Archive for June, 2008

ISRS “Coral Reefs and Ocean Acidification” briefing paper


This briefing paper summarizes the current knowledge of ocean acidification and how it will affect coral reefs, identifies future research needs, and addresses how ocean acidification should be included in overall coral reef management strategies.

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Session on the “Consequences of Acidification of Land and Ocean”

A session on the “Consequences of Acidification of Land and Ocean” will be organized at the meeting “Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges and Decisions”, 10-12 March 2009 in Copenhagen. It will be chaired by Mary Scholes and Carol Turley.

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CO2 disposal in the ocean is a dangerous distraction

Bill Hare, Greenpeace adviser and visiting scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany, responds to Wallace Broecker’s call for carbon storage experiments in the depths of the Pacific Ocean.

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Deep divisions

One of the world’s leading climate scientists challenges Greenpeace’s opposition to storing CO2 in the depth of the oceans

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Mass extinctions past and present: a unifying hypothesis

Enzymes are often referred to as the “agents of life” – a very apt term, since essentially all life processes are controlled by them. Typically, these enzymes only function across a narrow band of environmental conditions, particularly temperature and pH. Ambient conditions that challenge these operating conspecifics trigger enzyme dysfunction. Here, it is proposed that the pH-dependent inactivation of a single enzyme, urease, provides a unifying kill-mechanism for at least four of the “big five” mass extinctions of the past 560 million years. The triggering of this kill-mechanism is suggested to be sensitive to both gradualistic and catastrophic environmental disturbances that cause the operating pH of urease-dependent organisms to cross enzymatic “dead zones”, one of which is suggested to exist at ~pH 7.9. For a wide range of oceanic and terrestrial ecosystems, this pH threshold coincides with an atmospheric CO2 partial pressure (pCO2) of ~560 ppmv – a level that at current CO2 emission trajectories may be exceeded as early as 2050. The urease hypothesis thus predicts an impending Anthropocene extinction event of equivalence to the “big five” unless future atmospheric pCO2 levels can be stabilised well below 560 ppmv. Immediate scientific discussion and testing is required to confirm the validity of the urease hypothesis.
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Marine life is destroyed by acid environment

Traditional marine communities containing creatures such as sea urchins and snails are being destroyed as CO2 emissions make their environment more acidic.

Algae which is vital for the well-being of coral reefs is also retreating as acidity increases and is being replaced by invasive species which don’t offer coral the same protection.

The changes have been witnessed for the first time by a British-led team monitoring volcanic carbon dioxide vents off the Italian coast in the Mediterranean.
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Phytoplankton Calcification in a CO2-Accreting Ocean

Iglesias-Rodriguez, M.D., Halloran, P.R., Rickaby, R.E.M., Hall, I.R., Colmenero-Hidalgo, E., Gittins, J.R., Green, D.R.H., Tyrrell, T., Gibbs, S.J., von Dassow, P., Rehm, E., Armbrust, E.V. and Boessenkool, K.P. 2008. Phytoplankton calcification in a high-CO2 world. Science 320: 336-340.

For the past several years, the ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content has been claimed by the world’s climate alarmists to be making life ever more difficult for earth’s calcifying marine organisms by lowering the calcium carbonate saturation state of seawater, which phenomenon has been predicted by them to greatly hamper the abilities of these creatures to produce their calcium carbonate skeletons. However, several experimental studies have cast great doubt on this theoretical contention, as may be readily seen by perusing the many materials we have archived in our Subject Index under the general heading of Calcification, while here we review yet another pertinent study.

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Ocean vents reveal CO2 effects on marine life

Scientists have carried out the first-ever ecosystem-scale experiment of the effect of increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions on the world’s oceans.

What the impact of higher CO2 levels as a result of climate change will be is a concern as oceans are the principal ‘sink’ for CO2.

But awareness of the impact is limited as previous studies have been short-term and undertaken in laboratories.

For the latest research an international team of scientists studied areas of the sea off Italy where volcanic CO2 vents increase levels of acid in the water, a process known as acidification.
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Ocean acidification hurting marine life

LONDON, June 9 (UPI) — A British researcher said ocean acidification caused by increasing carbon dioxide emissions could leave coral and sea urchins struggling to survive.
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Global warming turning sea into acid bath

Increasing carbon dioxide emissions could leave species such as coral and sea urchins struggling to survive by the end of the century because they are making the oceans more acidic, research led by British scientists suggests.
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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book