Friday, February 28, 2014

Does acidification overcome the one PhD theory?

My pet theory is that no matter how ridiculous a concept may be, you can find at least one person with a PhD in that field who will advocate it (e.g., a microscopic number of biologists who are creationists). So where are the marine biologists who don't think ocean acidification is a significant concern?

You'll find researchers who publish an occasional piece of good news about marine life adapting to acidifying oceans, but I'd like someone to show me a marine biologist who has gone on to make the general conclusion "meh, acidification isn't something to be worried about."

Maybe I've just missed it, that marine biologist is out there and can rescue my pet theory. Or maybe they just haven't seen the value in being the next Bozo Galileo. I think the climate denialists rarely get paid for their services but this person might be one of the exceptions. The psychological reward is still more likely, some level of acceptance of their heroism.

UPDATE:  see John and John comments below for a range of opinion re whether climate denialists are "rarely" paid. I agree with John that the issue is partly definitional. Probably worth its own separate post, but I think a useful context is the anti-fluoride activists and 9-11 Truthers - there's even less money to be made in their fields, and they're still legion, even if the latter group is declining.


Anonymous said...

Hey, I barely passed college chemistry, but what happened to the oceans during earlier periods of highs CO2?


John said...


You write

"I think the climate denialists rarely get paid for their services"

I respectfully disagree. I think a LOT of the climate denialists are paid, in cash or in power. See my 2012 review of the book by James Lawrence Powell, The Inquisition of Climate Science.

EliRabett said...

CIP: They were very different and how do you like your better tasting jellyfish appetizer?

Anonymous said...

"I think the climate denialists rarely get paid for their services"

But we know that the fossil fuel industry is paying more than a billion dollars a year for climate change denial. They are not funding putting satellites in space - it goes into people's pockets. And that's an awful lot more pockets than we can put names to.

Lionel A said...

Thank you John for reminding me to finish reading my copy of James Lawrence Powell's excellent book, which I had put down distracted by othre stuff.

Trouble is there is just so much material to read flying around at the moment with new papers published and reports from the UK Met' Office and the associated trouble of the likes of the GWPF (Lawson in the press and Benny 'the teaser' Peiser in a video launched on YouTube) distorting the message of the lessons we should draw from the storms that rattled across us recently.

As for a pH changed ocean, I doubt this would be healthy for the Lords of Monkfish.

And to anymous by the moniker of CIP, maybe you should look up stuff to answer your question for it isn't exactly an unknown.

rumleyfips said...

Google 'British Columbia scallop ocean acidification' for an idea of the harm .

caerbannog said...

And to anymous by the moniker of CIP, maybe you should look up stuff to answer your question for it isn't exactly an unknown.

And that's why CIP barely passed chemistry. In college, students are expected to show some initiative and look up stuff on their own. Those who don't get flunked out or are "barely passed" with "gentlemen's C-" (or lower) grades.

It's a shame that blog commenters can't be graded and flunked out in
in the same manner.

That's what the blogosphere needs: academic probation for trolls.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

what happened to the oceans during earlier periods of highs CO2?

And when and if he gets around to looking it up he (or she) would eventually run across ocean anoxic events. The first big one was carbon dioxide related, and the second bigger one was more sulfur related. They were however, pretty widespread but not to the level of completely overwhelming the ocean.

BillD said...

Here is the point. I am a biology professor and there are many scientific issues that I know very little about. I have read papers and reviewed grant proposals on effects of ocean acidification on mollusks. However, when I want to learn about a new topic, a quick Google Scholar search yields plenty of information. This is much better than assuming that not knowing about the science, means that the science does not exist. This seems typical of many denialists--they have never actually read a primary science article and assume that evidence, therefore, does not exist.

John Mashey said...

Paid: I agree more with Brian than John, and I have spent a lot if time tracking funding flows.
But this is a non-argument, caused by language imprecision.

Consider the American population studied by the Yale/GMU Six Americas folks. "Deniers" correspond to their "Dismissive" category, which was about 6% (as I recall, but I'm sitting in climate conference at UCSC, so not handy). (See also my review @ NCSE of Jim's book.

I think I can guarantee that less than half are getting paid in money, power, or ego.

Now take the tiny fraction who might be called "denialists" . I have a list if about 600 of the more active ones, including most of those who are fairly visible. Some clearly get paid in $, some might be, but via superb money-laundering, but for many it looks more like ideology or ego, or gone-emeritus-badly old guys.

(More later, first panel starting up, Dan Cayan, Jeffrey Kiehl, Ben Santer, Gsvin Schmidt.)

Jim Eager said...

CIP: think about rate of change then vs now. It's critical.

OnymousGuy said...

The chemistry-ignorant comments on this thread and your previous ocean acidification thread make me suspect that Chem Prof
has more work to do at the General Chemistry level, but I don't think he is willing to visit the loonies at WUWT ever again. If the pH of your ECF dropped by 0.2 pH units, you'd be dead. - OnymousGuy, an admirer of many of the furry regulars here.

Russell Seitz said...


Have you seen any ammonites ,trilobites, or for that matter hallucina lately ?

Anonymous said...

Herr Professor Doctor Elifutzy, aka the Puttzy Space Cadet,

"Southern Hemisphere Sea Ice Area reached a minimum of 2.447 Million Sq km on February 23th, 2014, which exceeded the prior 2nd highest minimum of 2.423 Million Sq km that occurred on February 22nd, 2013. The highest recorded Southern Hemisphere Sea Ice Area minimum remains 2.473 Million Sq km, which occurred on March 1st, 2003. "

EliRabett said...

CIP=Capitalist Imperialist Pig, an old friend of the Bunny.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

Southern Hemisphere Sea Ice Area

The topic is pH Bob. We've been over the sea ice thing already here in other posts, and there is a whole crank pH post just for you too. But if you want to go way off topic here, there is always Constellation, how has that been working out for you guys, Bob?

The denialati are getting nervous.

Brian said...

Once again, when the denialist changes the subject from the OP, I assume that's a concession that they have no critique to make of the OP.

Steve Bloom said...

Oh, was that the real CIP? Odd, he used to be able to look up the specifics of stuff like this. He did the same thing over at Stoat a few days back, asking questions about the Ordovician glaciation (the other subject some denialist retired engineer acquaintances of his had seized on of late), but when he was given citations being unwilling to so much as check Google Scholar for a public copy, instead expecting others to do the work for him.

Steve Bloom said...

I suppose I should add for casual readers that the oceans can eventually buffer the effects of high CO2, maintaining pH at more or less par if the rate of increase is sufficiently slow (which it almost always has been under natural conditions). So basically we are hitting the oceans with a hammer.

One interesting finding of paleoclimate is that the corals we have now are not the corals that existed prior to the P-T extinction, the most prominent example in the record of CO2 getting high in a hurry (due to a major volcanic outburst, which also resulted in extensive anoxic conditions as discussed above). Now we are the volcano.

Of possible interest to CIP although not his acquaintances (whose ossified brains will be forced to do the unpleasant work of looking up replacement denialist memes long since refuted by the science), the corals themselves can survive reef destruction (due to a combination of inundation, acidification, all the chemical glop we add to the water, and physical exploitation) in free-swimming polyp form, re-establishing reef colonies after things stabilize, but as the P-T event testifies only up to a point.

Anonymous said...

Anon-101a here:

"Hey, I barely passed college chemistry, but what happened to the oceans during earlier periods of highs CO2?"

Species had thousands of years to adapt to that level.

Try looking at a bit of biology.