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Earth Science

Carnegie Researchers Say Geotech Can't Cure Ocean Acidification 248

Posted by timothy
from the take-it-with-a-ton-of-salt dept.
CarnegieScience writes "Plans to stop global warming by 'geoengineering' the planet by putting aerosols in the atmosphere to block sunlight are controversial, to say the least. Scientists are now pointing out that even if it keeps the planet cool, it will do almost nothing to stop another major problem — ocean acidification. The ocean will keep on absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (making carbonic acid) and the water's pH will get too low for corals and other marine life to secrete skeletons. So this is another strike against a quick fix of our climate problems."
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Carnegie Researchers Say Geotech Can't Cure Ocean Acidification

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  • by jayme0227 (1558821) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @01:37PM (#28376613) Journal

    I'm still using my will to suppress your evidence that global warming is a problem.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by blitziod (591194)

      I only have one thing to say----------

      Giant ROLAIDS!

      • That is exactly what the standard solution to water acidification is.
        They dump lime into whatever body of water they want to cure of acid rain problems.

        The ocean is just a tad bigger though.
        • No problem. The central US is all limestone, which was deposited the last time the oceans covered it. Let that dissolve, and you'll have saltier water with a decent pH. Where all the humans live in the meantime is the big issue. Where's Kevin Costner when we really need him?

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by pluther (647209)

            So you're telling us that yet another problem would be solved by nuking Florida?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by revjtanton (1179893)
      I've been in a coma for 12 years and i didn't even know there was a climate! Couldn't we just kill the climate and then it wouldnt be a problem?
  • Volcanoes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Absolut187 (816431) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @01:37PM (#28376615) Homepage

    Do these climate models take into account the fact that Volcanoes erupt from time to time, spewings tons of ash into the atmosphere, which reflects sunlight, and thereby cools the earth?

    What effect does all that ash have on ocean acidity?

    Is volcanic ash acidic or basic?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 18, 2009 @01:43PM (#28376679)

      Good thing you thought of that - you should probably send them an email right away! You discovered the missing forcing that will keep our planet cool and our oceans pH balanced! Turns out that in all this freaking out about climate change, nobody who was even somewhat competent got involved at all.

      • by Rei (128717)

        Thank you for so hilariously summing up the deniers in one simple post. ;)

    • Re:Volcanoes (Score:5, Informative)

      by Rei (128717) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @01:44PM (#28376697) Homepage

      Do these climate models take into account the fact that Volcanoes erupt from time to time, spewings tons of ash into the atmosphere, which reflects sunlight, and thereby cools the earth?

      Yes. And it's not the ash that primarily reflects the sunlight; it's the SOx. And the cooling is only temporary. And volcanoes also emit CO2. But a small fraction as much as humans release.

      And yes, volcanic ash is acidic.

      • by selven (1556643)
        I KNEW Sarbanes Oxley does something good for the environment. Take that, deregulation advocates!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)

      The amount of material eject by volcanoes is minuscule compared to what we put in the air, year after year.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's volcanoes fault is a classic rationalize. There have been far worse volcanic episodes in the last flew million years without causing the spike we have seen in CO2. The increase in CO2 mirrors the onset of industrialization. Deal with it. In the short term acidification is probably a far worse problem than actual warming and ironically in the long run it's the most frightening. Also simply blocking sunlight seems like an extreme solution when we depend on the sun for food. The extreme end of that scale

      • It's volcanoes fault is a classic rationalize. There have been far worse volcanic episodes in the last flew million years without causing the spike we have seen in CO2. The increase in CO2 mirrors the onset of industrialization. Deal with it. In the short term acidification is probably a far worse problem than actual warming and ironically in the long run it's the most frightening. Also simply blocking sunlight seems like an extreme solution when we depend on the sun for food. The extreme end of that scale is called night. Which is easier in the end, behaving responsibly or spending trillions of dollars on unproven techniques for undoing the damage we are doing? If we'd simply spend the money spent on avoiding the issues on actual solutions we could fix the problem. I recently heard that it will likely cost an additional trillion dollars for carbon sequestering so we can keep burning coal, a trillion dollars! And that's just an estimate since it's also unproven technology. Is it smarter to keep spending trillions of dollars on the status quo or to fix the problem once and for all?

