Ocean crisis or hot air?

Posted: July 3, 2015 by oldbrew in alarmism, climate, Ocean dynamics, opinion, propaganda

The carbon cycle [credit: laurencenet.net]

The carbon cycle [credit: laurencenet.net]

The BBC enthusiastically churns out another alarm-filled report on the supposed state of the climate, this time focussing on the oceans. But look closer and there are some awkward questions. First the report:

Scientists have warned that marine life will be irreversibly changed unless CO2 emissions are drastically cut.

Writing in Science, experts say the oceans are heating, losing oxygen and becoming more acidic because of CO2.

They warn that the 2C maximum temperature rise for climate change agreed by governments will not prevent dramatic impacts on ocean systems.

And they say the range of options is dwindling as the cost of those options is skyrocketing.

Twenty-two world-leading marine scientists have collaborated in the synthesis report in a special section of Science journal. They say the oceans are at parlous risk from the combination of threats related to CO2.

They believe politicians trying to solve climate change have paid far too little attention to the impacts of climate change on the oceans.

It is clear, they say, that CO2 from burning fossil fuels is changing the chemistry of the seas faster than at any time since a cataclysmic natural event known as the Great Dying 250 million years ago.

They warn that the ocean has absorbed nearly 30% of the carbon dioxide we have produced since 1750 and, as CO2 is a mildly acidic gas, it is making seawater more acidic.

It has also buffered climate change by absorbing over 90% of the additional heat created by industrial society since 1970. The extra heat makes it harder for the ocean to hold oxygen.

Full report: CO2 emissions threaten ocean crisis – BBC News.
Now the awkward questions.
First, they don’t mention the fact that warmer oceans expel surplus CO2 as a normal part of the carbon cycle.

Second, they ignore the scientific fact that long-wave radiation can’t penetrate the ocean surface, so how is CO2 supposed to ‘heat up the oceans’?

Third, they exaggerate about ‘ocean acidification’ as explained here.

The public will be mostly unaware of these things and many will assume the ongoing demonisation of CO2 is valid because the BBC says so, but it isn’t.

  1. Jaime says:

    The BBC, as a supposedly ‘impartial’ publicly funded broadcaster, should be forced to retract this fount of disinformation and threatened with prosecution if it persists in wilfully deceiving the public on the issues surrounding climate change (natural and hypothesised anthropogenic).

  2. oldbrew says:

    Jaime: they will just say they are reporting what some scientists have said. Of course they get to decide which scientists to report on :/

    Latest: DECC facing 90% staff cuts

  3. Graeme No.3 says:

    Given their achievements to date, and this outpouring of crap, I would say that 90% cuts to the DEC are far too little.
    The cause of Great Extinction in the Permian Period is still a matter of debate, but given that similar levels, or changed in levels, of carbon dioxide didn’t result in catastrophe it is likely that some alternative explanation e.g. sulphur gases from the Siberian Traps eruptions, might be a candidate.
    The claim that CO2 causes rising temperatures AND ocean “acidification” illustrates the lack of scientific knowledge, and simple logic, among climatologists. As our host points out Henry’s law is a problem. The other is that CO2 addition to sea water is largely as dissolved gas, not reacting much below pH > 10 and being buffered when it does. Another might well be that the White Cliffs of Dover (including the South Downs) were laid down by marine life (with carbonate skeletons) over millions of years when the temperature and CO2 levels were much higher than at present.

  4. Phill says:

    In this current era, the sea constantly fills from the bottom upwards with super cold salty water that drops to the bottom from polar regions. This cold water fills the oceans nearly to the surface. Estimates are that it takes 1000 years for the cycle to complete. The ocean floor is 4 to 6km down. The Argo buoys only drop down the first two km. Any measure based on the top half of the Ocean really is a mix of recent surface temperatures and centuries old water gradually lifting to the surface. The recent climate signal in the ocean is both at the very top and at the very bottom of the oceans and since at the moment there is no true measure of how the deep ocean is changing no one really knows whether the Oceans are warming or cooling.

    It wasn’t always like that, in some eras the water that fell to the bottom came from shallow embayed tropical seas where the intense evaporation made the trapped tropical waters so salty that they fell to the bottom. At the moment the Mediterranean outflow and some water from the Red Seas are a little like this. This heavy water tries to make it to the bottom but stops well before. It all depends on where the continents are. Wrap them around the equator like they were in the Cryogenian, the oceans began to fill with cold water and the world eventually froze all the way to the equator. Spread them out north to south, bolt Antarctica back onto South America and a new world emerges. The ocean begins to fill with warm water, tropical water is directed towards the poles. The whole earth becomes tropical. Not that long ago my area, Victoria, was below the Antarctic circle but had dinosaurs walking around an ice free landscape.

    The deep sea has cooled some incredible amount since Antarctica got isolated at the bottom to the world. The figure I remember is 14C. I really don’t think there is any point in getting het up about it.

