Thongchai Thailand


Posted on: August 13, 2020

The oceans are acidifying at the fastest rate in 300 million years ...







  1. Humboldt Bay has been fertile ground for oyster farmers for decades. The multimillion-dollar industry has sustained the small communities that dot the Northern California coastline. However, recent harvests have come up short and have put many small, family-owned businesses at risk. Fresh oysters are getting harder and harder to come by and it’s all due to one factor: Ocean Acidification. As more carbon has entered the atmosphere, the oceans have become more acidic, hurting not only oyster farmers but marine food webs across the world.
  2. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the mid-18th century, carbon dioxide in our atmosphere increased from 280 parts ppm to above 410 ppm due to the burning of fossil fuels. Combustion,of fossil fuels creates CO2, a greenhouse gas (GHG), which traps some of the sun’s heat in our atmosphere, allowing us to live in a warm, habitable planet, and not a freezing wasteland. However, the human-caused increase of these gasses has led to higher global temperatures and caused changes in our climate, like more frequent and intense storms and wildfires, etc.
  3. But there is another problem with too much atmospheric CO2 – the ocean absorbs 30% of CO2 from the atmosphere. When CO2 is dissolved in the ocean, it forms carbonic acid (H2CO3) and increases the acidity of the water. This is a naturally occurring process called carbon sequestration, which also helps keep our planet at a livable temperature. Oceanic phytoplankton and algae also absorb CO2, which they use to photosynthesize, breathing it in and releasing oxygen out. However, with so much extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the ocean is starting to become too acidic.
  4. Measuring the potential hydrogen (pH) content of water tells us how acidic or basic water is. The pH scale is from 0 to 14, with 7 is the neutral point (pure water). The closer a solution’s pH is to 0, the more acidic it is; the closer a solution’s pH is to 14, the more basic it is. Ocean water is still slightly alkaline, or basic. But since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the ocean pH levels have dropped from 8.2 to 8.1. This seems small, but it’s actually equal to a 30% increase in acidity. By the end of this century, if we continue to burn fossil fuels at our current rate, ocean pH could drop to under 7.8 pH, more than 150% more acidic than ever previously observed in human existence. In fact, ocean water hasn’t seen a pH level that low in more than 20 million years. pH is measuring in a base 10 scale – meaning that a solution with a pH of 3 is 10 times more acidic than a solution with a pH of 4.
  5. Why does ocean acidification matter?  The ocean is vital to all life on Earth, from the marine creatures to humans all around the planet who rely on the ocean for their livelihood. Even though most of us don’t spend the majority of our time in the ocean, our actions on the land affect everything the sea, like its temperature, acidity, and the well-being of its plants and animals.
  6. Even small shifts in pH can make a big difference in the health of marine critters. Calcifying organisms (e.g. snails, clams, crabs, lobsters, and oysters, various ocean plants, and pteropods) have shells or skeletons that are made out of calcium carbonate. Coral polyps, animals that live in large colonies, are also made out of calcium carbonate and are the building blocks of coral reefs. More acidic salt water makes it more difficult for these calcifying organisms to build and maintain their shells, making it harder for them to survive.
  7. Changes in ocean chemistry can even hurt non-calcifying animals. The Seattle Times reported that pollock, a valuable fish species on the U.S. West Coast, have a harder time finding other predators in more acidic water. The risks to these animals threaten entire global food webs, and humans are part of these food webs.
  8. Many jobs and economies are tied to fish and shellfish. The global mollusk aquaculture industry is worth more than $29 billion a year, and ocean acidification is a huge threat to this market. It is estimated that by 2100, losses due to declines in mollusk production from ocean acidification may be around USD 130 billion. Pacific Northwest oyster hatcheries have already been impacted, as they have seen declines in larval settlement and survival rates.
