At the 164th Acoustical Society of America (ASA) convention which was held October 22-Oct 26, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri, David G. Browning reported the findings from his scientific research on higher acid levels of the ocean sea water that low-frequency sound is traveling farther. The prediction is that by 2100, global warming acidified seawater will cause ocean surface sounds to travel possibly twice as far as they do now.
The research team lead scientist, Browning says, “We call it the Cretaceous acoustic effect, because ocean acidification forced by global warming appears to be leading us back to the similar ocean acoustic conditions as those that existed 110 million years ago, during the Age of Dinosaurs.” Other researchers studied sea floor sediment levels of boron to measure 300 million years worth of ocean acidity. By the sound absorption traits of the mineral, they came up with the low frequency sound transmission of today being like that of the Paleozoic era. Whales vocalize in that 200 hz low frequency.
As the ocean’s acid level increases, sound transference increases up to its best value about 110 million years ago, during the Age of Dinosaurs. Why is that important? Browning says “It impacts the design and performance prediction of sonar systems. It affects estimation of low frequency ambient noise levels in the ocean. And it’s something we have to consider to improve our understanding of the sound environment of marine animals and the effects of human activity on that environment.”
On the pH scale of zero to fourteen, zero is most acidic and fourteen is most basic. The ocean pH has been around eight but is quickly dropping to seven. Burning fossil fuels has caused the resulting carbon dioxide to collect in the ocean water creating carbolic acid. That decreases carbonate ions which marine organisms depend on to build live coral reefs that help protect us from tsunamis, besides providing us with fish to eat and jobs for millions, including in tourism. Like acid rain on land can dissolve the walls of limestone houses, acid in the ocean dissolves coral reefs.
The prior World Bank chief biodiversity advisor, Thomas Lovejoy, suggested that “the acidity
of the oceans will more than double in the next 40 years. This rate is 100 times faster than any changes in ocean acidity in the last 20 million years, making it unlikely that marine life can somehow adapt to the changes.”
Robert H. Byrne of the University of South Florida has shown that in 15 years from 1995-2010 in the Pacific Ocean’s upper 100 meters (about 328 feet) of water from Hawaii to Alaska, acidity went up by six percent. Jonathan Havenhand’s research at the University of Gothenburg in Swedenit has demonstrated it is slowing down sperm and threatening the survival of marine species.
One proposed solution has been to fertilize the ocean with iron to increase the number of phytoplankton. Supposedly, they would convert some of the carbon dioxide into carbohydrate and oxygen gas, some of which would sink to the deeper ocean as the plankton died. This does add additional carbon into the ocean and could increase acidification in the deep ocean with a chance of removing some of the acid from surface ocean. Read the article about the unscientific geo-engineering experiment for profit done in Canada in July 2012.
The real change maker will be if man decides to change his current carbon-based lifestyle and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. At the state level, Alaska and Washington legislatures are working on laws to study ocean acidification to protect their shellfish. In 2009, the United States House of Representatives passed HR 2454, the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act, that died in the Senate. Send an email to your senator to express your concern about the effects of carbon dioxide emissions on the world’s oceans.
Watch the attached scenic United Nations video on the Decade of Biodiversity, 2011-2020 and what is happening to the planet.