The oceans are dying

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by Kennyc, Jun 21, 2011.

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  1. Kennyc Registered Senior Member

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    World's oceans in 'shocking' decline

    Richard Black By Richard Black Environment correspondent, BBC News

    Coral and fish Coral reefs are subject to "multiple stressors" that could destroy many within a human generation

    The oceans are in a worse state than previously suspected, according to an expert panel of scientists.

    In a new report, they warn that ocean life is "at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history".

    They conclude that issues such as over-fishing, pollution and climate change are acting together in ways that have not previously been recognised.

    The impacts, they say, are already affecting humanity...

    Full Article:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13796479

    and...fastest sea level rise in Two Centuries:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110620183242.htm
     
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  3. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

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    Hmm, I thought iron fertilization led to de-acidification of the oceans, as the resultant algal blooms sucked in carbon? guess not.

    Yeah, we're making our life support systems wobbly.
     
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  5. PsychoTropicPuppy Bittersweet life? Valued Senior Member

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    No wonder. We've made a real waste dump out of them. Look at Somalia, EU throws its radioactive and poisonous waste there into the water, children living near the shores are born with severe urinal tract, genital deformations, cancer...and the likes. Most of them die at an early age, because there's no one there to help them battle those illnesses and abnormalities. It comes in handy that Somalia has no government currently -- perfect to abuse it for one's personal profit, right developed countries?

    Then we wonder why they all end up as pirates, ...when they all used to be fishers..there are no fishes to fish there any more..surprisingly. So the problem lies again within EU's fucked up attitude towards humanity and the nature we're living in, and not some Al Kaida followers.

    Now..Japan's letting the radioactive water flow freely into the waters, too. And on it goes.
     
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  7. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

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    Hate to say it, but I distrust these "shocking" stories that are released weeks before the actual report and with no substantiation to a single fact.

    Indeed, when they list the "accelerated changes" the ones they list have pretty much nothing to do with the quality of life in the oceans.

    Indeed rising sea levels expand the sea and give it more shallow coastal areas that tend to be conducive to sea life.

    Seems the key message they wanted to get out is:

    "We have to bring down CO2 emissions to zero within about 20 years,"

    Which is not only a frankly silly requirement, but we don't have the ability to do that anyway.

    The two pressing issues with the oceans that we could actually do something about are over-fishing and pollution.

    Arthur
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2011
  8. Kennyc Registered Senior Member

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    Death is not silly. Environmental destruction is not silly. We'll see what the full report says when it's released. I have little doubt you'll still say it's 'silly.'

    Here's the link to the group that compiled the report which will be released later this week according to the article.

    http://www.stateoftheocean.org/
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2011
  9. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

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    Source for this claim?


    Never mind,
    I tracked it down.

    Almost every internet search on Somalia and hazardous waste eventually came back to this:

    http://www.unep.org/PDF/Tsunami_assessment_report/TSUNAMI_report_complete.pdf

    Note the first word. REPORTEDLY.

    What I can't find is much substantiation of this claim, it seems the UNEP based their statements entirely on this report:

    http://www.mbali.info/doc331.htm

    Which, unfortunately, is so old that no copies can be found with it's references cited (the few that are mentioned) and so again it provides little factual support for it's claims, but at least we can see, it wasn't the "EU", it was supposedly almost all coming from Mafia controlled companies in Italy (and some from the Swiss).

    But it wasn't illegal.

    Might not have been very ethical however.

    As to fishing off Somalia instead of your claim there are no fish in the waters it says the opposite, it says this:

    Still, in reading up on Somalia, it's quite clear that their problems are not well characterized by PTP's description and rationalization "Then we wonder why they all end up as pirates".

    Total BS to blame Somalia's situation on this wildly distorted view of the main issues facing that country. It certainly doesn't appear that their major problems stem from taking in of contracts for storage/disposal of Toxic Waste, and since Italy hasn't used Nuclear power since 1990 it would appear that any nuclear waste would likely have been pretty minor (medical waste most likely).

    A much more rational look at the issues facing Somalia:

    http://www.socialwatch.org/sites/default/files/somalila2009_eng.pdf

    Arthur
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2011
  10. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

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    And that's not what I said was it?