  9. Coral reefs are very important to everyone, not just those who live near these ecosystems. They are biodiversity hotspots, provide coastal protection, are important fisheries habitats, a source of life-saving medicine, and generate huge tourism and recreation value. And it’s not just about money. More than 3 billion people rely on food from the ocean as their primary source of protein. Without seafood to eat, many of these people will have to move where there is food available, and they will lose that healthy, local protein source.
  10. What can we do?  Despite this seemingly overwhelming challenge, many people around the world researching, educating and creating policies to help people mitigate and adapt to these changes. For instance, NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program builds relationships between scientists, resource managers, policymakers, and the public to better research and monitor the effects of changing ocean chemistry on ecosystems, like fisheries and coral reefs. Supporting programs like this help assure these important collaborations continue. Educational tools like NOAA Data in the Classroom’s ocean acidification module teaches students about ocean and coastal acidification through interactive web maps, apps, and videos.
  11. Shellfish farmers, whose livelihoods depend on healthy marine ecosystems, are preparing for these shifts in ocean chemistry. For example, Bill Mook grows tiny oysters in tanks in coastal Maine. Researchers have built and started using a “black box”, which measures the amount of carbonate in seawater pumped into his hatchery. This technology tells him how his oysters grow in different pH conditions, which may help these shellfish adapt to changing waters.
  12. To fight ocean acidification we must take Climate Action. Our energy system has powered our economy for a couple of centuries; now we need to move away from fossil fuels as an energy source and shift towards renewable power, like wave, solar and geothermal. Governments and industries must implement these cleaner systems on a large scale. It goes beyond just putting your own solar panels on your roof, but also working for change energy policy at the city, state, national, and even international level. The more people who take action and talk to our energy companies and governments, the more likely it is they will respond and start making this shift. If we act now, we can continue to enjoy healthy coral reefs, eat delicious oysters, and assure the survival of our One Ocean for generations to come.




  1. What the Seattle Times actually wrote about the Pollock “Alaska pollock accounts for 40% of the U.S. commercial fish catch, and feeds a billion-dollar industry based in Seattle. The pollock boom of the 1980s and 1990s was a boost for the industrial and maritime economy oof Seattle. The major pollock stocks are in in the Eastern Bering Sea where the pollock population is stable but there is some fear of over-fishing the pollock as was done before by the Japanese and the Koreans.Juvenile pollock eat zooplankton and small fish. Older pollock feed on other fish, and juvenile pollock. Many fish species and seabirds feed on pollock.
  2. There is no evidence that the pollock is threatened by ocean acidification. If there is a threat to this industry, it is over-fishing and perhaps the pollock itself, a species that eats its own young for lunch.
  3. Most of the article expresses a worry about the a ability of bivalves such as oysters and pteropods to survive ocean acidification. This analysis leads to the conclusion that we must take climate action to get rid of fossil fuels and move our energy infrastructure to renewable energy that includes solar and wind. No evidence is found that bivalves are endangered by ocean acidification (see bibliography below). What we find in the literature is that bivalves thrive in high carbonate environments such as hydrothermal vent ecosystems as shown in the two Youtube videos presented above and in this related post [LINK] .
  4. The point of the discussion on ocean acidification is then presented as an urgent need for a solution to what is presented as a danger to the survival of ocean life such as bivalves and pollock. the solution suggested is that we must at once take climate action. We must cease and desist the use of fossil fuels that are creating the CO2 30% of which is responsible for the ocean acidification horror described. To do that we must overhaul the world energy infrastructure away from fossil fuels and to renewable energy specifically wind and solar. Prior demands for climate action to avert extreme weather, forest fires, droughts, floods, and heatwaves and thereby to save the planet has not had the impact sought and it is thought that the Bambi Principle applied to bivalves will be what it takes to get rid of fossil fuels and to embrace wind and solar.
  5. In related posts we show that observed changes in ocean acidification cannot be explained in terms of fossil fuel emissions because there are not enough fossil fuel emissions to explain the changes. This finding is further strengthened with detrended correlation analysis that shows the absence of a correlation relationship that is necessary for the causation assumed. [LINK] [LINK] .
