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

Ulf Erlingsson ceo at lindorm.com
Tue Jan 10 09:19:21 EST 2012


Argument #2 in the link you gave is invalid and the similitude with climate / weather is flawed. At any rate the planet is facing serious problems and IMHO it is very irresponsible to cry wolf over something that is so self-serving as this for the scientists involved.


Ulf Erlingsson

On 2012-01-09, at 15:49, Steve Mussman wrote:

> Gene,
> With all due respect there are sources and there are . . . . sources.
> I'm not a scientist, but I know enough to question sources of information.
> I can find sites that claim that cigarette smoking is beneficial, but 
> that doesn't mean that one should give credence to this perspective.
> Proclaiming rising atmospheric CO2 levels and current rates of ocean 
> acidification to be a good thing is reprehensible in my view. 
> Here is a alternate perspective that deserves serious consideration 
> based on the credibility of the author and the list of sources cited.
> http://www.skepticalscience.com/ocean-acid.html
>   Respectfully yours,   
>    Steve Mussman      
> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Eugene Shinn <eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
>> Sent: Jan 9, 2012 10:39 AM
>> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
>> Subject: [Coral-List] Don't be such a scientist
>> 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 
>>>> year.
>>>> "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 
>>>> acidity.
>>>> 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 
>>>> 7.8.
>>>> 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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