Ocean acidification: How much is too much?

Over at Skeptical Science we (Doug Mackie, Christina McGraw, and Keith Hunter) have started a long series (18 parts) about ocean acidification (Introduction , 1, 2). We all deride blog science. Blog science is what happens when people try to get a complex message across in 800 words or less. Real science takes time to explain. There is too much et voila in writing about climate change in general and ocean acidification in particular. Denialists have not touched ocean acidification because they don’t understand it. The chemistry is very subtle and even posts on normally reliable blogs like Skeptical Science have made errors.

A local Dunedin denier sent me ‘proof’ that ocean acidification was not real and even if it was then it wasn’t a problem. The ‘proof’ was a document published by the SPPI. The document was previously ‘published’ (cough) in Energy and Environment. Really, they very best argument the denialists have is “acid means pH less than 7 but ocean pH is greater than 7 so there is therefore no acidification”.

In this document (which I am not linking to because they don’t need the traffic) 5 of the 12 points for policy makers are variations on the pH greater than 7 argument. At first I puzzled at this: Do they really think policy makers are so dumb they won’t notice the same thing said 5 ways? Then I remembered Don Brash and had to concede the point. Yes, many policy makers are that dumb. (6 more points in the summary for policy makers are variations of ‘the gravy train’ meme and the last point says that measurements to date agree with IPCC projections – while mangling the terminology).

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Such ignorance must not be allowed to go uncontradicted (*)

homer.jpgLast week an essay — Why I Am A Climate Realist — by NZ CSC “science advisor” Dr Willem de Lange started popping up all over the crank web. I first spotted it at Muriel Newman’s NZ CPR site, and it has since appeared at Monckton’s US lair (complete with a pretty cover). De Lange, a senior lecturer in the Dept of Earth & Ocean Sciences at Waikato Unversity, has not had many starring roles as a climate crank — his biggest claim to fame was a place on the panel discussion after Prime’s showing of The Great Global Warming Swindle last year. But this time he has really stuck his neck out, channelling Wishart’s delusions in this sentence:

It is more likely that the warming of the oceans since the Little Ice Age is a major contributor to the observed increase in CO2.

To show just how wrong he is, I asked Doug Mackie, who is a researcher in chemical oceanography at the University of Otago and regular commenter here, to point out the flaws in de Lange’s essay. Over to Doug:

When Gareth invited me to write a guest post about Willem de Lange’s Why I am a climate realist I knew it was going to be hard. Most of the article is wibble and he really only makes 2 serious points:
– About sea level
-The oceans as the main source of CO2.

(*) Katherine Mansfield, The Advanced Lady.
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