  6. It is relevant in this context, that the ocean has access to far more carbon directly from geological sources in the mantle in terms of mantle plumes, magmatism, submarine volcanism, tectonics, and hydrothermal vents. These sources of carbon dioxide are described in a related post [LINK]  and a survey of the relevant literature on this topic is presented in the bibliography below. It should be mentioned that most of the world’s volcanism – more than 80%, is submarine.
  7. It is also relevant here to point out that of the mass of the ocean and atmosphere taken together, the atmosphere is an insignificant portion. It is an extreme form of the atmosphere bias of climate science that insists that all changes in the ocean, including changes in its chemistry, must be understood in terms of events in the atmosphere.
  8. The study of ocean acidification should consider that ocean acidification events in the paleo record show that the ocean can and does acidify itself – as for example in the PETM event 55 million years ago when the acidification was entirely geological. [LINK] . The notion that ocean acidification is caused by fossil fuel emissions is the result of the atmosphere bias in climate science or perhaps the anti fossil fuel activism of climate science that appears to be the primary factor in the science even more so than the science itself.

Another link between CO2 and mass extinctions of species






  1. Baker, Edward T., and Christopher R. German. “On the global distribution of hydrothermal vent fields.” Mid-Ocean Ridges: Hydrothermal Interactions Between the Lithosphere and Oceans, Geophys. Monogr. Ser 148 (2004): 245-266.  The “magmatic budget hypothesis” proposes that variability in magma supply is the primary control on the large-scale hydrothermal distribution pattern along oceanic spreading ridges. The concept is simple but several factors make testing the hypothesis complex: scant hydrothermal flux measurements, temporal lags between magmatic and hydrothermal processes, the role of permeability, nonmagmatic heat sources, and the uncertainties of vent-field exploration. Here we examine this hypothesis by summarizing our current state of knowledge of the global distribution of active vent fields, which presently number ~280, roughly a quarter of our predicted population of ~1000. Approximately 20% of the global ridge system has now been surveyed at least cursorily for active sites, but only half that length has been studied in sufficient detail for statistical treatment. Using 11 ridge sections totaling 6140 km we find a robust linear correlation between either site frequency or hydrothermal plume incidence and the magmatic budget estimated from crustal thickness. These trends cover spreading rates of 10–150 mm/yr and strongly support the magma budget hypothesis. A secondary control, permeability, may become increasingly important as spreading rates decrease and deep faults mine supplemental heat from direct cooling of the upper mantle, cooling gabbroic intrusions, and serpentinization of underlying ultramafics. Preliminary observations and theory suggest that hydrothermal activity on hotspot-affected ridges is relatively deficient, although paucity of data precludes generalizing this result. While the fullness of our conclusions depends upon further detailed study of vent field frequency, especially on slow-spreading ridges, they are consistent with global distributions of deep-ocean Helium3, a magmatic tracer.