        That's a good argument, until you consider the fact that stopping the use of fossil fuels (and insisting that everybody live like serfs in the dark ages - except for the Lords like Al Gore, of course, who need jets) has no guarantee of actually fixing anything. All you're saying is that we should stop putting out CO2 (should we stop breathing, too?), because this might mitigate some possible effects of global climate change in the long run.

        Frankly, rather than reducing the output of CO2 (which makes plant

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TapeCutter (624760) *
      "Do these climate models take into account the fact that Volcanoes erupt from time to time"

      YES [google.com.au]. Look carefully and you will find that models usually assume one large eruption per decade. The predicted cooling from the models assumptions was remarkably acurate in the case of observations from Mt Pinatubo, furthermore those predictions came from a model created 20yrs ago!
  • Idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jimbobborg (128330) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @01:38PM (#28376625)

    Why don't they use something to up the alkalinity of the ocean, like, crushed coral? Oh, wait...

    • Re:Idea (Score:5, Funny)

      by TnkMkr (666446) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @01:48PM (#28376801)

      Wait... I have a better idea, lets engineer some sort of biological creature that will live off collecting the
      carbon from our atmosphere and sequesting it into some sort of solid state. We should engineer it to be solar powered and
      should be deployable over the entire surface of the earth.

      Don't worry, I'm sure technology will save us by developing this totaly new and radical solution.

      • by Jaysyn (203771)

        It's only a matter of time before my submarine patent on trees makes me a rich man.

      • And that is another reason why geotech sucks. Your nifty green solar powered device stops working after a while when the sunlight is blocked, or at least, isn't that efficient anymore.

  • straw man argument (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Captain Kirk (148843) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @01:42PM (#28376669) Homepage Journal

    Geo-engineering may make people think that we can carry on as now with no sacrifices. This article tries to re-inject a sense of fear. Its like saying "OK so the vacuum cleaner is good at cleaning the floor. But does it paint the garage? No? Well back to cleaning the floor with a mop then"

    Surely we deserve a more rational debate? Sacrifices are needed but sophistry will not persuade anyone.

    • by vertinox (846076)

      Geo-engineering may make people think that we can carry on as now with no sacrifices.

      "A technical solution will always trump a political one." -Me

      The reasoning behind this is that political solutions never really address the root core of the problem and usually does not change the fact that some people say they will go along with the compromise and then not do it after all.

      With a technical solution, the involved parties are made moot because their participation is no longer needed for a solution.

    • Geo-engineering may make people think that we can carry on as now with no sacrifices. This article tries to re-inject a sense of fear. Its like saying "OK so the vacuum cleaner is good at cleaning the floor. But does it paint the garage? No? Well back to cleaning the floor with a mop then"

      Surely we deserve a more rational debate? Sacrifices are needed but sophistry will not persuade anyone.

      Poor analogy. Unless I'm reading things incorrectly, tour analogy is trying to join 2 separate things (clean floors, painted garages) while their issue is trying to join 2 symptoms of the same problem.

      If I'm reading it correctly: they're trying to use Geo-Engineering to solve one of the main concerns of greenhouse emissions: global warming. However the increased greenhouse emissions are also causing the acidity issue in the ocean due to the carbon in the atmosphere getting absorbed.

      A better analogy might

    • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @02:49PM (#28377963) Journal
      In the climate change debate, there are no places for sanity anymore. For years scientists have tried to warn politicians that *maybe* we ought to be *careful* about some *possible* consequences of our wastes and pollution. Every one dismissed them. Then, for right or wrong (I think for right but who knows), comes the IPCC and Al Gore. They put the scientific argument in the closet, took a deep breath and shouted PAAAAAANIIIIIICC ! And finally got some politicians to take actions. In the 70s you were a irresponsible hippy if you studied sea level rises or the downfall of biodiversity, now you are a irresponsible lackey of oil interest if you examine the various cataclysmic claims and propose to refine a model in the way that seems to minimize the IPCC conclusions.

