tagged w/ Co2 Absorption
The rate at which the oceans are becoming more acidic is greater today than at any time in tens of millions of years, according to a new study.
Rapidly rising concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere mean that the rate of ocean acidification is the fastest since the age of the dinosaurs, which became extinct 65m years ago, scientists believe.
The oceans are likely to become so acidic in coming centuries that they will become uninhabitable for vast swathes of life, especially the little-studied organisms on the deep-sea floor which are a vital link in the marine food chain.
Scientists have concluded, in a study published today in the journal Nature Genetics, that the current rate of ocean acidification is up to 10 times faster than 55m years ago – the last time the deep oceans became so acidic.
This is because of the speed at which carbon-dioxide concentrations are rising in the atmosphere. This carbon dioxide dissolves in seawater at the sea surface to form carbonic acid. The increased acidity of the water affects the amount of dissolved carbonate minerals that are available for marine organisms to use in forming their shells and hard skeletons.
When the oceans became acidified in a similar way about 55m years ago, it resulted in a mass extinction of deep-sea marine organisms, especially those living in the sediments of the sea floor, which can be studied geologically through changes to rock formations, said Dr Andy Ridgwell of the University of Bristol.
"Unlike surface plankton dwelling in a variable habitat, organisms living deep down on the ocean floor are adapted to much more stable conditions. A rapid and severe geochemical change in their environment would make their survival precarious," he said.
Studies also suggest that temperatures of the surface ocean rose, and carbon-dioxide levels increased over a period of a few thousand years.
The latest study compared these changes with predicted changes to ocean acidity resulting from continuing increases in concentrations of man-made carbon dioxide expected this century.The rate at which the oceans are becoming more acidic is greater today than at any... more
Rev. Dr. George Cairns delivers the first of several Sunday homilies at the Union Community Church in Valparaiso, Indiana.
The homilies on Celtic Christianity take a look at several topics including the European roots of the Celts (primarily Scotland and Ireland) and how Earth-based cultures can impact the future of civilization including actively protecting the environment, respecting fellow humans, different cultures and nature.
Cairns is working closely with Rev. Gregory Jones on several social fronts.
Rev. Jones is the pastor of the Union Community Church and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Theology at Valparaiso University.
Founded in 2007, The non-profit Turtle Island Project is known for its ongoing work with Native American issues - and the other wing involves other Earth-based religions like the Celts. Cairns is a co-founder of the Turtle Island Project.
Rev. Cairns continues to work closely with the foremost Celtic group in the world, the Iona Community in Scotland that is a dispersed Christian ecumenical community working for peace and social justice, rebuilding of community and the renewal of worship.
Cairns is a research professor of Practical Theology and Spirituality at Chicago Theological Seminary, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and lives in Chesterton, Indiana.
Cairns recently completed a six-part "contemplative reading and discussion" of Philip Newell's book
"Christ of the Celts" at the Union Community Church. Cairns and his wife, Nancy, recently hosted a conference on Celtic Spirituality, Ecology, and Participative Consciousness.
Dr. Cairns says:
Celtic Christianity is a strand of the Christian tradition which developed during the
middle of the first millennium. Its full flowering in Ireland and Scotland continued for several hundred years before it was incorporated into the dominant church as many of its traditions were lost or suppressed.
There are two major reasons for this recovery and reconstruction of Celtic Christian practical theology for the church today: Church Renewal & Engaging and transforming the genocide and ecocide taking place today.
We are concerned that our current individual and systemic western consciousness is disembodied and ill. We believe that this process started several thousand years ago in the late Paleolithic. We are not trying to turn back the clock to the Stone Age. But we do know that a change in consciousness must begin if our planet and we are to survive.
What we have lost is participative consciousness, which understands that our lives are profoundly related to the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of all of creation. Another way of putting this is that we are completely relational beings. Reconnection with all of creation as sacred and responsive
and alive is our great task in the early 21st century.
