Acidification

First They Came for the Sardines…

From the keyboard of Thomas Lewis
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The fish held a meeting, and decided to spread the alarm, but it was too late. They were all dead. (Photo James Palinsad/Flickr)

The fish held a meeting, and decided to spread the alarm, but it was too late. They were all dead. (Photo James Palinsad/Flickr)

First published at The Daily Impact  March 24, 2015

You see the stories here and there, usually in local West Coast papers and on specialized websites. One has a gross picture of a dissolving starfish, another a heart-tugger of a starving sea lion pup. Then there are the stories that have no pictures  because they are about something that isn’t there, such as sardines and krill. Or something that is happening but cannot be watched, like the slow impassive death of oyster beds. It takes a while for it to begin to dawn on you: Holy Crap! Everything on our Pacific Ocean coast seems to be dying!

In yet another tribute to the limitations of expertise and the need for generalists, you seldom find a review of everything that is assaulting the creatures of the western sea. So let us try to step into the vacuum, which we abhor.

  • Starfish. Millions of sea stars have died along the West Coast from Alaska to Mexico in the past two years, afflicted by a pathogen that causes them to get multiple lesions, disintegrate and turn to mush. Fearing extinction, 12 members of Congress are pushing legislation to declare an emergency and fund research. So that should take care of that.
  • Sea Lions. For three years, sea lion pups by the hundreds — more than 1450 so far this year just in California, the worst year on record —have been washing up on shore dead or nearly so, from hunger, disease and parasites.
  • Sardines. The population of Pacific sardines has collapsed. Estimated at 1.5 million metric tons in 2007, the size of the stock has declined by 90%, to just 150,000 metric tons. In a few weeks the Pacific Fishery Management Council is expected to ban fishing of sardines until they can recover, although no one thinks overfishing has had anything to do with the decline.
  • Shellfish. Beginning in 2009, shellfish larvae have been dying in stunning numbers of the coast of Washington, Oregon and British Columbia. Since then other hot spots on both coasts have also been experiencing high shellfish mortality. The industry on the West Coast reports that its revenues are down 70 to 80 per cent.
  • Birds. In the last year, an estimated 50-100 thousand Cassin’s auklets, small divers that feed on krill, have died and washed ashore on West Coast beaches. They showed no evidence of disease or trauma, they simply starved to death. This is the latest in a wave of similar die-off affecting pigeons, pelicans and several other species.
  • Whales. Orca whale pods off British Columbia and Alaska are reported suffering extremely high infant mortality rates — approaching 100% — along with adult deaths and unusual behavior.

Any one of these stories is scary (oddly, very few of them mention any of the others). Put all the stories together and they are terrifying. And terrified minds want to know: what’s doing it? What one thing is the cause of all this, and which magic pill can we take to make it go away?

Unfortunately it never works that way. Contributing causes range from ocean acidification (shellfish) to warmer water (sardines) to altered currents, to pathogens enabled by all the above, to food-source changes caused by all the above. But if you follow each chain of evidence all the way back — what’s warming the water, making it more acid, changing the currents, screwing with the food sources — and you will come hard up against the massive pollution gushing from the smokestacks and sewage pipes of the industrial age.

Once again we meet the enemy. Once again, it’s us.

 


 

Thomas Lewis is a nationally recognized and reviewed author of six books, a broadcaster, public speaker and advocate of sustainable living. He also is Editor of The Daily Impact website, and former artist-in-residence at Frostburg State University. He has written several books about collapse issues, including Brace for Impact and Tribulation. Learn more about them here.

 

 

Geotectonic Ocean Heat Transfer Theory Revisited

Off the Keyboard of RE

Discuss this article at the Geological & Cosmological Events Table inside the Diner

I had a terrific discussion of Geotectonic Ocean Heat Transfer Theory with Gail Tverberg of Our Finite World in the Commentary of her recent article Reaching financial limits–What kinds of solutions are available?

It remains very important to consider the possibility/likelihood that the Global Climate Change we see occurring may not be Anthropogenic in origin. Many of the Policy Decisions and Economic decisions being made now are based on the idea that Cliimate Change is Anthropogenic, and that by pursuing Strategies like Carbon Tax Credits we might be able to alter the Climactic System enough to prevent further damage to the Ocean and Atmospheric systems currently being affected.

