Carbon emissions creating acidic oceans not seen since dinosaurs

Human pollution is turning the seas into acid so quickly that the coming decades will recreate conditions not seen on Earth since the time of the dinosaurs, scientists will warn today.

The rapid acidification is caused by the massive amounts of carbon dioxide belched from chimneys and exhausts that dissolve in the ocean. The chemical change is placing “unprecedented” pressure on marine life such as shellfish and lobsters and could cause widespread extinctions, the experts say.

The study, by scientists at Bristol University, will be presented at a special three-day summit of climate scientists in Copenhagen, which opens today. The conference is intended to update the science of global warming and to shock politicians into taking action on carbon emissions.

Dose this mean we can has dinosaurs??? :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Yep it is probably going to be a real problem. Though I donlt think that article was written to well imo, here is some more info though.

Yeah, I remember the big to do about Acid Rain and how it was going to kill us all. This is all garbage…it should be thrown in the dump and not recycled.

Why were the oceans so acidic during the dinosaur ages? Did we have “human pollution” during the dinosaur ages? :rotfl: Is CO2 really pollution? What is the ideal level of atmospheric CO2 in ppm? Is reducing the level of CO2 ok for plants? Will certain species of plants go extinct if the CO2 level are reduced? Will lower levels of CO2 cause lower crop yields and potentially increase human starvation? Can man actually reduce the level of atmospheric CO2? Is this really caused by humans or is a natural earthly or solar system cycle? The “scientists” always make the claim, but where’s the proof? I mean real proof…not just because some “scientists” said so. For example, how is the data gathered? Are data gathering methods consistent enough to not impact data validity? What boundary conditions are they using in their models? How are the models calibrated? Could it be the climatic models are set up for a predetermined outcome? Why should I trust a climatologist with using their predictive modeling when they can’t even predict the time and location of an oncoming hurricane three days out (much less, centuries out concerning GW) with only 50% accuracy? Why is there not a consensus among the scientific community concerning GW? Can’t we just at least get a consensus before we implement policy (i.e., cap and trade) base on an unproven theory? Will not GW policies like cap and trade actually hurt the poor and middle class the most by raising there eclectic bills? I’ll stop now…but think these and many more question need to be answered before we implement polocies base on a theory.


Since “global warming” is being laughed at and disproven, is this the next environmental “trend”? Will we be seeing t-shirts and watching celebrities discuss the terrible acid in the ocean while cruisin’ in the same ocean in their motor boats?

CO2 + water = what acid?

Carbonic acid:

CO2 + H2O = H2CO3

mmmmmmmmmm acid:

My favorite acids, in order:

  1. citric acid
  2. acetic acid (on french fries)
  3. ascorbic acid

Along with citric, carbonic is one of my favorites: :yup: with this :popcorn:

Thank you for the reference. The article, though, doesn’t really seem to suggest the likelihood of a lot of H2CO3 being formed from atmospheric CO2 and water. I’m no chemist, but, In fact, it seems it breaks down in the presence of water.

"It has long been recognized that it is impossible to obtain pure carbonic acid at room temperatures (about 20 °C or about 70 °F). However, in 1991 scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (USA) succeeded in making the first pure H2CO3 samples. They did so by exposing a frozen mixture of water and carbon dioxide to high-energy radiation, and then warming to remove the excess water. The carbonic acid that remained was characterized by infrared spectroscopy. The fact that the carbonic acid was prepared by irradiating a solid H2O + CO2 mixture has given rise to suggestions that H2CO3 might be found in outer space, where frozen ices of H2O and CO2 are common, as are cosmic rays and ultraviolet light, to help them react. The same carbonic acid polymorph (denoted beta-carbonic acid) was prepared by a cryotechnique at the University of Innsbruck: alternating layers of glassy aqueous solutions of bicarbonate and acid were heated in vacuo, which causes protonation of bicarbonate, and the solvent was subsequently removed. A second polymorph (denoted alpha-carbonic acid) was prepared by the same technique at the University of Innsbruck using methanol rather than water as a solvent.

It has since been shown, by theoretical calculations, that the presence of even a single molecule of water causes carbonic acid to revert to carbon dioxide and water fairly quickly. "

Maybe the OP’s article was talking about something else, but it didn’t say.

The article says the rate of acitification (not the amount of acid) is the same as it was millions of years ago. Not sure how they can be so confident of this. Also don’t know what that means in the long run. But it does sound impressive in a alarmist newspaper article, doesn’t it? :shrug:

They are “confident” because they have a well established reference point 65 + million years ago to compare to today’s levels (sarcasm). This is how the article says they are so confident:

“Because the rates of acidification between past and future are comparable, and [because] there was widespread extinction of benthic organisms [lowest living], one must conclude that a similar level of extinction is more likely than not in the future.”

