In late September, The Weather Channel website published an article about the latest IPCC report entitled The Ocean And Cryosphere In A Changing Climate. This report was released by the UN on September 24th, and claimed climate change is accelerating, which will create conditions even more catastrophic than had been thought.
The IPCC report said oceans are becoming more acidic and polar regions are losing ice ever faster, resulting in accelerated sea-level rise. In typical IPCC fashion, the report claims to be ‘conservative’, and that sea-level rise may well be twice what is predicted. Also predicted was the death of coral reefs.
This is the report summary on the Weather Channel website.
It’s interesting to note that the late John Coleman, who founded The Weather Channel, was a confirmed climate skeptic, and took the current people who run the channel to task several times during interviews on the air.
Ocean Acidification is one of those things that makes my blood boil. The public are actually being told the oceans are an acid, and going by some of the comments I’ve seen and heard, they are believing it. To me this beggars belief, so let’s be quite clear, the oceans are NOT acidic, they are an alkaline.
The oceans have a Ph of between 7.9 and 8.3, which makes them well into the range of alkalinity. Neutral Ph is 7, so only below 7 does water become acidic. If the oceans warm, they absorb less CO2 and they become slightly less alkaline, but at no time do they become acidic. Below is the pH scale. 0 – 6.9 are the acids, 7 is pH neutral, 7.1 – 12 are the alkalines.
Seawater is quite clearly an alkaline, and it should be noticed that ‘normal’ rain is slightly acidic; with a pH of 6, and some soils are quite strongly acidic, with a pH of 4, as are many of the foods we eat. Climate alarmists’ computer models have predicted a reduction in the Pacific pH to 7.8 by 2100, but the ocean around Peru is already at 7.7, and the population of anchovies fished there for us to eat is thriving.
Since pH is a logarithmic scale, a difference of one pH unit is equivalent to a tenfold difference, so a pH level of 8 is ten times as alkaline as a level of 7, and a pH level of 5 is ten times as acidic as a level of 6.
This is the description Wikipedia gives for ocean acidification – “Ocean acidification is the ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth‘s oceans, caused by the uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere.]
Seawater is slightly basic (meaning pH > 7), and ocean acidification involves a shift towards pH-neutral conditions rather than a transition to acidic conditions (pH < 7). An estimated 30–40% of the carbon dioxide from human activity released into the atmosphere dissolves into oceans, rivers and lakes. To achieve chemical equilibrium, some of it reacts with the water to form carbonic acid. Some of the resulting carbonic acid molecules dissociate into a bicarbonate ion and a hydrogen ion, thus increasing ocean acidity (H+ ion concentration).
Between 1751 and 1996, surface ocean pH is estimated to have decreased from approximately 8.25 to 8.14, representing an increase of almost 30% in H+ ion concentration in the world’s oceans. Earth System Models project that, by around 2008, ocean acidity exceeded historical analogues and, in combination with other ocean biogeochemical changes, could undermine the functioning of marine ecosystems and disrupt the provision of many goods and services associated with the ocean beginning as early as 2100.”
Now, while Wikipedia has been shown to be biased towards climate alarmism, this entry does not say the oceans are becoming acidic, it merely says the pH is reducing, but alarmists will mis-read it as saying the oceans are turning into an acid. Note the words I have highlighted in italics.
On December 20th 2014, the website CFact carried an article entitled What if Obama’s climate change policies are based on pHraud?
If you look at the graph they showed (below), it appears the average ocean pH since 1910 has actually increased rather than decreased as the public are often told. This is because warmer water can hold less CO2. Less CO2 means less carbonic acid being produced. Less carbonic acid increases alkalinity. This means the oceans are even more alkaline than they were in 1910.
The correct description for a reducing level of ocean pH would be something like ‘ocean dealkalinisation’, but that’s rather a mouthful and doesn’t sound alarming, whereas ‘ocean acidification’ does, and implies are oceans are turning into an acid because of human activity, which of course is the intention of such claims.
The next claim was of accelerating sea-level rise. I’ve saved quite a few tide gauge records off the official NOAA website, and none of the ones I’ve seen show any acceleration in sea-level rise at all.
When the world was recovering from the last ice age, the sea levels were around 140 meters below their current level. There was a fairly constant sea level rise coincidental with the retreat of the glaciers and the collapse of the ice sheets.