If it is true that the Earth is undergoing a Geological Phase Shift that is producing the effects, then it really does not pay to try and stop that, we won’t be able to do it.  Rather what we have to do is figure out means by which to live in a World vastly changed in Climate from what it is now. This could include such adaptations as shifting the locations where most people live to areas which might be more survivable, growing more food through Hydroponics in areas being DRENCHED with extensive Rainfall and moving food Production AWAY from areas experiencing Extreme Drought and perhaps even developing more Underground living arrangements to Ride Out the Storms, so to speak, until hopefully the situation reverts again once this cycle is done with.  If it does not revert,there really is not much to do about it, we are TOAST when the Phytoplankton Collapse.

Anyhow, below follows my discussion with Gail which clarifies many of these issues.  I suggest you read this and the original Geotectonic Ocean Heat Transfer Theory article here on the Diner before drawing the conclusion that Climate Change is necessarily Anthropogenic in Origin.

RE

  •  

     

    Thanks!

    Any more news on your theory about heat coming from the center of the earth, rather than atmospheric warming?

     

     

    • reverseengineerre says:

       

       

      The Good Newz would be that it appears we reached Peak Quakes in terms of frequency between 2004-2007 maxing out at a little over 30,000 Quakes/year of any magnitude globally. The Bad Newz would be that the largest magnitude quakes greater than Mag 5 are still showing significant and steady increase, with concomitant high energy releases far greater than thousands of Hiroshima Bombs dropped each year. These along with numerous 7+ quakes releasing energies which dwarf the Tsar Bomba, the largest thermonuclear device ever detonated.

      You can do the calculations yourself Gail, you’re an Actuary.  The increased Energy Release coming from the Earth over the last 20 years dwarfs the Heat Content of all the Oil and Coal burned since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution by several Orders of Magnitude. No contest between Mother Earth and Homo Sapiens as to who can ramp up Energy Release more.  Its like the Dallas Cowbows taking on the Pop Warner Fotball Team from Timbuktu.  If you know any Physics at all, you know by Conservation of Energy it has to go somewhere.  What is the Biggest Heat Sink on the surface of Planet Earth Gail?

      You want to check this for yourself, go visit Dlindquist’s website and the USGS Earthquake stats.

      http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqarchives/year/eqstats.php http://research.dlindquist.com/quake/historical/

      RE http://doomsteadiner.com

       

       

    •  

       

      I think I mentioned earlier that when I went to an actuarial meeting last year, one of the topics being discussed was the rise in large magnitude earthquakes, and the fact that it was of concern to insurers. So I wasn’t surprised at what you were showing.

      My physics is pretty limited. I’m afraid I don’t know how to compare earth movement to other types of energy. (I do know the energy has to go somewhere.)

       

       

    • reverseengineerre says:

       

       

      The Law of Conservation of Energy states, “Energy is neither Created nor Destroyed, only transformed from one form to another.”

      In the case of Fossil Fuels, the potential energy stored as chemical energy in the Bonds between the Carbon atoms.  When burned with Oxygen, said energy is released as Heat.  In the case of Nuclear Energy, the stored energy is inside the Nucleus and is far greater, and when Fission or Fusion occur, again you get energy released as Heat, along with High Energy radiation in the form of Gamma Rays and X-rays.  In Earthquakes, you have the potential energy stored mechanically, and the movement of large masses in the end is transformed into vibrations which transform to Heat.

      ALL of them are measured in the same units, Joules,Calories, BTUs whatever.  There is no fundamental difference between them all.  In any event, when a Quake goes off, unlike a Nuclear reaction it cannot change any of its mechanical energy into high energy radiation, it all has to go out as Heat.On the surface of the Earth, all this Heat really has one mainHeat Sink, and that is the Ocean which constitutes about 75%of the surface material, and Water has the second highest Heat Capacity of any known compound, the only greater one is Ammonia which does not exist in anywhere near the quantity water does on Earth.

      The only place for the Energy released by Quakes is into the World Oceans, and from there it gets radiated out into the Atmosphere in a variety of ways.  Many by increased Evaporationof the Water, driving more of it up into the atmosphere.  Thus you get the kind of extreme rainfall situation you see now in the Manila and in Shanghai, where apparently if you BELIEVE  Chinese Stats they relocated 1.5 MILLION People.

