GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 37, L02601, doi:10.1029/2009GL040999, 2010
As ocean acidification begins to make its mark, scientists have also begun to further examine different bodies of water in respect to the decreasing pH levels. Byrne and colleagues at the University of South Florida studied pH level changes in the Northern Pacific Ocean between 1991 and 2006 at various latitudes. pH levels were determined by spectrophotometry of samples collected along 152°W. Atmospheric CO2 levels were also determined for this time period, however using a model. Byrne and colleagues found that pH changes were largest at 29°N and 56°N, with pH levels sub 7.3. They believe this may be attributable to these areas having low O2 levels. Comparing the increases in atmospheric CO2 with the changes in pH levels, The team concluded that the rate of pH decrease is on par with atmospheric CO2 increases. This study provides additional evidence on ocean acidification, and its affects on yet another body of water.
This research article will be paramount in explaining why we are testing the hypothesis that we are testing. This article explains that other chemical compounds and ions can effect the acidity of the ocean more than carbon dioxide. The main arguement in this article is that other significant chemical compounds and ions have a great effect on eutrophication, which is turn has a greater influence on the acidity of the coastal oceans, that athropogenic carbon dioxide.
According to Borges and Gypens, marine organisms can respond to ocean acidification through nitrogen gas and nitrogen fixation. An increase in nitrogen can increase eutrophication, because nitrogen is a nutrient for many photosynthetic organisms and other bacteria. Our group will research any trends in nitrogen ion composition in the coastal oceans of Georgia, to determine if ocean acidificiation is occuring.
In the results section of this primary research article, Borges and gypens concluded that from 1990 to 1998 a decrease in the phosphate ions in a river resulted in a significant decrease in primary productions. They conducted simulations in which they compared other chemical compounds such as nitrogen, ammonium, phospate, and nitrate all show greater signifcant effects in the change in PH, a greater change in the saturation state of calcite and a greater change in the saturation state of aragonite.
JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 110, C09S04, doi:10.1029/2004JC002671, 2005
Ken Caldeira (Carnegie Institution) and Michael E. Wickett (LL National Laboratory) have performed an experiment that uses ocean models to predict the changes in ocean chemistry due to carbon dioxide (CO2) absorption. In this study, simulations of CO2 are injected into “the deep ocean interior,” while criteria such as aragonite undersaturation, calcite undersaturation, and pH level are measured. For the emission of CO2, two different pathways are considered 1) century-scale SRES pathways and 2) pathways that release a certain amount of CO2 over several centuries.
Some of the main results compiled include the fact that 5,000 Pg C causes aragonite undersaturation in the majority of the ocean, while 10,000 Pg C produces calcite undersaturation as well. Simulations of the SRES pathways predict a global pH drop of about .3-.5 units by 2300. And also by the year 2300, CO2 emissions of 5,000 Pg C are predicted to produce a .8 drop in pH, while those of 20,000 Pg C will produce a 1.4 unit drop. Thus, the results and simulations show that the changes in ocean chemistry caused by CO2 injection (analogous to anthropogenic absorption) are biologically significant.
The recycling cycle: An empirical examination of consumer waste recycling and recycling shopping behaviors
Journal of Public Policy and Marketing
Vol .19 issue 1 pages 93-105
Although recycling efforts have increased and pushes for multiple sustainability efforts have surfaces recently, waste production has also increased. Additionally, participation is nowhere near its potential.
This article first investigates how much waste consumers have generated over the years and how much of it was and is properly recycled. For example, between 1970 and 1995, per consumer per day waste output increased by 86 pounds (only 27% of which was recycled). It describes how the issue of recycling also falls under the category of international public policy. In this way, the article establishes recycling and waste production as a major issue and presents a case for its priority among other environmental or economical issues. The article uses its research data to establish a “recycling cycle” which consists of recycling waste, the subsequent purchase of recycled products. The main point this article makes is that recycling statistics not only indicate that attitudes toward the act of recycling not only affect recycling efforts but also the purchase of recycled materials. The research shows disrupting the aforementioned “recycling cycle” can easily affect recycling as a whole as well as the economy and the environment.
Ref: Acidification of subsurface coastal waters enhanced by eutrophication
Nature Geoscience, Vol. 4, L10706, DOI: 10.1038/NGEO1297 (2011)
According to a study by Wei-Jun Cai (Department of Marine Sciences, the University of Georgia) et al., eutrophication could increase the susceptibility of coastal waters to ocean acidification, by reducing the ability of these carbon dioxide-rich waters to buffer changes in pH.
Using data collected from the northern Gulf of Mexico and the East China Sea, the researchers have revealed that the CO2 produced during the decomposition (microbial respiration) of lush organic matter resulting from eutrophicated river plumes, has already enhanced the acidification of coastal subsurface waters. The greater pH decrease is caused by atmospheric anthropogenic CO2 input into O2-depleted and CO2-enriched waters (0.16 pH units) rather than the expected O2-rich and CO2-poor waters (0.11 units). They call this effect ‘enhanced ocean acidification’, emphasizing the biological amplification of the originally defined ‘ocean acidification’ concept.