Sounds impressive…but we “must conclude”. I guess they got themselves covered with relative terms like “similar level” (which is) and “more likely” (than what) and “in the future” (exactly when). There’s a lot of wiggle room in that statement.

When I was a little kid Chicken Little said the sky is falling!:eek:

Wait a minute I’ll check my diary for notes I made when I still was using a dinosaur for transportation. Nope no notes on acidic oceans. Nope no news about this anywhere. But, then maybe my memory is going with old age.:eek:

Ok I am going to try and explain here what is meant by ocean acidification. Cause now that I think about it that article wasn;t just poorly written…it was out right horrible. It made it sound like the ocean is turning into battery acid or something… :rolleyes: Ok anyway here goes

Copy and paste from here…

For the past 200 years, the rapid increase in atmospheric CO2
has been, and continues to be, caused by the burning of fossil
fuels (e.g., oil and gas), deforestation, industrialization, cement
production, and other land-use changes. The oceans absorb
much of this excess CO2 through air-sea gas exchange, which
results in changes in seawater chemistry (through changes in
the partial pressure of CO2, pH, alkalinity, and calcium carbonate
saturation states). Ocean acidification describes the relative
decrease in seawater pH that is caused by oceanic uptake of
specific compounds from the atmosphere. Today, the overwhelming
cause of ocean acidification is the absorption of
human produced CO2, although in some coastal regions,
nitrogen and sulfur are also important (Doney et al. 2007).
Presently, atmospheric CO2 concentration is approximately 383
parts per million by volume (ppmv), and is projected to increase
by 0.5% per year throughout the 21st century, a rate of change
that is approximately 100-times faster than has occurred in the
past 650,000 years (Meehl et al. 2007). In recent decades, only
half of human-produced CO2 has remained in the atmosphere,
the other half has been taken up by the terrestrial biosphere
(ca. 20%) and the oceans (ca. 30%) (Sabine et al. 2004). This
increase in atmospheric CO2 has caused a decrease in seawater
pH. Since the Industrial Revolution, a time span of less than 250
years, the pH of surface oceans has dropped by 0.1 pH units
and is projected to drop another 0.3-0.4 pH units by the end of
this century (Figure 1) (Feely et al. 2008).
The absorption of excess atmospheric CO2 impacts the ocean’s
carbonate system with important consequences for calcifying
marine plants and animals. Many marine organisms use
carbonate minerals (CaCO3) to form shells, skeletons, and tests,
including crustose coralline algae, planktonic organisms (e.g.,
foraminifera, coccolithophores, and pteropods), warm-water
corals, cold-water corals, and a range of benthic organisms (e.g.,
oysters, clams, sea urchins, and sea stars). When carbon dioxide
dissolves in seawater, it forms carbonic acid and several dissociation
products (Figure 2). The net effect of changes in this
chemical equilibrium (driven by increased absorption of CO2)
is both an increase in the acidity of seawater and a decrease in
the availability of carbonate ions, which make it more difficult for
marine organisms to build and maintain carbonate structures.

As for how it could effect

.** Ocean acidification will have long-term implications for the global carbon cycle and climate, although the range and magnitude of biogeochemical and biological effects and their socio-economic impacts are currently too uncertain to accurately quantify. However, we do know that such impacts are likely to be substantial. • The U.S. is the third largest seafood consumer in the world - total consumer spending for fish and shellfish is approximately $60 billion per year. Coastal and marine commercial fishing generates as much as $30 billion per year and nearly 70,000 jobs. Healthy coral reefs are the foundation of many of these viable fisheries, as well as the source of tourism and recreation revenues.
• Approximately half of all federally managed fisheries depend on coral reefs and related habitats for a portion of their life cycles yielding an estimated value to U.S. fish stocks over $250**

Hope that clears some things up.

Will this affect lobsters and shrimp? Lobster shells are hard to crack.

They can be confident b/c our ancestors who crawled through the mud left us 65 mil. old water in a time capsule. :smiley:

How do they know what conditions were at the time of the dinosaurs? How can they have a sample of the ocean from millions of years ago? If these scientists have a coherent message, this news report doesn’t provide one.
I am suspicious too of advocacy science, since apparently when these scientists started out, they intended to justify that there is drastic climate change occurring. It is possible for such people to come up with accurate results, but knowing human nature I wonder, and in fact such people in one field of science or another sometimes come up with the results they want even if their research doesn’t actually show it.
I am quite skeptical too of policy-making science by newspaper, based on one garbled report.

How do they know what conditions were at the time of the dinosaurs?

Chemical rock and reef rock leaves evidence of the pH of the ocean at the time it was formed.

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