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Moonlight 04-10-2006 12:29 PM

Increae in PH in the Pacific
Did anybody else read the cruise report from a recent NOAA cruise that terminated in Seward Alaska? It was kind of interesting (scary as hell actually). It seems that the Oceans are pretty good at eating up (absorbing) the excessive amounts of CO2 that are the by product of Fossil Fuel consumption. The only problem appears to be that in so doing the PH (acid) level of the oceans is on the rise and is causing some early signs of being detremental to the formation of shells in most of the creitters that have shells.
Can you imagine how big a crash the elimination of Krill would cause! I am sure glad we keep spending billions on space exploration and millions on Ocean research. Maybe there is Krill in the methane oceans on Titan.

GregD 04-11-2006 09:24 PM

Hi Moonlight,

I did do some reading about the carbon sink ability of the oceans. If I recall they are 1/3 of the way filled already. Lot's of implications as man and mother nature play with the chemistries of the planet.

I think I posted a link to an article earlier about this problem that goes into alot of detail about it. I'll see if I can dig up a link to those that might have an interest.


josko 04-12-2006 05:41 PM

If Ph is rising, that would mean the oceans are getting more alkaline, not acidic. Wonder if a little extra acid rain could help restore the balance?

Moonlight 04-12-2006 05:59 PM

Thank you Josko for correcting me, the PH levels is dropping which is creating the problems maybe you could arrange an alkaline rain to sweeten it up instead.

salmo 04-12-2006 06:01 PM

When CO2 react with water it forms unstable carbonic acid H2CO3 making environment slightly acidic. The pH is slightly below 7 , which is a neutral point . There is an equilibrium between CO2, H2O and carbonic acid.

Lower pH, more acidic environment. 7 is a neutral point.
Trout streams are , I belive, sligthly basic ( 7.2-7.5)

Moonlight 02-23-2008 02:12 AM

Just a bit of an update re. Acid in the Ocean
Well it appears that there is now a bit more information re. the problem of "Acidification" of the worlds Oceans, apparently it is quite troublesome as I feared when I first reported this! But not to worry it is a cyclical event and should be back to normal in a soon as 2 miilion years although it may take as long as 10 million! I'll leave it up to you brilliant young fellows to fill in the blanks as to posting links etc just Google Pacific Ocean Acidity and you will find all the heart warming fuel you will need.

pescaphile 02-23-2008 02:15 PM

The increased acidity literally dissolves the exoskeletons of krill. These skeletons are made up of calcium carbonate. Hey! maybe I should look at the glass as half-full, this might just keep those pesky barnacles from building up on the bottom of my boat! Trouble is I suppose that there wont be many fish around to chase with the boat.

I've used acid to remove the remnants of barnacles from boat bottoms. Just apply a little lime remove sold in stores for clearing out plumbing. They immediately fizz and bubble and what's left of those nasty barnacles is gone. Too bad a similar thing is happening with the foundation of our ocean's food chain.

Salmo: There are plenty of trout in waters that are acidic too. I can attest as most streams around here have pH < 7 due to naturally-occurring tannic acids leached from the extensive muskegs in our watersheds.

Moonlight - water temperatures here just recently warmed up to 34F after being in the 32-33 range since mid-December. Woo Hoo! (not). Oh well, the trend is in the right direction (glass half full).

SSPey 02-23-2008 06:29 PM


Originally Posted by salmo
When CO2 react with water it forms unstable carbonic acid H2CO3 making environment slightly acidic. The pH is slightly below 7 , which is a neutral point . There is an equilibrium between CO2, H2O and carbonic acid.

fwiw, the pH of pure water in equilibrium with atmospheric CO2 is 5.65 - quite acidic - yet poorly buffered. Seawater has circumneutral pH because of all the CaCO3 in it, from rock weathering delivered by rivers, which also helps somewhat to buffer the water against the acidifying influence of atmospheric CO2.

ocean acidification will be a subject of intense study over the next decade or so. The chemistry behind it is very rudimentary and well understood (simple carbonate chemistry). What's not as well understood is how biological systems will cope. For example, many planktonic algae are able to form calcium-carbonate skeletons are pH well below what they should theoretically be able to do, by creating local "microenvironments" conducive to carbonate precipitation. So although it seems that biology has some tricks for dealing with low pH, we don't know the true limits to those tricks as pH continues to drop.

Eric 02-23-2008 06:40 PM

You read it here! What a wonderful forum (no ironic emoticon here)! Haven't had this much of a rush since I flunked organic chemistry.

Anyway, my weaknesses aside, this is something truly scary and demands watching.
Hard to imagine what to do on the scale that's operative.

Basically yours,


Moonlight 02-23-2008 10:53 PM

I really think that the glass is less than full. However I now know that when the PH is going down the Acid is going up and back in the 60's the Acid was always way too high.
Would not it be the best news you have ever herad to learn that this entire discourse was false! Rising sea levels and sub prime monetary problems are alot like teenage Acne compared to this "terminal cancer".
Pescaphile I will see you this Spring in your HomeWaters!

flytyer 02-25-2008 07:21 PM


There were many discoveries which were the result of the acid water glass being half full (heck, even a little of the acid water resulted in some pretty bizarre discoveries).

t_richerzhagen 03-05-2008 07:28 PM

A Little Chemistry
Na+ and K+ are spectator ions and do not buffer water or seawater, as they have no tendency to pick up either H+ or OH-. Ca2+ is also a spectator ion. Mg2+ is slightly acidic, as are many metal cations, because it pulls a little OH- from water leaving H+ behind.

There is buffering in seawater, but it is not form cations.

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