We have living guides to help us such as Celtic Spirituality, Native American Spirituality and post-modern science. I believe we need to integrate the profound gifts of these resources and open ourselves to deepen our relationships with all of creation.”
Related websites and information:
Celtic Christianity Today - created by Rev. Dr. George Cairns:
Celtic Christianity Today (youtube):
The Iona Community in Scotland:
The Iona Community New World Foundation: An organization of associate members &
friends of the Iona Community (Scotland) living in the United States:
http://www.Turtle Island Project.org
Turtle Island TV (blipTV & youtube)
TurtleIslandProject@charter.netRev. Dr. George Cairns delivers the first of several Sunday homilies at the Union... more
Bishops and other faith leaders dicuss faith and protecting the environment during Earth day 2009 blessing and planting of the first of 12,000 trees.
Across northern Michigan this weekend, over 12,000 trees will be planted at thousands of locations in three hours by 100 churches and temples.
Trees for two locations have been delayed and will be planted on Sunday, May 10, 2009.
Some groups and individuals have donated money to help the tree project including Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Western U.P. Chapter 30918 in Ironwood, Michigan.
It's the interfaith Upper Peninusla EarthKeeper Tree Project.
Projects involves ten religions (faith traditions), college students, Native Americans and two nonprofits.
It's the fifth annual Earth Keeper project for Earth Day including the 2006 recycling of 320 tons of computers, hard drives, related eqipment and cell phones - and the 2007 collection of over one ton of pills and other pharmaceuticals.
Faith community congregations turned out by the tens of thousands to participate in all the EarthKeeper projects across a 400-mile area of remote northern Michigan.Bishops and other faith leaders dicuss faith and protecting the environment during... more
The hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica may be impairing the Southern Ocean's ability to mop up carbon dioxide from Earth's atmosphere, according to work presented at a meeting in France today.
Earth's oceans are the largest sink of carbon dioxide, with the Southern Ocean accounting for more than 40% of the annual oceanic uptake of the greenhouse gas, says Andrew Lenton, a marine biochemist at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris. In theory, seas should soak up more carbon dioxide as levels of the gas in the atmosphere rise.
But recent measurements have bucked simulations1–3 and shown that the Southern Ocean's surface waters have higher carbon levels than expected, which also makes them more acidic. As a result, the amount of CO2 that the ocean absorbs each year has also flattened out.
What was missing from the models, says Lenton, was stratospheric ozone damage — which, along with the climatic effects of greenhouse-gas emissions, is thought to be behind the observed strengthening of southern winds. These winds, he says, may be stirring up ocean currents that bring carbon stored in the deep ocean up to the surface. As part of the five-year CARBOOCEAN project, a research consortium on marine impacts of carbon-dioxide emissions that is meeting in Dourdan from 8–12 December, Lenton and his colleagues built Southern Ocean simulations that coupled the ozone's effects on winds to ocean currents and marine carbon levels.
Until now, these connections have only been studied piecemeal, says Christoph Heinze, a biogeochemical modeller at the University of Bergen in Norway, who was not involved in the study. "It's one of the rare examples where somebody has really looked at several components of the Earth system together," he says.
By running the models both with and without ozone depletion since 1975, the researchers "isolated the signal from ozone depletion", says Lenton's co-worker Francis Codron, an atmospheric scientist at the Dynamic Meteorology Laboratory in Paris.
Including the ozone hole reproduced the unexpectedly feeble carbon sink observed by oceanographers. "These sound like very different parts of the system, and yet one affects the other," says Codron.