The scientists predict that under future scenarios with higher atmospheric CO2 and current levels of eutrophication, there can be dramatic increases in acidification of coastal waters, resulting in major ecological and biogeochemical perturbations in these ecosystems.
Published online before print November 8, 2010
vol. 107 no. 47 20400-20404
This scientific report, like many others, speaks of the effects of increased dissolved CO2 (pCO2) in ocean water. This study focuses expressly on how varied pCO2 levels affect the recruitment and reproduction success of a specific Caribbean coral species Acropora palmate. This study used current pCO2 conditions as a basis and then continued on to test the recruitment process of this coral species in progressively higher pCO2 levels, all of which are expected to be reached by the end of the century. The impact of the elevated pCO2 levels tested showed a 52% and 73% reduction in the number of larval settlers on the reef under pCO2 conditions projected for the middle and the end of this century.
This study shows that pCO2, a recognized component of ocean acidification, without a doubt affects the success and longevity of a coral ecosystem. Not only does pCO2 do all this, but it also alters fundamentals of ocean chemistry such as the pH and aragonite saturation, furthering the detrimental effect on the Caribbean coral ecosystem.
Journal of Limnology and Oceanography, doi:10.4319/lo.2010.55.6.2424 (2010)
Since the dawn of the industrial age, oceans have been absorbing about 1/3 of the massive amounts of CO2 that humans have produced. When ocean water absorbs CO2 it makes carbonic acid which acidifies the ocean and decreases the saturation state of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). This event has consequences for organisms that rely on high saturation states to build their shells and skeletons.
In this study led by Li-Qing Jiang, the researchers monitored the saturation state of the water off of the coast of the southeastern US from 2005 to 2006. They found that in all cases the water was supersaturated with CaCO3. They also concluded that the saturation state of East Coast water was higher than that of West Coast water due to the age of the water in global circulation and the upwelling that occurs in the Pacific Ocean.
Understanding Public Opinion on Climate Change: A Call for Research
Environmental Magazine doi:10.1080/00139157.2011.588555 (2011)
Although there is widespread agreement among scientists regarding the seriousness of anthropogenic global warming, such a consensus has not reached the general public. In fact, the proportion of Americans who accept the realities of climate change has decreased significantly over the last three years even while scientific evidence of the phenomenon has been strengthened.
Scientists often make the assumption that the public uses rational decision making, weighing the positives and negatives of an issue, to form an opinion. The rational choice model is not sufficient to understand public opinion regarding climate change, however, because it would solely attribute the lack of interest in climate change to a lack of knowledge about the phenomenon. For instance, the rational choice model does not explain why, among Republicans, higher levels of educational attainment are not correlated with increased acceptance of global warming.
Instead of the rational choice model, opinions on climate change are increasingly being formed by connecting information about the issue from trustworthy sources to preexisting beliefs and values. As the political environment has become more polarized decisions are being made less on a case by case analysis of costs and benefits. This is supported by the fact that opinions of Democrats and Independents regarding climate change have remained fairly constant while those of self-identified republicans have dropped significantly over the past three years.
This study by Marquart-Pyatt et al. demonstrates that the anemic public interest in climate change cannot solely be attributed to a lack of knowledge about the phenomenon. Instead, it is indicative of a polarized political climate where decisions are made more on political affiliation than rational choice. More research needs to be conducted in order to to understand the mechanism of public opinion.
Effect of aragonite saturation state on settlement and post-settlement growth of Porites astreoides larvae
The authors of this paper focus on the impact of ocean acidification on earlier stages of coral life cycles (the larvae stage) and not just the life cycles as a whole. They lay out the methodology for their experiment where they tested both juvenile growth rates and percentage of larval settlement over the first few months. The results of this experiment show that lower pH environments have lower saturation states. The saturation states do not really change the percent of larval settlement, but they do correlate to a significant decrease in growth rates, reducing from 0.44 to as low as 0.07 in the month of June. This shows that settlement is not nearly as dependent upon saturation states as is growth rate.
The authors next discuss the implications of lower growth rates. If growth rates are declining, then juvenile mortality becomes a much larger problem. This would also cause population dynamics to shift towards smaller classes and juvenile-dominant groups. One final conclusion of this study is that efforts should be taken towards preserving these environments and species by mitigating the impacts of ocean acidification.
Albright, R.; Mason, B.; Langdon, C. Coral Reefs (2008) 27: 485-490.
>Climate Policy 4 (2005) 377-398
People in the UK have different opinions and levels of support towards the issue of off-shore carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) depending on their level of background information, concern about human-caused climate change, recognition of the need for major reductions in CO2 emissions and CCS being seen as just one part of a wider strategy for achieving significant cuts in CO2 emission.
A series of meetings and a face-to-face survey of 212 randomly selected people were conducted by Simon Shackley, Carly McLachlan and Clair Gough from University of Manchester to investigate the public’s perceptions of CCS. The results show that people without any background information about CCS tend to have no opinion or somewhat negative perspective about it. In contrast, those who are given some knowledge about CCS tend to express their support to the concept. Furthermore, the public generally favored a portfolio including renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency and change of lifestyle, with CCS being part of it. Last but not least, the authors emphasize that the potential risks of CCS, especially accidents and leakage, should be better addressed and reduced, in order for CCS to be more widely accepted.