      Big financial and political interests have now come into play, rational public debate is out.
  • And miss out on the Brazilian ice wine [wattsupwiththat.com]?

  • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @01:44PM (#28376707)
    ... a few hundred billion metric tons of calcium hydroxide would be a really nice thing to have right about now.
    • by 32771 (906153)

      You got off with a funny, just imagine somebody would have taken you serious.

  • by yttrstein (891553) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @01:45PM (#28376733) Homepage
    http://image52.webshots.com/152/1/14/3/518111403JQgFmi_ph.jpg
  • by RichMan (8097) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @01:51PM (#28376831)

    Ok, the whole solution of Geo-engineering is a WTF moment.

    We did not understand the global bio-sphere to begin with so we are in the Global-Environment change state. Now we propose attacking the symptoms without a full understanding of the dynamics.

    It is like we have are playing russian roulette here and we don't know how many chambers are loaded.

    Look at most attempts to "fix" environmental problems by introducing others. The bio-sphere is just way more interconnected than we can account for.

    The best solution is to reduce our foot-print as rapidly as we can. And make sure it stays that way.

    • by vertinox (846076)

      We did not understand the global bio-sphere to begin with so we are in the Global-Environment change state. Now we propose attacking the symptoms without a full understanding of the dynamics.

      To be fair, once we start tinkering, we'll have a better understanding of what does what.

      Its like those old 1960's films of the doctors who crack open patients skulls and put the electric prod onto spots of the brain saying "What does this do? How about now?"

  • by spoonboy42 (146048) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @02:00PM (#28376965)

    We could dump a bunch of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) into the ocean. It'll neutralize the acid and release... carbon dioxide. Crap! We're doomed.

  • by amorsen (7485) <benny+slashdot@amorsen.dk> on Thursday June 18, 2009 @02:01PM (#28376979)

    Aerosols at best delay the rising temperatures. Perhaps we can come up with a temporary fix for the oceans, to tide us over until we can come up with a solution.

    If this report [climatecongress.ku.dk] is correct, we'll need some quick hacks, because sustainable energy production has no chance to solve the problem on time.

  • by StefanJ (88986) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @02:04PM (#28377035) Homepage Journal

    Micheal Crichton, whose best-selling techno-thriller disproved global warming hysteria with copious footnotes . . . or so called "scientists" working for a "university" producing "peer reviewed research?"

    I tell you, these "facts" and "evidence" are trouble.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by rgviza (1303161)

      how about the NASA PhD's who say the earth is already cooling again and CO2 concentrations lag 6 months behind temperature change, indicating the temperature change is causing the rise in CO2, not the other way around?

      or the veritable explosion of dissenting climate scientists?

      Go ahead, believe a self promoting politician ;) Of course the cooling is an even bigger problem than the warming because we won't be able to grow enough food within 20 years.

      from http://www.drroyspencer.com/ [drroyspencer.com]

      "The Central Question of C

  • Wow, I'm glad I misunderstood that title. I thought that all those fish in the ocean would get spaced out, and then start eating each other at an alarming rate. Then when they had depleted their own reserves, they would evolve and climb out onto land, looking for alternative food sources, like us!

    I was also concerned that I'd better not enjoy a FishMac on my way back from work on my bicycle in Basel, Switzerland. The ride might have turned out to look like something out of "Yellow Submarine," being that

  • Because Lord knows, I've peed in the ocean before. Now if we can ban marine animals from peeing too, that will only help quicken the results. Maybe we should use federal tax money to sponsor research into marine diapers for whales and dolphins.
  • Woooo! Jelly corals!

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