  2. German, Christopher R., Sven Petersen, and Mark D. Hannington. “Hydrothermal exploration of mid-ocean ridges: where might the largest sulfide deposits be forming?.” Chemical Geology 420 (2016): 114-126.  Here, we review the relationship between the distribution of modern-day seafloor hydrothermal activity along the global mid-ocean ridge crest and the nature of the mineral deposits being formed at those sites. Since the first discovery of seafloor venting, a sustained body of exploration has now prospected for one form of hydrothermal activity in particular – high temperature “black smoker” venting – along > 30% of the global mid-ocean ridge crest. While that still leaves most of that ~ 60,000 km continuous network to be explored, some important trends have already emerged. First, it is now known that submarine venting can occur along all mid-ocean ridges, regardless of spreading rate, and in all ocean basins. Further, to a first approximation, the abundance of currently active venting, as deduced from water column plume signals, can be scaled linearly with seafloor spreading rate (a simple proxy for magmatic heat-flux). What can also be recognized, however, is that there is an “excess” of high temperature venting along slow and ultra-slow spreading ridges when compared to what was originally predicted from seafloor spreading/magmatic heat-budget models. An examination of hydrothermal systems tracked to source on the slow spreading Mid-Atlantic Ridge reveals that no more than half of the sites responsible for the “black smoker” plume signals observed in the overlying water column are associated with magmatic systems comparable to those known from fast-spreading ridges. The other half of all currently known active high-temperature submarine systems on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge are hosted under tectonic control. These systems appear both to be longer-lived than, and to give rise to much larger sulfide deposits than, their magmatic counterparts — presumably as a result of sustained fluid flow. A majority of these tectonic-hosted systems also involve water–rock interaction with ultramafic sources. Importantly, from a mineral resource perspective, this subset of tectonic-hosted vent-sites also represents the only actively-forming seafloor massive sulfide deposits on mid-ocean ridges that exhibit high concentrations of Cu and Au in their surface samples (> 10 wt.% average Cu content and > 3 ppm average Au). Along ultraslow-spreading ridges, first detailed examinations of hydrothermally active sites suggest that sulfide deposit formation at those sites may depart even further from the spreading-rate model than slow-spreading ridges do. Hydrothermal plume distributions along ultraslow ridges follow the same (~ 50:50) distribution of “black smoker” plume signals between magmatic and tectonic settings as the slow spreading MAR. However, the first three “black smoker” sites tracked to source on any ultra-slow ridges have all revealed high temperature vent-sites that host large polymetallic sulfide deposits in both magmatic as well as tectonic settings. Further, deposits in both types of setting have now been revealed to exhibit moderate to high concentrations of Cu and Au, respectively. An important implication is that ultra-slow ridges may represent the strongest mineral resource potential for the global ridge crest, despite being host to the lowest magmatic heat budget.
  3. Baker, Edward T., et al. “How many vent fields? New estimates of vent field populations on ocean ridges from precise mapping of hydrothermal discharge locations.” Earth and Planetary Science Letters 449 (2016): 186-196.  Decades of exploration for venting sites along spreading ridge crests have produced global datasets that yield estimated mean site spacings. This conclusion demands that sites where hydrothermal fluid leaks from the seafloor are improbably rare along the 66 000 km global ridge system, despite the high bulk permeability of ridge crest axes. However, to date, exploration methods have neither reliably detected plumes from isolated low-temperature, particle-poor, diffuse sources, nor differentiated individual, closely spaced (clustered within a few kilometers) sites of any kind. Here we describe a much lower mean discharge spacing of 3–20 km, revealed by towing real-time oxidation–reduction–potential and optical sensors continuously along four fast- and intermediate-rate (>55 mm/yr) spreading ridge sections totaling 1470 km length. This closer spacing reflects both discovery of isolated sites discharging particle-poor plumes (25% of all sites) and improved discrimination (at a spatial resolution of ∼1 km) among clustered discrete and diffuse sources. Consequently, the number of active vent sites on fast- and intermediate-rate spreading ridges may be at least a factor of 3–6 higher than now presumed. This increase provides new quantitative constraints for models of seafloor processes such as dispersal of fauna among seafloor and crustal chemosynthetic habitats, biogeochemical impacts of diffuse venting, and spatial patterns of hydrothermal discharge.