  5. tom0mason says:

    There are 3 things wrong with the BBC reporting of the very slight warming causing de-oxygenizing of the seas to the point of possibly killing fish.

    1. Oxygen in the atmosphere is around 21%, CO2 is at 400ppm (0.04%). There is so much less CO2 than oxygen available to dissolve in the sea as shown by the figures for seawater — Oxygen = 34.3%, CO2 = 1.4%.

    2. Oxygen’s solubility in seawater varies with temperature, but not much! See Water Solubility of Oxygen,

    3. They reported that the oxygen is out-gassed as the temperature rises but failed to point out that this also happens to all common dissolved gases in seawater including CO2.

    The BBC is again just reporting what the Green Blob movement requires.

    [reply] the BBC term for this is ‘impartiality’ :/

  6. Richard111 says:

    I’ve long accepted that the BBC is a socialist propaganda machine and not to trust any of their so called ‘news’, this includes the daily weather forecast.
    Now here is something interesting in the non PC sense regarding ‘greenhouse gases’…


  7. Jaime says:

    You’re right oldbrew. The BBC will report on the ‘science’ which promotes global warming dogma but conveniently neglects to mention other research which refutes the alarmist claims. Eye opening comments from Doug McNeall – one of the more moderate exponents of AGW – over at Bishop Hill. I posted a comment which I take the liberty of reproducing here:

    Harrabin: ” . . . scientists say humans are changing the seas ten times faster than at this catastrophic event . . . .”

    Doug McNeall: “It took an estimated 20,000 years for the 6 degree warming to happen, rather than, say a couple of centuries”.

    Firstly, human emissions of CO2 account for about 4Gt annually, accumulating in the atmosphere. The PETM was caused by an increase in CO2 of 2000-3000Gt, so it would take at least 500 years at the current level of emissions to produce a PETM type event – admittedly a blink of an eye in terms of geological time, but a very long time in terms of human society and the advancement of technology.

    It has been postulated that this CO2 was derived from an enormous release of methane hydrates beneath an ocean stability zone much thinner than it is today. A research paper released last summer shows that this methane (or atmospheric CO2) release (at least the initial very large pulse) occurred effectively INSTANTANEOUSLY, i.e. over a period very much less than centuries. I quote:

    “The single greatest hurdle hindering understanding of the PETM CIE has been uncertainty in the timing of the carbon added to the ocean–atmosphere system: the release schedule greatly affects the amount of 13C-depleted carbon necessary to produce the globally observed CIE at any given isotope composition, due to the differential reaction time of Earth’s exchangeable carbon reservoirs. The second unknown has been the size of the atmospheric response. Our high-resolution stable isotope records from the Marlboro Clay provide constraints for both. We demonstrate that the initial release was rapid, if not instantaneous.”

    The authors suggest two mechanisms: massive release of methane or massive release of carbon from an extraterrestrial impact. As regards the magnitude of this release the authors say: “Our observations and revised release rate are consistent with an atmospheric perturbation of 3,000-gigatons of carbon (GtC)” – a vastly greater amount of carbon than we are emitting from fossil fuels and occurring over a much shorter timescale.

    “Assuming a pre-CIE atmospheric reservoir of 2,000 GtC (with a δ13C of −6‰) (70) and an instantaneous release, a mass balance calculation gives an estimate of the amount of carbon necessary to produce the ∼20‰ atmospheric excursion. No realistic amount of organic carbon (approximately −26‰) can produce a −20‰ atmospheric change (>100,000 GtC is needed). Thermogenic (−40‰) and biogenic methane (−60‰) sources would require 2,900 and 1,200 GtC, respectively, to produce the −20‰ atmospheric excursion. Given the rapidity of the onset, magnitude of the δ13C excursion, and that the observed calcite compensation depth shoaling in deep ocean requires ∼3,000 GtC (3), two mechanisms meet these criteria: large igneous province-produced thermogenic methane (6, 7) and cometary carbon (11, 12). The latter is consistent with the recent discovery of a substantial accumulation of nonbiogenic magnetic nanoparticles in the Marlboro clay, whose origin is best ascribed to impact condensate (71). If released as CO2, this would be consistent with observations of an ∼5 °C global warming, although we note that the radiative effect of a methane release, while short lived, is substantially greater than CO2.”

    In conclusion, the authors note:

    “Finally, the revised timescale for the rate of carbon release at the onset of the PETM limits its usefulness as an analog for our current anthropogenic release.”

    So why didn’t the BBC paraphrase its prognostications of doom and gloom with at least a reference to this paper particularly, but to other research which tends to refute the ‘humans could cause another PETM’ theory?
    Jul 4, 2015 at 9:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterJaime Jessop

  8. oldbrew says:

    Harrabin likes to lay it on with a trowel doesn’t he? Of course nobody gets a chance to question his dodgy outpourings so it’s like a free advert for warmism at the expense of licence payers 😦

  9. Curious George says:

    BBC can take extreme creationist views in an interest of common good. (He who has gold determines what a common good is.)