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Burning Of Fossil Fuels Causing Rise In Ocean Acidity

Aired 12/20/11 on KPBS News.

The burning of fossil fuels is causing a rise of acid levels in the ocean, and it may be harming sea life, according to a new study by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

The burning of fossil fuels is causing a rise of acid levels in the ocean, and it may be harming sea life, according to a new study by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Scientists have found ocean water becomes more acidic because about a quarter of the carbon emissions in the air go into the sea.

Jennifer Smith, an assistant professor of Marine Ecology at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, says that affects ocean life.

“As the water becomes more acidic, it becomes more difficult for things that have skeletons and shells, things like mussels and oysters. It makes it more difficult for them to build shells,” she said.

New monitors developed at the Scripps Institute in La Jolla found that ocean acidity may be rising faster than some organisms can adapt. Smith studies coral reefs, and says they are also at risk.

“We’re worried that [corals are] going to be particularly susceptible," she said.

Todd Martz is an assistant professor of chemistry at Scripps Institute of Oceanography.

“The new aspect of ocean acidification science is that biologists and ecologists have really begun to look into it and test these organismal responses," he said. "These biological aspects are really the forefront now."

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | December 20, 2011 at 10:51 p.m. ― 5 years, 3 months ago

I wonder how the anthropogenic climate change deniers will spin this one.

All the scientists involved are corrupt?

All the scientists involved are on the take?

Rush Limbaugh made an announcement it's not really true, so it must not really be true?

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Avatar for user 'AndrewSanDiego'

AndrewSanDiego | December 30, 2011 at 6:38 p.m. ― 5 years, 2 months ago

That you compare scientific skeptics of the claims of imminent global disaster to Holocaust deniers says quite a lot - about you.

The facts are clear. The oceans are not acidic, they are in fact BASIC. But you and you fellow True Believers probably don't even understand "basic" in the language of chemistry, do you?

And neither you nor the author of the article any part of it, or provide a link for someone to actually find out what it actually says. Curious.

As for your 'corrupt' and 'on the take' questions: Anyone who claims to be a scientist but who refuses to follow the Scientific Method or who supports those who do is in fact corrupt. Like James Hansen, one of the High Priests of your church, who steals from taxpayers while working for Nazi collaborator George Soros, who paid him $ 720,000. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars Hansen has taken from political organizations.

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Avatar for user 'AndrewSanDiego'

AndrewSanDiego | December 30, 2011 at 7:03 p.m. ― 5 years, 2 months ago

Is it a surprise to anyone that Helen Hawes, the author of this nonsense, doesn't even do the least bit of fact checking of the claims she promotes here?

The oceans of the world are not acidic, they are BASIC - well below even a neutral pH level. Which even the most cursory research will show. But that's too much work for Helen Hawes, ace reporter.

And in the presence of so much CO2 bubbling up through coral reefs that the water is fully saturated, one site has a pH of 7.76, well below the neutral point. And the marine life thrives there:

Anyone with any kind of commitment to facts quickly learns that ocean acidification is no threat at all.

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Avatar for user 'ceanothus'

ceanothus | January 11, 2012 at 7:43 p.m. ― 5 years, 2 months ago

To AndrewSanDiego, I, too, was once a Limbaugh loser. I listened every day for several years. At the beginning I even believed most of his lies and half truths like the one you are repeating about there being no ocean acidification as the ocean is actually basic. What Limbaugh did not tell you is acidification is a process not a destination. A basic solution with a maximum pH of 14 that has its pH reduced to a still extremely basic pH of 13 has been acidified.

The ocean is being acidified by the reaction of dissolved atmospheric CO2 mixing with H2O in the ocean. The reaction makes carbonic acid.

Why is this important? Because a huge portion of extremely important building blocks of the ocean's web of life have calcium carbonate shells that can not be formed in water that has been too acidified. That acidification point is reached long before the pH of the ocean actually passes 7 on its way down into the acid range of water.

Without these building blocks that hold together the web of ocean life, the whole system is likely to suffer collapse.

What do plankton eating fish eat if a major portion of the plankton (coccoliths) cannot survive because they cannot form the tiny calcium carbonate shells they need to survive? What happens if coral cannot form its hard covering and dies? What happens when there are no more oysters or clams or mussels? What do oyster catchers and walrus eat? They don't, they die along with much of the rest of the living things in the ocean.

My advice to you is turn off the college drop-out, paid to be a con-man, Rush Limbaugh. Try reading accurate information like the info found here:

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