Monday, February 2, 2009

Ocean Acidification

We hear a lot about the acidification of the Oceans due to the rise in CO2. In fact there have been conferences discussing this very "fact."

The Coral Reef Futures 07 Forum was held October 18-19, 2007: Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg of ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS) and the University of Queensland was quoted as saying: "There's not much debate about how it happens: put more CO2 into the air above and it dissolves into the oceans."

The 2nd Symposium on the ocean in a high CO2 world, was held at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco from 6th to 9th October, 2008, attended by 250 scientists from 32 countries .

And upcoming: Goldschmidt Conference. Session 13a: Ocean Acidification: Past, Present and Future
A special session at the 2009 Goldschmidt Conference in Davos, Switzerland (June 21-26).

Now, on the Anthony Watts blog, Steven Goddard posts the facts:


The ocean currently has a pH of 8.1, which is alkaline not acid. In order to become acid, it would have to drop below 7.0. According to Wikipedia “Between 1751 and 1994 surface ocean pH is estimated to have decreased from approximately 8.179 to 8.104.” At that rate, it will take another 3,500 years for the ocean to become even slightly acid. One also has to wonder how they measured the pH of the ocean to 4 decimal places in 1751, since the idea of pH wasn’t introduced until 1909.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You have the wrong Idea of Ocean acidification. The oceans don't need to become acidic (ie. below a pH of 7) for there to be ocean acidification. By Definition any move of the pH of the ocean towards the acid end of the scale is acidification.

Also the Oceans do not have to drop much in pH for the Calcareous organisms (such as Forams and Corals) in the oceans to have a reduced rate of calcification.

Lastly pH is recorded in the Corals skeletons and in marine sediments with High accuracy. There could be pH records going back thousands of years even though the idea of pH was not formalised until 1909.

talbyv said...

"You have the wrong Idea of Ocean acidification"

Anonymous, the comments are by Steven Goddard on the "Watts Up with that" blog. The "Watts Up with That" blog is run by Anthony Watts. Anthony won the "Best Science Blog" in the 2008 weblog awards.

As always on my blog, the link to the original story is in the title.