The signal from ozone, the researchers found, drove a drop in Southern Ocean surface pH of 0.01 units from 1994 to 2004 — half the total pH decline in that period, and one-tenth of the change since the pre-industrial era.The hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica may be impairing the Southern Ocean's... more
Okay so they're not necessarily plastic (though they could be), and they probably won't "solve" climate change, but according to Klaus Lackner, a geophysicist at Columbia University, the concept would give us time to develop alternative energies and slow the damaging effects of CO2 in our atmosphere. The San Diego Union Tribune reported today that both real and fake trees are being explored as options to fight climate change. Researchers are looking at both options to suck up CO2 out of our atmosphere and it looks like the fake trees might be winning.
The idea would be to make tall, fake "trees" that collect CO2; not in the way a normal tree would gather CO2, but rather, by using filters that stick to CO2 as it passes by. The current prototypes are 1,000 times better than real trees at sucking up CO2 and they are not using energy to photosynthesize anything.
Scientists at the University of Maryland and the University of Griefswald in Germany, on the other hand, are looking to real trees for the answer. They say that if we could manage all of the forests in the world then we technically could offset all of our fossil fuel emissions. Though there are several problems with this strategy A) thats a lot of management B) you would need a system to bury the trees deep underground when they die otherwise you're still releasing CO2 and C) that assumes no growth in fossil fuel emissions.
How Can We Manage Forests To Capture CO2?
The UM professors suggest thinning forests every 5 years and burying the wood. The possibility even exists to have tree farms strictly for growth, capture of CO2 and burial. The catch: the scientists estimate it would take 2.47 billion acres of forest just to capture annual global carbon dioxide emissions. "Its about 1/4 of all the Earth's land surface currently covered by forest." While you can plant trees just about anywhere, location and type of tree also affects carbon capture.
In addition, huge forests of trees can be heat sinks, thus raising the temperatures around them. There are also questions about how increasing trees would affect the landscape around the area.
How do CO2 filter trees work?
The fake trees are in test phase right now in Arizona. After several trials, they have a version that requires very little energy to operate. Basically, they use "tree trunks" that are multiple filters coated in a plastic resin. When air passes over the filter, the CO2 sticks to the resin and creates sodium carbonate (soda ash). When the filters are exposed to moisture the sodium carbonate is released and can then be stored/buried. The filters are then reusable.
What's even better is that they are so effective. A 20 square inch filter piece can take up the annual carbon emissions of one American in one year. One of these "trees" is 55 feet by 65 feet, and captures 90,000 tons of CO2 each year, equal to 15,000 cars. Now we're talking.
Continued-Okay so they're not necessarily plastic (though they could be), and they probably... more
"For eons, the world’s oceans have been sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and releasing it again in a steady inhale and exhale. The ocean takes up carbon dioxide through photosynthesis by plant-like organisms (phytoplankton), as well as by simple chemistry: carbon dioxide dissolves in water. It reacts with seawater, creating carbonic acid. Carbonic acid releases hydrogen ions, which combine with carbonate in seawater to form bicarbonate, a form of carbon that doesn’t escape the ocean easily.
Crew members aboard the R/V Roger Revelle retrieve a CTD rosette from the frigid waters of the Southern Ocean. As the device is lowered into the ocean, electronic instruments measure salinity, temperature, and depth. Each of the white bottles collects seawater at different depths for detailed analysis. (Photograph ©2008 Brett longworth.)
As we burn fossil fuels and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels go up, the ocean absorbs more carbon dioxide to stay in balance. But this absorption has a price: these reactions lower the water’s pH, meaning it’s more acidic. And the ocean has its limits. As temperatures rise, carbon dioxide leaks out of the ocean like a glass of root beer going flat on a warm day. Carbonate gets used up and has to be re-stocked by upwelling of deeper waters, which are rich in carbonate dissolved from limestone and other rocks.
In the center of the ocean, wind-driven currents bring cool waters and fresh carbonate to the surface. The new water takes up yet more carbon to match the atmosphere, while the old water carries the carbon it has captured into the ocean.
