Notes on Carbon Dioxide in Global Warming, Acidified Oceans, and Weathered Rocks

Like CO2 (carbon dioxide), H2O (water vapor) is a strongly heteropolar molecule — having one end with a positive electrical charge, and another end with a negative electrical charge — and absorbs outgoing Infrared Radiation (IR) from Earth’s surface, thus capturing heat in the atmosphere. Homopolar molecules like N2 (nitrogen) and O2 (oxygen) are transparent to IR. Inelastic molecular collisions redistribute that heat (as kinetic energy) to other atmospheric molecules (N2, O2, mainly) and atoms (Ar, He, trace components).

Most of Earth’s surface heat eventually diffuses into the oceans. Heat flows along the heat gradient in the negative direction from warmer air to colder water. The heat capacity (storage ability) of the oceans is IMMENSE (this is where ‘global warming’ ends up), and their heat content takes centuries to diffuse into a stable stratified distribution, rearranged by thermo-haline currents (a solar forcing effect) and by geometry (oceans as a spherical shell with warm equator and cold poles, so ocean heat diffuses poleward).

The fundamental problem of global warming is the ‘excess’ capture of outgoing IR (infrared radiation), reducing the rejection of Earth heat (originally delivered by incoming

— source | Manuel Garcia Jr | Sep 13, 2021

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Is your sunscreen killing the sea?

Sunscreen is essential to protect skin against cancer, and with many pandemic-related travel restrictions around the world starting to lift, sales are expected to rocket. Estimates vary about how much sunscreen makes it into our oceans each year. Researchers estimated that 20,000 tonnes is washed off tourists every year in the northern Mediterranean alone. between 6,000 and 14,000 tonnes are released annually in coral reef areas each year. The focus has been on two chemicals, the ultraviolet filters oxybenzone and octinoxate, though there are other troubling ingredients. Hawaii banned those UV filters from January this year, and in 2018 Palau announced broader restrictions on sunscreens containing a number of chemicals. Other regions have similar bans.

— source | 6 Aug 2021

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The ocean is losing its breath — here’s the global scope

In the past 50 years, the amount of water in the open ocean with zero oxygen has gone up more than fourfold. In coastal water bodies, including estuaries and seas, low-oxygen sites have increased more than 10-fold since 1950. Scientists expect oxygen to continue dropping even outside these zones as Earth warms. To halt the decline, the world needs to rein in both climate change and nutrient pollution. Approximately half of the oxygen on Earth comes from the ocean. However, combined effects of nutrient loading and climate change are greatly increasing the number and size of ‘dead zones’ in the open ocean and coastal waters, where oxygen is too low to support most marine life.

In areas traditionally called “dead zones,” like those in Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, oxygen plummets to levels so low many animals suffocate and die. As fish avoid these zones, their habitats shrink and they become more vulnerable to predators or fishing. But the problem goes far beyond “dead zones,” the authors point out. Even smaller oxygen declines can stunt growth in animals, hinder reproduction and lead to disease or even death. It also can trigger the

— source University of California – San Diego | Jan 4, 2018

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Deadly Bacteria Spread across Oceans as Water Temperatures Rise

Deadly bacteria are spreading through the oceans as waters warm up, and are increasing infection risks, according to a new study. A report published yesterday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examined the role of the changing climate in Vibrio infections. In the United States, Vibrio bacteria cause about 80,000 illnesses and 100 deaths each year. The species that causes the devastating diarrheal disease cholera, Vibrio cholerae, is responsible for up to 142,000 deaths around the world annually, according to the World Health Organization.

Plankton samples were collected from nine areas in the North Atlantic and the North Sea between 1958 and 2011. During this time frame, sea surface temperatures increased by roughly 1.5 degrees Celsius. From the plankton samples, researchers measured the presence and abundance of Vibriobacteria and compared the information to climate records. Controlling for other variables like ocean salinity and acidity, researchers found that Vibrio bacteria populations increased as sea surface temperatures rose.

— source | Aug 9, 2016

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Only 1% of global rivers contribute 80% of riverine plastic pollution to oceans

1000 rivers account for nearly 80% of global riverine plastic emissions into the ocean, according to our study, published in Science Advances. Our model suggests that instead of a handful of large continental rivers contributing the most emissions, a high number of small and medium-sized rivers play a significant role in the influx of plastic from rivers to the ocean. These 1000 rivers can present very different characteristics, including river width, flow dynamics, marine traffic, and urbanization. A wide range of mitigation measures must be applied to these rivers across the globe to substantially decrease the amount of waste entering our oceans from rivers. Our study results are accessible in this interactive map, where you can find and help to address your nearest polluting river. These 1000 rivers account for nearly 80% of global annual emissions, ranging between 0.8 million and 2.7 million metric tons per year, with small urban rivers among the most polluting.

— source | 30 Apr 2021

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How Warming Oceans Are Accelerating the Climate Crisis

The climate emergency is bigger than many experts, elected officials, and activists realize. Humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions have overheated Earth’s atmosphere, unleashing punishing heat waves, hurricanes, and other extreme weather—that much is widely understood. The larger problem is that the overheated atmosphere has in turn overheated the oceans, assuring a catastrophic amount of future sea level rise.

As oceans heat up, the water rises—in part because warm water expands, but also because the warmer waters have initiated a major melt of polar ice sheets. As a result, average sea levels around the world are now all but certain to rise by at least 20 to 30 feet. That’s enough to put large parts of many coastal cities, home to hundreds of millions of people, under water.

The key questions are how soon this sea level rise will happen and whether humans

— source | Harold Wanless | Apr 13, 2021

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Japan Fleet Kills 333 Whales in Antarctic Hunt

Japanese whalers returned to port Thursday after an Antarctic hunt that killed more than 300 of the mammals, the government said. The fleet had set sail for the Southern Ocean in December, with plans to slaughter 333 minke whales, despite a worldwide moratorium and opposition led by Australia and New Zealand. Japan’s Fisheries Agency announced Thursday that the target number of “scientific research” kills had been achieved.

— source | 2016

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Greenland’s Meltwater dumping phosphorus in ocean

meltwater funnels rock dust into Greenland’s glacial rivers, where Jon Hawkings and his colleagues took their samples. They found that Greenland’s rivers are much richer in phosphorus than previously believed. And they estimate that Greenland’s glacial rivers may flush some 400,000 tons of phosphorus into ocean waters every year—that’s on par with the amount of phosphorous dumped into the ocean by the Mississippi or Amazon rivers. The findings appear in the journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles.

— source

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Devastating skin disease covering up to 70% of a dolphin’s body tied to climate change

Scientists at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, CA — the largest marine mammal hospital in the world — and international colleagues have identified a novel skin disease in dolphins that is linked to climate change. The study is a groundbreaking discovery, as it is the first time since the disease first appeared in 2005 that scientists have been able to link a cause to the condition that affects coastal dolphin communities worldwide. Due to the decreased water salinity brought upon by climate change, the dolphins develop patchy and raised skin lesions across their bodies — sometimes covering upwards of 70 percent of their skin.

— source The Marine Mammal Center | Dec 18, 2020

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