterranean, reported in Nature
>>>Climate Change, corals and mollusks were transplanted to lower pH
>>>sites, where they proved "able to calcify and grow at even faster
>>>than normal rates when exposed to the high [carbon-dioxide] levels
>>>projected for the next 300 years." In any case, freshwater mussels
>>>thrive in Scottish rivers, where the pH is as low as five.
>>>Laboratory experiments find that more marine creatures thrive than
>>>suffer when carbon dioxide lowers the pH level to 7.8. This is
>>>because the carbon dioxide dissolves mainly as bicarbonate, which
>>>many calcifiers use as raw material for carbonate.
>>>Human beings have indeed placed marine ecosystems under terrible
>>>pressure, but the chief culprits are overfishing and pollution. By
>>>comparison, a very slow reduction in the alkalinity of the oceans,
>>>well within the range of natural variation, is a modest threat, and
>>>it certainly does not merit apocalyptic headlines.
> --
> No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
> ------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
> E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
> University of South Florida
> College of Marine Science Room 221A
> 140 Seventh Avenue South
> St. Petersburg, FL 33701
> <eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
> Tel 727 553-1158----------------------------------
> -----------------------------------
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Is this how science illuminates "reality"? - "the meaning of an
episode was not inside like a kernel but outside, enveloping the talk
which brought it out only as a glow brings out a haze."
- narrator's comment about Marlow's tale-telling, in Heart of Darkness (Conrad)

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