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Greenhouse gas 'threatens marine life'

04 February 2005


Gigantic changes to the oceans, leading to the extinction of marine life from cod to coral reefs, are likely because of the main greenhouse gas causing global warming, British scientists warned yesterday.

Researchers have found a new and potentially devastating danger from the huge volumes of carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by industry and transport, already threatening the planet with climate change.

Now, they warn, it is also rapidly turning the world's oceans acid as it is dissolved in seawater, and putting an enormous array of marine life at risk. Ocean acidification may wipe out much of the microscopic plankton at the base of the marine food web, and have a knock-on fatal effect up through shellfish to major human food species such as cod. It is already having a serious impact on organisms such as coral, and putting a question mark against the future of coral reefs.

The findings about acid seas, which are recent, are causing alarm in the international scientific community because they represent a huge threat to the world until now unknown.

They were set out in detail at the conference on climate change at the Met Office headquarters in Exeter, in a paper by scientists from Britain's Plymouth Marine Laboratory. Sir David King, the chief scientific adviser, who will be reporting on the conference to Tony Blair, said: "This is the first time it [the research] has been pulled together. I think it is very serious."

Dr Carol Turley, the Plymouth laboratory's head of science, who presented the paper, said ocean acidification represented "potentially a gigantic problem for the world". She added: "It's urgent indeed to warn people what's happening. Many of the marine species we rely on to eat could well disappear. In cartoon terms, you could say people should prepare to change their tastes, and switch from cod and chips, to jellyfish and chips."

Remarkably, the findings about acidifying seas constituted the second revelation of a new global danger at the conference, which was called by the Prime Minister as part of Britain's efforts to focus attention on climate change during the UK presidency of the G8 group of rich nations and the European Union. On Tuesday, the head of the British Antarctic Survey, Professor Chris Rapley, disclosed that the vast West Antarctic ice sheet, previously thought to be stable, may be beginning to disintegrate, which would cause a sea-level rise around the world of more than 16ft. Although a growing number of studies about ocean acidification have been done, it is only recently that the whole picture has been put together, and stark nature of the threat appreciated. "The world scientific community is only just waking up to this," said Dr Turley, who with her colleagues has spent weeks briefing senior scientists on the problem in a range of government bodies from English Nature to the Department of Trade and Industry.

The world's oceans have always taken up and given off large volumes of naturally occurring carbon dioxide as part of the carbon cycle. But since the Industrial Revolution, the amounts have greatly increased, now more rapidly. The scientists believe 400 billion tons of man-made CO2 - half that produced - have been taken up by the seas, and much more is going in as the world economy relentlessly expands.

But the extra volumes are now causing a simple chemical reaction with the seawater - "O-level chemistry," Dr Turley said - in which the CO2 and the water (H2O) react to produce carbonic acid (HCO3). This is changing the chemical composition of the sea from slightly alkaline to acidic, producing an environment in which many vital organisms may not survive.

If, for example, the plankton on which cod larvae feed disappear, the cod will go, and something else, perhaps jellyfish, will move into their niche in the ecosystem.

Trials on organisms grown in seawater with raised CO2 levels, from plankton to scallops, indicate many species are likely to be affected. The increasing acidification is affecting coral already and another paper at the conference suggested that in 30 years all the world's coral reefs may be dying because of it.

The conference closed last night, with a statement saying: "In many cases, the risks are more serious than previously thought. This is likely to affect the entire marine food chain."
 

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Sorry Lendusaworm, but the guy who should really be reading this thread, is busily patting himself on the back after his "state of the Union address". He refuses to lead the worlds attack on global warming, because he is more interested in kicking the s**t out of the Middle East because they dont go to the same church as he does.
As a reservoir angler I like many others have been pressing for a drop in CO2 & the resultant "acid rain" for many years, some of our upland reservoirs are totally devoid of ALL life, through a combination of (long ago) deforestation, acid rain, & adjacent coniferous plantations.
The best we have acheived is the "liming" of some to increase the ph, this is treating the symptoms not the cause, & I cant see it changing in my lifetime, & most of the younger generation are either too thick to understand, or they dont care anyway!
I really despair on this issue, & I dont really want to dwell on it because it depresses me, because I dont honestly see how WE can tackle the problem, WE dont have access to the people who make the decisions.
Example when was the last time you questioned Bill Gates, George Bush, Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac, etc? Sadly, I rest my case!
blueskip
 

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At a recent meeting of the local association the reigonal fisheries officer rported that the decline in shellfish and worm numbers was due to the estuary waters beoming too clean as a result of EU directives on water quality.