      There are other synergistic effects to consider from the changing gas mix in the atmosphere, but overall albedo effects tend to offset greenhouse effects so overall atmospheric temperature is not rising that rapidly.The primary source of the increased energy input here though?  Not the Sun, not the burned Fossil fuels either.  Its coming from deep down inside the Core of the Earth.  for whatever the reason, the Earth is dissipating at least one order of magnitude if not 2 greater energy now than 20 years ago.  That is  LOT of energy to transform to Heat.

      RE

       

       

    •  

       

      Thanks!

      It had never occurred to me that the energy of the greater number / strength of earthquakes would be stored in the earth’s ocean as heat, or that the magnitude of the stored heat would be as high as you say. (Of course, my physics background is mostly what I have “picked up” here and there.)

      I remember that you posted a graph of the higher ocean temperature. Also a description of where you were able to calculate this from.

      You have also shown links to the rise in earthquakes, which seems to have tailed off a bit recently. Have you done an actual calculation of the amount of energy that would be stored from the increase in earthquakes to connect the two?

      Is this all in one post, or multiple places? I am not as good using your search engine as you are, and I sometimes forget what I have read where.

       

       

    • reverseengineerre says:

       

       

      The original article I wrote is actually a compilation of stuff I wrote together with a Geology buff named Stormbringer who I met on the Peak Oil message board. Together we ran one of the longest running threads on the board which went hundreds of pages deep during the Yellowstone Quake Swarm. I put it together in an article on the Diner

      http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2012/04/02/geotectonic-ocean-heat-transfer-theory/

      In terms of total energy, the increase in Heat Content of the Oceans is greater than the summation of all the energies of the Quakes alone.  However, quakes are not the only method by which the Earth dissipates Heat, Vulcanism on the sea floor is extensive around the subduction zones and there is direct thermal radiation through the crust as well below the sea bed where it is the thinnest.  Sort of like a pot of water on a Hot Plate.

      The best way to see the correlation between the two is to overlay the graphs of the Quakes with the graph of the increasing Heat Content of the Oceans over the 20 year time span, they match in lock step.

      The most frightening correlation is one I came upon later, which is the rapidly decreasing pH or acidification that is resulting from this.  It probably comes from two places, increasing Sulfur emissions from subsea volcanoes and melting Clathrates releasing gobs of CO2 from the ocean floor and bubbling it straight up through the water.  This produces Sulfuric, Sulfurous and Carbonic Acid. At current rates of acidification, it probably takes no more than 30-50 years before the Ocean is too acidic to support any shell based sea life like Coral Reefs.  How long the phytoplankton can last is a more difficult question, because they probably can adapt to higher acidity to an extent.  If the phytoplankton collapse, we are of course all dead, Oxygen percentage in the atmosphere will drop rapidly after that and all higher animal life will go to the Great Beyond in short order.

      One can take a certain amount of HOPE looking at the now decreasing frequency of quakes that this will level off before it collapses the phytoplankton.  However, the energy dissipation is still quite large because the most powerful quakes are still on the increase. Only Time will tell on that one..

      RE

       

       

    •  

       

      Thanks! I see that the ocean heat content graph is actually one from a NOAA web site you link to. http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/  No one can complain that you misinterpreted NOAA data.

      My chemistry background is only a little better than my physics background. I was presuming that the ocean acidification problems were coming only because of too much CO2 in the atmosphere. If the exposure is really form the bottom as well, this would increase the speed of acidification.

      If there is a different avenue of ocean/climate disturbance that is taking place, it seems like it would be worthwhile for someone with suitable background to write an article for an academic journal on the issue. Or perhaps post some comments on a blog that discusses more climate issues, where other climate modelers “hang out”.

       

       

    • reverseengineerre says:

       

       

      That would be me except I have the same opinion of Academic Journals I do for MSM outlets like Bizness Insider and Financial Sense.  In terms of discussing this on one of the Climate websites, that would be a bit like a Marxist arguing for Communism on Zero Hedge.  The Anthropogenic Group Think would swamp you in no time.  Discussing it with Guy McPherson for instance is like talking to a brick wall.

      RE

Knarf plays the Doomer Blues

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