The warmer the surface water becomes, the harder it is for winds to mix the surface layers with the deeper layers. The ocean settles into layers, or stratifies. Without an infusion of fresh carbonate-rich water from below, the surface water saturates with carbon dioxide. The stagnant water also supports fewer phytoplankton, and carbon dioxide uptake from photosynthesis slows. In short, stratification cuts down the amount of carbon the ocean can take up."
Good article about the scientific research that goes into determining the natural and human factors behind Co2 absorption and balance in our oceans. And as this article illustrates, humans will have to mitigate their emissions of Co2 in order for our oceans to continue to be able to balance Co2 in a way that sustains them, our planet, and all species that depend on them for life."For eons, the world’s oceans have been sucking carbon dioxide out of the... more
In a Hobart laboratory a few weeks ago, a young marine biologist placed the shell of a tiny sea snail on a weighing scale and held her breath. Donna Roberts's critical experiment rested on getting the exact weight of this fragile specimen; any movement in the room could instantly throw off the delicate scale, so sensitive it is called a microbalance.
Roberts had been weighing 100 of these shells, stripped from snails that had been collected from the depths of the great Southern Ocean half way between Tasmania and Antarctica.
The snails, known to biologists as pteropods, swim through the sea like butterflies. They are as abundant as krill and help feed the ocean's huge schools of fish.
The shell specimens dated back to 1996 and the earlier ones had weighed in at 20 micrograms. But Roberts observed that as the specimens became more recent, the weight of the shells had fallen. When her last specimen, from 2005, weighed in at just 10 micrograms, Roberts barely dared to breathe.
"Wow, what is going on?" she asked herself. A halving of shell weight in just one decade was a real worry.
Roberts's still unpublished research is just one reason why her collaborator, Dr Will Howard, from the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, this week convened an extraordinary meeting of Australia's leading marine scientists in Hobart.
For three days, the 50 scientists, along with colleagues from America and New Zealand, focused their collective minds on a threat that has emerged, it seems, from out of the blue: the growing acidification of our oceans.
These scientists now know that burning fossil fuels and massive land clearing are not just warming the planet and raising sea temperatures, they are also changing the chemical make up of the oceans. A vast amount of the carbon dioxide humans have pumped into the atmosphere since the industrial revolution has been absorbed by oceans.
A new report by the Antarctic research centre, released at the Hobart meeting, says that about half the fossil fuel carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by humans has now dissolved into the oceans. If we keep pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at the current projections, by 2100 the ocean acidification will be three times that experienced at the end of the glacial period, 15,000 years ago.
The chemistry is basic. The ocean is a weakly alkaline solution. When carbon dioxide sucked in from the atmosphere dissolves in sea water, it forms a weak acid, making the ocean more acidic. For sea life with fragile shells, corals and countless other sea creatures, a more acidic ocean could be disastrous and have unknown impacts right up the marine food chain.
Our oceans have absorbed so much CO2 they will one day no longer be able to sustain life if we continue on the path we are on. What we do to other species we do to ourselves.
In a Hobart laboratory a few weeks ago, a young marine biologist placed the shell of a... more
The human race has gotten itself into quite a conundrum. We haven't made a real effort yet to mitigate the 70 million tons of C02 we spew into the atmosphere every day... so now, the oceans have reached their capacity for absorbing it and studies are showing that trees are also reaching limits in Northern forests. And on top of that we continue to deforest areas for greed thus contributing to the drought that covered 40% of this country and 35 % of the entire world last year that is pervasive and continuing. So as 2007 was the year of awakenings for many, 2008 must be the year that awakening leads to loud demands to politicians for leadership on this and solutions across the board. Many cities and states have not disappointed and have taken action. However, we now need to turn it up a notch because once our oceans and our trees are no longer able to balance the amount of Co2 we spew into the atmosphere through absorption the results will be an unsustainable planet for our children and that simply is not an option. So for 2008 make a resolution that you will plant a tree. It is something simple but it is something that this Earth desperately needs to heal her.The human race has gotten itself into quite a conundrum. We haven't made a real... more