Basically the marine biologists said no enough "nutrients" (sewage effluent) to feed the bacteria - to feed the plankton - to feed the worms & shellfish - to feed the bait fish - to feed the bigger fish.. something to do with the food chain...

Basically we need to decide whether we want fish to catch or crystal clear water to swim in.

I know this is a rather symplistic post on what was an enthralling presentation.

Let's hope the fish are biting tonight as I am of to Porthcawl wall for the early morning tide. If I don't catch a fish I might catch an alien ;)
 

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Thanks for that post lendy, it gives us all something else to think about, I must agree with blue about that lot the other side of the pond the industrial leaders there are too busy making fortunes and screwing every body and everything to think about the future or their childeren and grand childeren The only way I can see to make them tow the line is for all other countries to withdraw their support for anything that they propose or do untill they sign up and do something about the problem, of course it does'nt end there the emerging industrial countries such as China etc will have to clean up there industries and a lead from that lot the other side of the pond would possibly help in getting them to act as well.
 

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more hysteria, "the main greenhouse gas causing global warming ".... the main greenhouse effect is caused by water vapour not CO2,; is anyone going to suggest we get rid of that ?
What on earth do the scientists think dissolved the great caves and caverns under the Mendips if it wasn't acidic rain ?..... and when ?.... a long time before George Bush and other nasty Americans were invented..

as for clean rivers and seas... the traditional place to catch big fish was the local large pipe carrying sewage out to sea, you don't need to be a marine biologist to make 4 from 2 + 2.

Why do people believe the 'experts' ?.... the finance 'experts' said that mortgages for everyone and spending like crazy was a good idea..... they were wrong; obviously you get cr*p experts just as you get useless practitioners in any walk of life.
 

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yep water vapour,volcanoes and rotting vegetation are the big pollutants.we as humans only produce about 2 percent of the worlds co2.yes we all have to do our bit,but mother nature will do far worse when its required and then adjust itselfs over time to reach a balance once more.
At the end of the day it's all a con to make you buy this and that ECO thing, so these so called GREEN companies get richer as most of all goverments have there fingers in these companies.
Anyway if the sea level rises 16ft it will get rid of a few and bring the coast alot nearer to me,so i can do my bit for global warming as i save a ton of fuel each year travelling.
The Toyota prius THE SO CALLED GREEN CAR
IS NOT REALLY GREEN AT ALL its a con.
I drive a discovery td5, but just to make the Toyota its over 5 times more polluting to make it than the discovery.The prius only really does about 43 to the gall to push around its ton of weight or so,I get 33 to the gall bottom end and can get up to around 38-40 on a steady drive.Now my motor weighs just about 2.5 ton
so i get aprox 82.5 mile per gallon per ton bottom end where as the prius gets around 40-50
So yes we can all do something in some way but being told that we are causing it all is just to scare us into spending money and becoming pawns in there ever increasing financial games.
 

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Can anyone explain why global mean surface temperatures have risen more sharply in the last 100 years than at any time before? Is it just coincidence that this temperature rise occured at the same time as humans became more industrialised and used fossil fuels to fuel this?

Yes water vapour is the predominant greenhouse gas but human effects on the production of said gas are neglible. On the other hand human emission of co2 (including that from the rear end of our livestock in the form of methane) has rapidly increased in the last 100 years at the same time as the rise in temperature.

The planet is warming up, that can't be argued with. How much is due to humans and how much is naturally occuring is not certain. We are contributing to global warming but it is up to each individual to decide how much they want to take the blame for.

My personal plan to combat global warming is to reduce air/road miles on the food I eat by catching fish for my table. Unfortunately this method is not always succesful!
 

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Just how were 'global temperatures ' measured 100 or more years ago to allow a comparison to be made ? Compare like with like if you must make comparisons... now you can drop a gizmo from a plane and receive absolutely accurate measurements to a tenth or less of a degree by satellite link..... in the old days you dropped a thermometer in the water and tried to read it accurately.
Water vapour from human activity negligible ! who told you that ?.... every human expires water vapour at every breath, every hydrocarbon fuel burned gives water vapour.... a damn sight more in each case that the CO2.