    I pointed out the two (obvious) pressing issues, over fishing and pollution, but saying we need to get our CO2 levels to ZERO in two decades is however a SILLY requirement and certainly NOT required for the health of our oceans.

    As to reducing our CO2 output to zero in 20 years, let's see what progress we are making on that:


    2010’s energy consumption was up 5.6% over 2009.

    The world consumed more of every main fuel than it had in any previous year.
    Oil use (34% of the world’s primary energy) rose by 3.1%.
    Coal use (30% or world's primary energy) was up by 7.6%
    Natural Gas use (24% of world's primary energy) was up by 7.4%.

    Now to put that growth in fossil fuel use in perspective, even though Hydro (at 6.5%) had a record year of growth, the share that non-fossil-fuel energy provides actually decreased a little and the amount of Non-hydro renewables remained steady at only 1.3% of global energy consumption (1.8% if you include biofuels).

    So considering the year to year annual GROWTH in both global population and CO2 output, it will be a significant challenge to simply halt the GROWTH in CO2 output and a much larger challenge to decrease the output to say 1990 levels, but it is simply not possible to eliminate CO2 emissions entirely within 20 years (unless your plans include eliminating ~90% of the people on the planet).

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/schumpeter/2011/06/energy-statistics

    Arthur
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2011
  11. Kennyc Registered Senior Member

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    Yep. You just need to think about it.
     
  12. jmpet Valued Senior Member

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    Our oceans have been the dumping ground for the world for over a century. Funny- there were so many fish in the 15th century that the would bump against ships and alter their course. We need a billion bottles of Tums to counteract the alkalinity of the oceans...
     
  13. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

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    Nope.

    I thought about it and it's clear that I didn't say either of those two things.

    I didn't say the report was silly (which is what you insinuated in your other post) because I haven't seen it (and I sincerly doubt it will be silly).

    I said that the statement: "We need to get our CO2 emissions to ZERO in 20 years" was silly (and I sincerly doubt that claim will be in the report).

    It is silly because there is no scientific evidence showing that we need to to entirely curtail our CO2 emissions within 2 decades.

    (If you have such scientific evidence I suggest you forward it to the UN's IPPC, since that's certainly not what they are claiming we need to do at all)

    Which is good, because we can't.

    Arthur
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2011
  14. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

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    Ah, we WANT the oceans to be alkaline.

    And, of course, they always WILL BE alkaline.

    Their buffering capacity is far greater than our ability to exceed via any man-made process.

    Arthur
     
  15. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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  16. synthesizer-patel Sweep the leg Johnny! Valued Senior Member

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    only on very localised scales and over short time periods - we haven't been able to produce any effects that are likely to make much of a difference over large scales in the same way that areas that receive natural iron fertilisation from terrestrial sources do - we aren't sure why that is.

    There's a potential banana skin with iron fertilisation as well - it looks like iron fertilsed areas of ocean tend to produce a different assemblage of phytoplankton species to those that are usually found there. We know that a lot of the key species that feed on the phytoplankton and form crucial links to higher trophic levels can be very fussy eaters, so by changing the base of the food chain we might well affect the whole ecosystem.
     
  17. synthesizer-patel Sweep the leg Johnny! Valued Senior Member

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    this is correct - the term ocean acidification is something of a misnomer - they aren't becoming acidic and never will - they are becoming less basic - but oceanic de-alkalinification doesn't roll off the tongue quite as easily

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    the problem however doesn't seem to be so much the change in pH that results from an increase in atmospheric CO2 dissolving into the oceans, it's the way that this changes the carbon chemistry of the oceans, and the effects this can have upon calcifying organisms (things that build shells or limestone skeletons).
    Most marine calcifiers rely on seawater that is saturated with calcium carbonate - but as more co2 dissolves in the oceans, the relative concentrations of different carbon species changes, reducing the carbonate concentrations.

    The available literature on the subject is pretty sparse at present - there's a lot of reviews, a lot of very general work on larger scale biogeochemical cycles (mostly model based), but very little hands on practical work on the direct effects on marine biota - and much of that is either incomplete, or contradictory. So we really have no idea of what is going to happen.
     
