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Earth Transportation Science

Scientists Race To Save Miami Coral Doomed By Dredging 99

An anonymous reader writes "Miami scientists are scrambling to rescue a crop of coral at the bottom of one of the world's busiest shipping channels that they say could hold clues about climate change. 'The coral, which may hold clues about how sea life adapts to climate change, is growing in Government Cut. The channel, created more than a century ago, leads to PortMiami and is undergoing a $205 million dredging project — scheduled to begin Saturday — to deepen the sea floor by about 10 feet in time for a wave of new monster cargo ships cruising through an expanded Panama Canal starting in 2015. Endangered coral and larger coral have already been removed by a team hired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is overseeing the dredging work. But the remaining coral, deemed "corals of opportunity" in Corps lingo, can be retrieved with a permit. The problem, scientists say, is they only had 12 days between when the permits were issued last month and the start of dredging, not nearly enough time to save the unusual colonies thriving in Government Cut.'"
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Scientists Race To Save Miami Coral Doomed By Dredging

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  • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere ( 2201864 ) on Sunday June 08, 2014 @03:29PM (#47191379)
    It's the Army Corps of Engineers, you twit. They oversee/control the work on waterways, dams, levees, canals and flood control all over the country.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08, 2014 @03:46PM (#47191447)

    > Save the coral, for crying out loud, but don't pretend that it's being done to preserve evidence of global warming.

    It has nothing to do with evidence of global warming and everything to do with how coral adapts to global warming. That is information that we may be able to use to help out other coral reefs which are seeing massive devastation due to global warming. []

  • by khayman80 ( 824400 ) on Sunday June 08, 2014 @06:40PM (#47192069) Homepage Journal

    "Ocean Acidification” is an up-and-coming buzz phrase used by global warming alarmists. They say it will harm sea life like coral. [Lonny Eachus] []

    Caused by CO2, of course. The problem with that theory is that coral evolved when CO2 concentration was *70 TIMES* what it is now. [Lonny Eachus] []

    "Warmists" like to scare over things like death of coral due to ocean acidification from CO2. Coral evolved at a time of 70x today’s CO2. [Lonny Eachus] []

    The degree of "doomedness" is highly questionable. I don't dispute that human activities have harmed coral in many cases. But coral evolved when it was both warmer than it is now, AND the concentration of CO2 was many times what it is today. ... [Jane Q. Public] []

    If atmospheric CO2 increases slowly, ocean pH doesn't change significantly because it's buffered by carbonates and land weathering on long time scales. See Fig. 2 in Honisch et al. 2012 [] (PDF []):

    "When CO2 dissolves in seawater, it reacts with water to form carbonic acid, which then dissociates to bicarbonate, carbonate, and hydrogen ions. The higher concentration of hydrogen ions makes seawater acidic, but this process is buffered on long time scales by the interplay of seawater, seafloor carbonate sediments, and weathering on land."

    It's incredibly ironic that Jane Q. Public and Lonny Eachus both point to paleoclimate evidence to support their dismissal of ocean acidification. Honisch et al. 2012 also discusses the observed consequences of releasing CO2 more quickly, such as during the end-Permian and PETM.

    Paleoclimate evidence shows that ocean acidification depends on the rate of CO2 emissions, not the amount in the atmosphere.

    Further, it has been shown that DAILY VARIATION of ocean pH at a given location is greater than any change attributable to CO2. [Lonny Eachus] []

    Also, studies have shown that the pH in a given location of the ocean typically varies every day far more than any amount that can be attributed to CO2. [Jane Q. Public] []

    Daily variations can be ~10C or more, but during the end-Permian a ~10C rise in the long term global average temperature coincidentally happened when ~90% of all species went extinct. Furthermore, the marine extinction pattern has ocean acidification's fingerprints on it. Knoll et al. 2007 [] (PDF []) showed that during the end-Permian extinction, ~85% of genuses like coral with aragonite (CaCO3) skeletons went extinct, but only ~5% of genuses like fish with other skeletons went extinct. The rapid CO2 increase during the PETM also led to a similar albeit less severe marine extinction pattern. Again by coincidence?

    Corals evolved during the Cambrian Era with CO2 7-20X higher than today. "Ocean acidificiation" is just another scam. ["Steve Goddard" retweeted by Lonny Eachus] []

    No Lonny, it's not a scam. Extremely ra

  • by khayman80 ( 824400 ) on Sunday June 08, 2014 @07:06PM (#47192151) Homepage Journal

    I would have to collect some formulas together and actually do some math... but in general, as temperature goes up, the solubility of CO2 in water decreases. So I am curious how alarmists are claiming both that the temperature will go up, and the amount of dissolved CO2 will also go up. Those two things would seem to work against each other. [Jane Q. Public] []

    They do work against each other, but our CO2 emissions are so rapid that they overwhelm the solubility effect. Once again [], what you're dismissing as "alarmism" is actually mainstream science. Temperatures are going up, and dissolved CO2 is also going up.

    I tried to explain this point [] at WUWT, to no avail: Use Henry’s Law to calculate the CO2 due to the ~0.8C surface warming since the Industrial Revolution. You’ll find that only ~20ppm of the actual ~100ppm rise could even hypothetically be explained by the ocean outgassing

    So the reason CO2 in the ocean can increase at the same time surface temperatures increase is because that CO2 comes from our use of fossil fuels, not ocean outgassing. And we're adding to the atmosphere much faster than the warming oceans can lose their dissolved CO2 due to Henry's Law.

  • by ShnowDoggie ( 858806 ) on Sunday June 08, 2014 @10:23PM (#47192783)
    Evolution takes time. What we appear to be seeing is climate change at a rate far faster than normal. The Earth has seen climate change at this rate before. In those cases life took a step back due to mass extinction.
  • by khayman80 ( 824400 ) on Sunday June 08, 2014 @10:55PM (#47192861) Homepage Journal

    I see no real argument for saying that the PETM had significant ocean acidification yet this isn't the first it's been trotted out as an example of the dire effects of ocean acidification. [khallow] []

    Rapid Acidification of the Ocean During the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum []

    Rapid and sustained surface ocean acidification during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum []

    Ocean acidification and surface water carbonate production across the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum []

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