The answer to your question why have temperatures risen sharply.... is that they have not risen sharply; a rise of 0.74 degrees Celsius in 100 years is probably within the limits of error in taking the temperatures.
and who is to say, considering the long history of the world, what a 'sharp rise' is ?
As for coral reefs, shell fish etc where on earth ( or sea ) do these so-called scientists think that the calcium forming their skeletons/shells come from ?...... it is from minerals dissolved by the carbonic acid formed by 'acid rain'..... it has always been so.
For a reasoned debate on accuracy of 'global temperatures' have a look at Watts Up With That?..... where you will find facts and cold logic rather than myths and hysteria.

and as a PS... Pope Al Gore of Global Warming and Catastrophic Sea Level Rise.... has invested in waterfront property in San Francisco...
now is he the true messiah.... or just a very naughty boy
 

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Water is passed around the water cycle over the short term. Carbon is passed around the carbon cycle over years to millions of years. Carbon released from the burning of fossil fuels would not naturally be released as quickly and in such quantities. The sudden release of all that carbon is going to have an effect on the amount of greenhouse gases. I wish people would be rational and take responsibility of the change we are making to our planet. I am as sceptical as the next man about the scaremongers who say that the world is going to end, that is only a ploy to get peoples attention. In a newspaper article I read recently it was stated that the earths natural resources are going to run out if we keep on using them at todays rate. An upshot of this is that we will be forced to find alternative energy sources and maybe the globe can balance itself out again.

A poor analogy is the state of the seas at the moment. If we keep on taking fish out at the rate we are doing will the fish stocks stay the same? and if all the fish are decimated will the seas stay the same or will they readjust to a fishless state with other organisms coming to the fore?
 

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At a recent meeting of the local association the reigonal fisheries officer rported that the decline in shellfish and worm numbers was due to the estuary waters beoming too clean as a result of EU directives on water quality.

Basically the marine biologists said no enough "nutrients" (sewage effluent) to feed the bacteria - to feed the plankton - to feed the worms & shellfish - to feed the bait fish - to feed the bigger fish.. something to do with the food chain...

Basically we need to decide whether we want fish to catch or crystal clear water to swim in.

I know this is a rather symplistic post on what was an enthralling presentation.

Let's hope the fish are biting tonight as I am of to Porthcawl wall for the early morning tide. If I don't catch a fish I might catch an alien ;)

Sounds like a croc of sewage to me.

Just take a look at shellfish populations in areas with cleaner water - Scotland, Menai etc - they arnt really classed as suffering from depleted stocks are they. Wonder how those species managed to survive all those years prior us turning our rivers into open sewers in the past?
 

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"I wish people would be rational".... what like questioning things that we are told by people with vested interests ?

When I was teaching back in the eighties/nineties the kids were being frightened by the ozone layer/penguins all going to die myth.... now the ozone hole is getting larger again .... not by us spraying aerosols but by the activity of the sun....as the rational people suspected all the time.
 

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We are in-between ice ages. Thats a known fact. The temperature will warm up, but at some point it will start to cool, then everyone will panic because we will freeze to death/the sun is dieing.

I can't quite remember the exact ratio, but when 1 volcano erupts it produces the same amount of gases as human and their activities produce in 450 years.

Mother nature has a habit of doing what needs to be done, and it will happen regardless of what we do. I'm not saying we shouldn't be careful, as long as its for the right reasons - not lining the pockets of some "green" company.
 

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At a recent meeting of the local association the reigonal fisheries officer rported that the decline in shellfish and worm numbers was due to the estuary waters beoming too clean as a result of EU directives on water quality.

Basically the marine biologists said no enough "nutrients" (sewage effluent) to feed the bacteria - to feed the plankton - to feed the worms & shellfish - to feed the bait fish - to feed the bigger fish.. something to do with the food chain...

Basically we need to decide whether we want fish to catch or crystal clear water to swim in.

I know this is a rather symplistic post on what was an enthralling presentation.

