Archive for August 13th, 2009

Ocean acidification varies with depth and time

Ocean acidification varies with depth and time, depends on ocean circulation and microbe activity as well as on ocean chemistry. So say researchers of Montana State University and the University of Hawaii who have studied 20 years of data taken as part of the Hawaii Ocean Time-series (HOT) Program at Station ALOHA, 115 km north of the island of Oahu.

“Our study reveals that on year-to-year timescales the rate of acidification varies considerably with climate-driven changes to ocean mixing and with the biological responses to nutrients brought up from the deep by such mixing,” John Dore of Montana State University told environmentalresearchweb. “This finding is important because it reveals physical and biological mechanisms by which the rate of acidification is altered in the natural system.”
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Planet Green turns blue in August

Tonight Planet Green eschews the so-called light green programming it’s been running in its year plus of existence—shows about green lifestyles, you know, cooking with local produce, remember to recycle etc.

Tonight’s premieres are part of a month-long stunt on Planet Green called Blue August that examines “the wonders and mysteries of the aquatic…” we are told.

Since Discovery Channel’s Shark Week has been pulling in eyeballs for some two decades, why not try another water-based summer stunt? And, hey, isn’t H2O in Discovery’s DNA, with its headquarters based in the watery sounding Silver Spring, Maryland?

And, heck, Blue August gives Planet Green the opportunity to premiere on its channel the fabulous series Blue Planet, which debuted a few years back on Discovery Channel. (The preceding words were historic. I’ve never before used 3 colors in one blog sentence, or in one blog post, for that matter.)

Perhaps the best thing about Blue August is that its programs are hosted by Philippe and Alexandra Cousteau. You could almost excuse Jacques Cousteau’s grandchildren for exploiting their famous name for personal gain. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are tireless crusaders for conservation and are extremely knowledgeable. And since this is television, it doesn’t hurt that they are both extraordinarily good looking young people.

The premieres tonight are on the more serious side of things oceanic. Not only is carbon dioxide eroding the atmosphere and causing global warming (or is it?), at 10:30 ET we learn, from no less than narrator Sigourney Weaver, that fossil fuel emissions are also raising the acidity of the Earth’s oceans.
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Rising ocean acidity: ‘The other carbon problem’

What happens if there’s no more “shell” in shellfish?

A new documentary on Discovery’s Planet Green network, Acid Test: The Global Challenge of Ocean Acidification (premiering Wednesday, 10:30 p.m. ET/PT, and repeating throughout the month), explores this and other questions related to ocean acidification, a little-known but potentially disastrous consequence of global warming.
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Acid in the oceans: A growing threat to sea life (audio)

When we burn fossil fuels, we are not just putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. A lot of it goes into the sea. There, carbon dioxide turns into carbonic acid. And that turns ocean water corrosive, particularly to shellfish and corals.

Biologists are now coming to realize that rising acid levels in the ocean can affect many other forms of sea life as well.

Visit Moss Landing, Calif., in the spring and at first blush it seems marine life is flourishing. Sea lions, weighing in at 600 pounds or more, jostle for space and spar with one another as they try to cram themselves onto docks that groan under their weight.
Continue reading ‘Acid in the oceans: A growing threat to sea life (audio)’

“Acid Test” documentary on ocean acidification premieres tonight

Dive into the NRDC’s new documentary Acid Test and you’re immediately immersed in a beautiful undersea world complete with vibrant coral reefs, graceful kelp beds, and rhythmic schools of fish.

But Acid Test is no Blue Planet, thanks to heavy use of green-screen technology. And what’s in front of those screens is a lot less pleasant than the fish porn projected onto them. (No offense to the scientists, commercial fisherfolk, and other experts who are doing the talking, of course—it’s more about what they’re saying.)

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Humpback whales on rocky road to recovery

Endangered Species Success Story Will Be Thwarted if Ocean Acidification and Other Threats Not Addressed

The National Marine Fisheries Service announced today that it will review the endangered status of humpback whales to determine if the classification is accurate. Humpbacks were listed as endangered in 1970; the upcoming review could result in removing the protections of the Endangered Species Act for the species or downlisting the whale to “threatened” status in some or all of its range. Recent surveys have found that humpback whale populations are generally on an upward trend.

“Increasing numbers of humpback whales hold promise for recovery, but this Endangered Species Act success story could be reversed if we don’t address other threats to the species, primarily the looming disaster of ocean acidification,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans program director at the Center for Biological Diversity.
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New film on ocean acidification reveals unseen face of CO2 pollution

Global climate change has just acquired a new voice of reason, a morally persuasive guide with a healing touch. He’s an immigrant from Norway who came to the US as a boy and is now a retired educator and devoted grandfather who can still speak his mother tongue.

Meet Sven. Sven Huseby.

Over the last two and half years he went around the world to investigate the face of climate change as he found it reflected in the oceans, a journey he undertook for the sake of his attentive five-year old grandson, Elias.

The story of the journey and the poignant dialogue between Sven and Elias were captured on film by award-winning director Barbara Ettinger, who has created a tale of moral justice out of the fabric of undeniable ocean science, a tale which vibrates with the deep question of what we owe to future generations.

The film is called A Sea Change, and even conservative audiences filled with aggressive global warming naysayers find themselves afterward caught up in humbling discussions, persuaded that “it really is about the CO2, isn’t it?” as many of them end up saying.
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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book