The most recent three, from geologic evidence based largely upon analysis of deep cores of coral reefs, were a 13.5 metre rise around 14,200 years ago, a 7.5 metre rise around 11,000 years ago and a 6.5 metre rise around 8,000 years ago, adding up to a 27.5 metre rise which ended 8000 years ago.
Since then, global sea levels have been relatively stable, with the best guess from the available data suggesting there has been an average global increase of 0.8mm – 3.3mm per year for the last 2000 years.
If you take the lower figure of 0.8mm per year, that equates to approximately five feet. Taking the higher figure of 3.3mm per year, that equates to approximately 21 feet. So the global sea level rise in the last 2000 years has been somewhere between five and 21 feet.
At present, sea levels globally are rising about one inch per decade, the last vestiges of the end of the last ice age, an amount which is barely noticeable, and which is likely to continue for some years yet.
New York is supposed be showing clear signs of accelerating sea-level rise, but the NOAA tide gauge record for The Battery shows otherwise. I picked this one because Anthony Watts had added an amusing annotation:
Below is the record for is Florida, another oft-claimed recipient of catastrophic sea-level rise. This chart is for Fernandina Beach.
I’m struggling to see any acceleration in either of those illustrations.
If Greta Thunberg is so concerned about sea-level rise, maybe she should look at the records for her own country. The records for Furuogrund, Ratan and Stockholm all show falling sea-levels! Falling sea-levels are also being recorded at Vasa in Finland, Churchill and Tofino in Canada, Juneau in Alaska and Narvik in Norway. Falling and rising sea-levels at the same time? How can this be?
Simples to quote Alexandr Orlov of Compare the Market fame. It’s because of what is known as ‘isostatic rebound’, whereby the land is rising after having the great weight of the glaciers removed after the end of the last ice age.
While the northern part of North America is rising, the states around the Gulf coast are sinking in response, giving the impression sea-level is rising, when it’s more to do with the land sinking than sea-levels rising.
Above: Stockholm, Sweden. Another place claimed to be at imminent risk of inundation by the sea is Tuvalu, shown below.
Sea-level at Tuvalu is rising at 3.74mm a year, hardly a warning of imminent inundation. In fact, as you can see from the chart, there have been seven times when sea-levels around Tuvalu have fallen dramatically since the mid-1980’s, but alarmists never mention that.
One thing I did notice looking at the NOAA tide gauge records, is that most stations have not been updated since 2016 or 2017. There could be any number of reasons for this. Either most stations have ceased reporting, or NOAA for some reason have not updated their records. Some have suggested the lack of recent data is because NOAA is in the process of altering data to show an acceleration in sea-level rise. We can only speculate.
It is often reported that the Great Barrier Reef off the east coast of Australia is dying because of warming of the ocean. The actual reason for this decline is due to large areas of the reef being exposed at low tide.
If more of the reefs are being exposed, that means sea levels around the east coast of Australia are falling, or the land is rising. If the ocean around the reef warmed and sea levels increased or the land fell, the coral would flourish, as coral prefers warmer deeper water.
On August 14th, the Global Warming Policy Forum posted the article below on their website about the Australian environment minister saying the Great Barrier Reef is in much better condition than people were being told: TheGWPF.com
The other thing the article mentions is the poles losing ice faster than ever. The retired former Principal Scientific Officer with the UK government’s Dept of the Environment I’ve mentioned previously, downloaded data from the National Snow & Ice Data Center for the period 1979 to now for Antarctica, and produced this graph:
It shows a slight increase in ice accumulation, not a reduction as alarmists claim.
The Danish Meteorological Institute produced the chart below that shows a 3.5% reduction in Arctic ice extent per decade since 1980. That’s not 3.5% per year, it’s per decade.
If I’ve done my maths right, at that rate it would take around 500 years before all the Arctic ice has melted. If the rate of melt suddenly doubled to 7% per decade, it would take around 250 years to fully melt. A far cry from what alarmists are claiming.
If I can find the NOAA tide gauge data after relatively simple internet searches, the alarmists can as well, but it seems they choose not to, and instead believe without question what the likes of the IPCC and the media tell them, & we get vilified as ‘deniers’ when we produce data that refutes what they’ve seen.
In conclusion, we have to wonder why this scam is being perpetuated so aggressively, but I think we really know the answer to that already.
By Andy Rowlands, Guest writer