Let's hope the fish are biting tonight as I am of to Porthcawl wall for the early morning tide. If I don't catch a fish I might catch an alien ;)
it's why their are so few fish in the Mediterranean it's crystal clear waters hold very little organic matter so theres not a lot of life and not a lot of fish add this to overfishing and this is why everybody wants to be fishing in our waters the northern Atlantic because of the nice cold nutrient rich waters that we have meeting with the warm from the gulf it's brilliant for life
as for worms the reason their in lower numbers is because we're cleaning up our waters they are detritavores they eat waste and are so the less waste the fewer their are having cleaner water isn't a bad thing and more then enough for the Mollusc's remember if your shell fish comes from polluted water you can't eat it because they will gather harmful bacteria and heavy metals there's enough nutrients out their anyway dead plants and fish and the treated sewage that will still pump into the sea i personally think some rivers still aren't clean enough
 

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We are in-between ice ages. Thats a known fact. The temperature will warm up, but at some point it will start to cool, then everyone will panic because we will freeze to death/the sun is dieing.

I can't quite remember the exact ratio, but when 1 volcano erupts it produces the same amount of gases as human and their activities produce in 450 years.

Mother nature has a habit of doing what needs to be done, and it will happen regardless of what we do. I'm not saying we shouldn't be careful, as long as its for the right reasons - not lining the pockets of some "green" company.
*High Fives Grump boy*
the World is Really good at fixing it's self and i'm sure it will
 

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grumpy boy, funny you should mention co2 and volcanoes.... the monitoring station giving data for the global hysteria scam is on thehttp://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/maunaloa/ side of one.....not a bad place if you need figures to support the 'lot of it about' argument.
 

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In its 2007 assessment report the IPCC stated that:

There is very high confidence, meaning a 9 in 10 chance, that human activities since 1750 have led to global warming. It is very unlikely that the observed warming is due to natural forces alone.

The concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) & methane in the atmosphere, measured in 2005, exceed by far the natural range over the last 650,000 years.
The primary source of increased atmospheric CO2 is fossil fuel use, while the primary source of increased atmospheric methane is agriculture.

With respect Capn but, given that the IPCC has the contributions of hundreds scientists from many different countries at its disposal, I know who I`d tend to believe.
 

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hogweed, the IPCC report's reputation is in tatters, the famous hockey stick graph a fabrication, the medieval warm period edited out etc. now I don't mind the people who knit their own breakfast muesli farting about worrying themselves into a self righteous frenzy but.... the earth is cooling at the moment and has been cooling for the last 10 years or so; worry about it if you like but let me know when you are fed up with the increased taxes, rises in fuel costs, bans on this that and the other and general nannying.
I'm fed up with it already.
Concentrations of gas in the atmosphere thousands of years ago cannot be measured they are estimated ( we call it guessing ) Records show that CO2 concentrations lag temperature rises so they cannot be the cause of temperature rise.
Worry about the lack of sun spots, they have a far greater influence on us than cows belching methane.

Thought for the day; if carbon dioxide causes runaway soaring greenhouse effect temperature rises.... why don't growers get rid of their heaters and just pump in CO2 ?.... plants love it... and CO2 is very cheap and easy to make.
 

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back in the 70's There was a massive scare about Global Cooling and they wanted to produce more CO2 and such to try and counter act the effects and with in less then 10 years they swung their opinion round to Warming i just wish they could make up their minds
 

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Capn. I agree that the original hockey stick graph may have had flawed data behind it. In fact so it seems to a lot of climatoligists. But its not the foundation of global warming theory. There have neen numerous graphs since and they all support that late 20th century warming is analmalous in the last 1 to 2 thousand years.

Your earlier post about water vapour is another misconception I`m afraid.

There is a very important distinction to be made between water vapour's role in the Earth's Greenhouse effect and it's role in climate change. If you were to read through the table of climate forcings in the IPCC report or at NASA's page about forcings in its GCM, you won't find water vapour there at all. This is not because climate scientists are trying to hide the role of water vapour, rather it is because water in the atmosphere is a feedback effect, it is not a forcing agent. Simply put, any artificial change in water vapour concentrations is too short lived to change the climate. Too much in the air will quickly rain out, not enough and the abundant ocean surface will provide the difference via evaporation. But once the air is warmed by other means, H2O concentrations will rise and stay high, thus providing the feedback.

BTW I dont knit my own muesli or fart about worrying myself into a frenzy. It seems to me its the skeptics that get hot and bothered the most. :whistling
 
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