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1 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Wed, Jul 28, 2010 6:49:27pm

Excellent post. Ultimately, ocean anoxia is the worst effect of AGW.

2 Bob Levin  Wed, Jul 28, 2010 11:29:14pm

Can you grow these little guys? If so, that would be a significant cause to get behind.

3 freetoken  Thu, Jul 29, 2010 12:50:33am

re: #2 Bob Levin

Well yes, anyone can grow phytoplankton. Just put an open jar of water outside for a few days (refill with non-chlorinated water if necessary) and pretty soon you’ll see the water turn green.

What has happened, apparently, is that globally production of phytoplankton is down, and the primary cause looks to be global warming, though there are probably many factors involved.

With the cause(s) not quiet ambiguous but also not fully resolved it becomes near impossible to make a prescription about what to do to mend the situation.

We are changing the biosphere in some very profound ways, and there will be those nasty “unknown unknowns” to deal with, including effects in the ocean.

4 Bob Levin  Thu, Jul 29, 2010 6:02:54am

So there would be two lines of research opening up, and probably already underway. One would be to better understand the oceans to see what conditions need to be in place for the plankton to grow and thrive. The second would be to create inland spaces for plankton to grow—and this would be a new type of farming.

I can see the human race getting through this.

5 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Jul 29, 2010 2:45:47pm

re: #3 freetoken

re: #4 Bob Levin

Some of the causes are much better known than that.

The biggest one is simple pollution. All of the garbage and waste that we have dumped into the oceans and that runs off from cities has poisoned vast areas of the sea and you can readily see these dead zones from satellites.

I more insidious, and ultimately more dangerous effect is that we the oceans can only absorb so much CO2 before the buffer system (buffer system in the chemical sense and having to do with the chemistry of salts) begins to become overwhelmed. The oceans are simply acidifying and this effects phytoplankton very badly.

This is also a feedback loop as those phytoplankton are the primary scrubbers of CO2 in the seas. The more of them die, the less CO2 gets scrubbed, the more acidic the seas ultimately become. The long term effect of all of this is called ocean anoxia.

We could reach - and are marching towards - a world with dead oceans.


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