Friday, September 14, 2012

Human-Caused Oceanic Death Spiral

This could be the worst news about marine ecology of all time, so, except for those whose heads are perpetually in the sand, please read very carefully.

Phytoplankton has since the 1950s declined 40% globally, or 1% per year on average. The decline is especially severe near the poles where the loss has been 90% (see Diagram 1), and the tropics.

Phytoplankton serves three important functions:

1. It absorbs dissolved carbon dioxide from ocean waters. This prevents the oceans from becoming acidified, and severe acidification can cause massive extinction. At the End-Permian 251 million years ago, global-warming-related ocean acidification did cause a 95% mass-extinction of marine species, including all corals.

2. It releases oxygen into the oceans and the atmosphere, to about the same extent as the terrestrial plants, replenishing that previously removed by the animals and by oxidation of various kinds including combustion.

3. It serve as foundational source for the entire marine food pyramid. No phytoplankton, no zooplankton. No plankton, no fish. No fish, no marine mammals and birds.

Unfortunately, anthropogenic greenhouse gasses independently lead to ocean warming and acidification (see Diagram 2), which cause decline of the phytoplankton, rendering it ineffective in alleviating acidification as well as oxygen regeneration.

We are driving marine ecology into a death spiral with our current way of life. Unless we radically change our course, we are dooming our own children to hell on Earth.

"Can this be changed in time?" asks Shannon Wright.

Anthony Marr's answer: "Other than a total greening of technology and way of life, we need massive geo-engineering to deacidify the oceans and recool the planet, which requires INTEGRATIVE TRANSCENDENCE of the nations into a single global civilization known in the OMNISCIENTIFIC COSMOLOGY as the PLANETARY ORGANISM of which the nations shall be organs. Can we do it? Of course miracles CAN happen. Will this one happen? It is up to us."

For more details, see this Scientific American article for more details:

Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)

1 comment:

Polaris John said...

As a start we have to learn to plant stuff faster than we are ripping it up, even if it is planting grass and scrub brush. The huge tracks of bare earth we leave behind are adding to our problems.

If we can all start pulling more CO2 out of the air faster than we are pushing it out, we can start to hope to avoid wiping ourselves off the planet