Meanwhile this story writes itself: “Man-made climate change worse than thought, experts say.” Or, to fill in the details du jour, “Arctic Ocean acidification worse than previously expected” from the University of Bern. And of course the science is settled and all effects are bad. Hit print. Man, this game is easy.
The study in question, according to the Eurekalert! press release, finds that “The Arctic Ocean will take up more CO2 over the 21st century than predicted by most climate models.” And if we were journalists, and one of us is, we would ask how we know that’s a bad thing (we don’t) and how it’s possible continually to tell us the models have it right on climate change then tell us it’s way worse than the models say. (In the scandalized silence that followed, we’d ask why the models always seem to underestimate the danger in news stories though they always seem to overestimate it compared to the data.)
Never mind. “This additional CO2 causes a distinctly stronger ocean acidification.” (Um, aren’t the oceans mildly alkaline? Yes. But “acidification” sounds really bad, so use it.) Also “The ocean takes up large amounts of man-made CO2 from the atmosphere.” (Um, didn’t the alarmists say nature couldn’t absorb man-made CO2 which is why it’s accumulating in the atmosphere causing warming? Yes. That too.)
All impacts being bad, “Ocean acidification particularly impacts organisms that form calcium carbonate skeletons and shells, such as molluscs, sea urchins, starfish and corals.” Which doesn’t just say bye-bye Great Barrier Reef. It suggests they will stop sequestering carbon in the limestone that accumulates from their shells, so more CO2 means even more CO2 in a runaway warming effect. Except that such runaway effects haven’t been observed in the past when CO2 levels were far higher.
Never mind, the story practically writes itself. We… are… all… going… to… die.
A couple of things to note about ocean acidification.
1. While the oceans are alkaline (average pH value around 8.0), the natural variation in pH from time to time and place to place is quite large: about +/- 0.5 pH. Any man-made changes in pH would be much smaller than this, so measuring these changes against the natural background variability would be akin to trying to listen to a whisper in a thunderstorm.
2. The natural concentration of CO2 in the oceans, in terms of the amount of CO2 per unit volume, is more than one hundred times that of its concentration in the atmosphere. Consequently, any changes in atmospheric concentration will have a much smaller percentage effect on the oceanic concentration. Since the oceans are comfortably alkaline with this amount of CO2 (see above), it is most unlikely that adding a relatively tiny extra amount is going to change anything. In other words, ocean acidification is largely a fairy tale designed to frighten children, but is not a serious scientific theory.
Alarmists know that the ocean is not acidic, and never will be made acidic due to anthropogenic CO2; they use the term "ocean acidification" just for effect. If you call them on it, they will say that pH is measured on a scale from 0 to 15, with 0 being the most acidic; so if a solution changes from 9 to 8, even though it is still in the "basic" range of the scale, it is moving toward the acidic end, and thus becoming "more acidic."
Try this linguistic trick out with humour: propose a list of the 10 funniest racist jokes you have ever heard. Now the social justice warriors will tell you that there are no funny racist jokes; they are all offensive to one degree or another. But you can tell them that although they are all offensive, some are less offensive - i.e. closer to the funny end of the scale - than others, and therefore still "the funniest."
There are so many articles that say In a headline that something or other is "worse than you think". Of course this presumes they know what I think. Some less obvious articles tell us that the situation is worse than unnamed scientists think.
As soon as I see such a headline I know what I'm seeing is merely click bait.
Or maybe you could search for real science, that actually explain things, like this one quantifying what we can expect from ocean acidification :
Alternatively, just ask a reef tanker to increase CO2 level in his small polyps system. Just make sure you have a clear escape planned.
Not to be mean, but it's not hard.