  18. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, but we do have some history....

    Corals are one of the oldest animals on the planet, approx. 450 million years old and still going strong. The modern version of the animal we now call coral is about 150 million years old and for their first 50 million years the CO2 levels ranged from about 1,000 ppm to almost 3,000 ppm and global temperatures were from 2 to 5 degrees C warmer than present. So we know they have lived through periods that had many more times the the level of CO2 and temperaures that far exceed what is predicted even several hundred years from now, and from their far ranging fossils we know that they were anything but an isolated species.

    Corals today are virtually unchanged from their 150 million year old prehistoric ancesotors which is why we classify the 150 million year old versions as "modern", unlike their prehistoric 450 million year old predecessors (who were around when CO2 was over 6,000 ppm and temps were 8 C warmer)

    And


    And:

    .


    http://www.fis.com/fis/worldnews/wo...&special=&monthyear=&day=&id=34805&ndb=1&df=0

    Arthur
     
  19. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    If this is what pollution has done to the environment over the past 100 years or so with less than 6 billion people inhabiting the Earth, imagine what the pollution is going to be like with over 15 billion people that will be living on Earth in the next 100 years or less. I won't be here, thankfully , to see that mess.
     
  20. Kennyc Registered Senior Member

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  21. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    You're a little behind the information curve. The second derivative of population went negative around 1980, i.e., the rate of growth began to slow. The first derivative will go negative sometime in the next 60-100 years, i.e., for the first time in tens of thousands of years the population will begin to decrease. The maximum is universally predicted to be right around ten billion.

    It turned out that the best contraceptive is prosperity.

    So rather than worrying about a population disaster that isn't going to happen, for the first time since Adam Smith we need to worry about developing an economic system that does not rely on an ever-increasing number of producers and consumers as its engine of prosperity.
     
  22. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    Hate to say it, but you have no idea what you're talking about.

    "Interesting" that you firstly say you distrust the claims of scientists, and cite lack of substance to back up a single fact, then you claim something which has no substance to back it up.

    Way to go, Art.
     
  23. synthesizer-patel Sweep the leg Johnny! Valued Senior Member

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    Adoucette - sorry I should have been a bit clearer - I'm in broad agreement with a lot of what you said, but there are a few key considerrations that you are missing.

    While it's clear that overall the biota of our oceans are going to make it through this in the long term - because they have survived worse warming and equal or higher inputs of atmospheric co2 in the past - what is much more difficult to predict is the effect upon ecosystems at large in the shorter term, particularly as while we have seen similar oceanic and atmospheric co2 regimes in the past, the rate of the change we are seeing at the moment is unprecendented.

    I'm with you on the point about feedback mechanisms, and I've yet to be completely convinced that many of the models that are used for predicting global biogemochemical cycles take them into account fully - models have a tendency in mine and some of my colleagues view, to be a bit like toasters

    In terms of coral survival, biogeography and genetic evidence indicates strongly that most modern corals are all descendants are survivors of a relatively small ancestral colony (located somewhere in the region of where the philipines are today (if you've ever wondered why east asian coral reefs are the most diverse and carribean reefs are the least diverse, there's your answer)) that somehow managed to survive the last major "acidification" / warming event. Considering that modern corals are still expremely sentivie to changes in temperature and carbon chemistry, this suggests that the reason they survived was due to their being located in an area that the worst of the environmental conditions missed, rather than the fact that they retained an ability to withstand those conditions.
    In other words, most of the corals that are able to withstand the conditions you described are now exctinct. And again we also need to consider the rate of change rather than just its magnitude - given suficient time organisms can adapt - the concern is that the rate of environmental change might be too fast for some.

    I'm familiar with the Cohen paper and the work she's done with Justin Ries, and have even corresponded with Anne by email on a couple of occasions, and while it echoes the findings of a number of other studies - specifically that crustaceans tend to do rather well in elevated co2 environments (probably due to the fact they tend to ustilise magnesium carbonate rather than calcium carbonate) - it would be wise not to lean on it too heavily when it comes to extrapolating that data to other marine environments. Consider for example that the organisms that live there have been evolving there for some considerable time - so it shouldnt be any surprise that they flourish there.
     
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