  4. Baker, Edward Thomas, et al. “The NE Lau Basin: Widespread and abundant hydrothermal venting in the back-arc region behind a superfast subduction zone.” Frontiers in Marine Science 6 (2019): 382The distribution of hydrothermal venting reveals important clues about the presence of magma in submarine settings. The NE Lau Basin in the southwest Pacific Ocean is a complex back-arc region of widespread hydrothermal activity. It includes spreading ridges, arc volcanoes, and intra-plate volcanoes that provide a perhaps unique laboratory for studying interactions between hydrothermal activity and magma sources. Since 2004, multiple cruises have explored the water column of the NE Lau Basin. Here, we use these data to identify and characterize 43 active hydrothermal sites by means of optical, temperature, and chemical tracers in plumes discharged by each site. Seventeen of 20 prominent volcanic edifices dispersed among the Tofua arc, spreading ridges, and plate interiors host active hydrothermal sites. Fourteen apparently discharge high-temperature fluids, including a multi-year submarine eruption at the intra-plate volcano W Mata. The 430 km of spreading ridges host 31 active sites, one an eruption event in 2008. Our data show that the relationship between site spatial density (sites/100 km of ridge crest) and ridge spreading rate (8–42 mm/year) in the NE Lau Basin follows the same linear trend as previously established for the faster-spreading (40–90 mm/year) ridges in the central Lau Basin. The lower site density in the NE Lau Basin compared to the southern Lau is consistent with recent plate reconstructions that more than halved earlier estimates of ∼50–100 mm/year spreading rates in the NE Lau Basin. Combined data from the spreading ridges throughout the entire Lau back-arc basin demonstrates that hydrothermal sites, normalized to spreading rate, are ∼10× more common than expected based on existing mid-ocean ridge data. This increase documents the ability of meticulous exploration, using both turbidity and chemical sensors, to more fully describe the true hydrothermal population of a spreading ridge, compared to conventional techniques. It further reveals that the Lau back-arc basin, benefiting from both ridge and arc magma sources, supports an exceptionally high population of ridge and intra-plate hydrothermal sites.
  5. Lund, D. C., et al. “Enhanced East Pacific Rise hydrothermal activity during the last two glacial terminations.” Science 351.6272 (2016): 478-482.  Mid-ocean ridge magmatism is driven by seafloor spreading and decompression melting of the upper mantle. Melt production is apparently modulated by glacial-interglacial changes in sea level, raising the possibility that magmatic flux acts as a negative feedback on ice-sheet size. The timing of melt variability is poorly constrained, however, precluding a clear link between ridge magmatism and Pleistocene climate transitions. Here we present well-dated sedimentary records from the East Pacific Rise that show evidence of enhanced hydrothermal activity during the last two glacial terminations. We suggest that glacial maxima and lowering of sea level caused anomalous melting in the upper mantle and that the subsequent magmatic anomalies promoted deglaciation through the release of mantle heat and carbon at mid-ocean ridges.
  6. Geissler, Wolfram H., et al. “Thickness of the oceanic crust, the lithosphere, and the mantle transition zone in the vicinity of the Tristan da Cunha hot spot estimated from ocean-bottom and ocean-island seismometer receiver functions.” Tectonophysics 716 (2017): 33-51.  The most prominent hotspot in the South Atlantic is Tristan da Cunha, which is widely considered to be underlain by a mantle plume. But the existence, location and size of this mantle plume have not been established due to the lack of regional geophysical observations. A passive seismic experiment using ocean bottom seismometers aims to investigate the lithosphere and upper mantle structure beneath the hotspot. Using the Ps receiver function method we calculate a thickness of 5 to 8 km for the oceanic crust at 17 ocean-bottom stations deployed around the islands. Within the errors of the method the thickness of the oceanic crust is very close to the global mean. The Tristan hotspot seems to have contributed little additional magmatic material or heat to the melting zone at the mid-oceanic ridge, which could be detected as thickened oceanic crust. Magmatic activity on the archipelago and surrounding seamounts seems to have only affected the crustal thickness locally. Furthermore, we imaged the mantle transition zone discontinuities by analysing receiver functions at the permanent seismological station TRIS and surrounding OBS stations. Our observations provide evidence for a thickened (cold) mantle transition zone west and northwest of the islands, which excludes the presence of a deep-reaching mantle plume. We have some indications of a thinned, hot mantle transition zone south of Tristan da Cunha inferred from sparse and noisy observations, which might indicate the location of a Tristan mantle plume at mid-mantle depths. Sp receiver functions image the base of lithosphere at about 60 to 75 km beneath the islands, which argues for a compositionally controlled seismological lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary beneath the study area.




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