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New X Prize Quest: Sensors To Probe Oceanic Acid Levels

timothy posted about a year ago | from the deeper-and-deeper dept.

Earth 91

cold fjord notes that the X Prize Foundation has opened up a new mission: to quantify the acidification of the world's oceans, excerpting from a description on Nature's blog of the project's focus: "Scientists who study ocean acidification must confront a fundamental problem: It is hard to measure exactly how much the ocean's pH is changing. Today's sensors don't work well at depth or over long periods of time, and they are too expensive to deploy widely. That is where the US$2 million Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health X Prize comes in. The 22-month competition will award two $1 million prizes, one to the best low-cost sensor and one to the most accurate. The competition's organizers decided to award two prizes because the two goals present different engineering challenges. ... As carbon dioxide levels rise in the atmosphere, ocean water takes up some of the gas and becomes more acidic. This can harm shell-building marine life like coral, whose calcium carbonate skeletons dissolve in the increasingly acidic water. All of this research is bedeviled by the simple lack of technology to monitor ocean pH in real time across the world."

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91 comments

Whey do they need real-time results? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44809563)

Why do they need real-time results? If you can get clean samples and ship them back to the lab, what's wrong with that?

Re:Whey do they need real-time results? (3, Informative)

presidenteloco (659168) | about a year ago | (#44809645)

The real issue is not real-time but automated data collection and gathering.

For this to be helpful there would need to be many many of these operating (at a range of depths) worldwide.

The logistics and costs of gathering the data manually from each would probably be prohibitive.

Doing this sort of thing for years... (3, Informative)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#44809797)

These people have been doing this sort of thing for years.

http://cmdac.oce.orst.edu/osu/history.html [orst.edu]
http://kepler.oce.orst.edu/ [orst.edu]

Re:Doing this sort of thing for years... (3, Informative)

DrData99 (916924) | about a year ago | (#44809881)

You do realize that current meters measure water speed, not pH. Right?

Re:Doing this sort of thing for years... (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#44812867)

You do realize that current meters measure water speed, not pH. Right?

You do realize that the instrumentation is independent of the package, right?

Re:Doing this sort of thing for years... (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#44823159)

You do realize that current meters measure water speed, not pH. Right?

"Cuyrrent meter" is a generalized term. These meters - if you had taken the time to look you would know this - measure many parameters INCLUDING PH.

Re:Whey do they need real-time results? (2)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44809805)

So set up an autonomous buoy with standard instrumentation and a sampling tube/pump system suspended to the depths of interest. One could either use a series of tubes set to fixed depths or one with inlet valves at various points. Solar powered on the surface with a satellite uplink.

Send my $2 mill. to the local pub. I'll be running a tab.

Re:Whey do they need real-time results? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44810047)

http://www.benthos.com/

Divide the earths surface area by your desired resolution then multiple by your Bill Of Materials(BOM). Fixed buoys only cover so much water and acoustic/satellite modems are expensive. Cut corners in the most hazardous environment known to man and you will be paying a boat $40,000/day to heal dead pixels. Still sound trivial?

Re:Whey do they need real-time results? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44809949)

It's a question of physics. The old method was to transport water samples to a lab. Lab/sensor prices fell, the cost of transporting mass is coupled almost directly with energy costs. Only marginal improvements in efficiency of transportation are being made. Also, you have now married yourself to the rocket ship problem: the further you go, the more mass you have to carry with you. Mobile labs do not have the snowballing problem of accumulating samples/frequent flier miles to drop off their accumulated mass.

Your thought process is a good one though. Where you see a similar problem is remote vs live analysis of data where you are having to transport number crunching hardware to do it on-sight. The infrastructure cost of data transmission is where the economics of remote data processing come in to play. At the $/mb of Iridium satellite modem packets, the desire is to see the level of autonomy increase over time, but when you are paying a high $/Wh for energy storage, this has to be weighed against the power cost of transmitting data home. In some cases, the weight and energy consumption of the mobile processor is less expensive than the transmission costs. In other cases, the processing overhead is high enough that it makes sense to outsource it to a wall outlet.

Re:Whey do they need real-time results? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44815273)

umm... like, there are ships going all over the ocean, delivering products to and from each country. What would be the big deal with attaching a pH meter to the ship and querying it every 30 minutes or so. Shit a pH meter costs about $100.

Re:Whey do they need real-time results? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#44810181)

The reaction of carbon dioxide plus H2O is reversible. When you ship them back to the lab, the pH would change.

You might want real-time monitoring of large areas to see how or if currents and tides are changing to fit into the model, they're unlikely to be linear changes in most areas. Plus, you compare changes in pH to observations of organisms and you can have better graphs to show to politicians who are just going to fucking ignore it anyway and leave future generations without seafood if it means a thousand dollars in their pockets now.

Re:Whey do they need real-time results? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44811503)

The reaction of carbon dioxide plus H2O is reversible. When you ship them back to the lab, the pH would change.

Transport in sealed tubes solves the problem of outgassing. Chemical changes might be a problem in regions with high organic matter in the water, but that would not be the majority of sample sights.

Plus, you compare changes in pH to observations of organisms

Sensing pH and observing organisms are two dramatically different tasks. Short of permanently stationing millions of humans in habitats distributed all over the ocean surface, one is only going to be able to spot check such correlations.

you can have better graphs to show to politicians

Thanks for acknowledging that the real purpose of these observations isn't science, but rather to generate a pretext for massive governmental action.

who are just going to fucking ignore it anyway and leave future generations without seafood if it means a thousand dollars in their pockets now.

You forgot to explicitly blame corporations and capitalism for ((add horrific shriek of despair)) the impending death of all ocean life. Pollution has caused some local problems affecting coastal waters, but most of those problems are being dealt with, at least by those countries with governments accountable enough to those members of their populations whose lives are affected by the pollution, but there is no impending global catastrophe. There is no reason for you to be losing sleep.

Re:Whey do they need real-time results? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#44814017)

you can have better graphs to show to politicians

Thanks for acknowledging that the real purpose of these observations isn't science, but rather to generate a pretext for massive governmental action.

Oh, darn, I accidentally revealed that it's a massive economic conspiracy rather than real science. Shoot. Well, the shadowy board of nefarious figures I work for isn't going to be happy about this...

Re:Whey do they need real-time results? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44815375)

Never said that you work under the auspices of a shadowy board, merely that what you are after is massive government action. That much is clear from your post.

Re:Whey do they need real-time results? (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#44815977)

I'd be fine with free market economics if they showed any sign of solving such a huge externalized cost or self-regulating, but they never have and never will.

Re:Whey do they need real-time results? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44810577)

Why do they need real-time results? If you can get clean samples and ship them back to the lab, what's wrong with that?

Compared to data transmission, shipping is expensive:

For peanuts, relatively speaking, you can build a little underwater glider style robot [wikipedia.org] (or just a buoy or something) that will autonomously putter about as the currents take it for months to years, depending on how you power it and how lucky you get in terms of system failure.

If you can put the suitable sensor on such a vehicle, it becomes possible to measure pH at zillions of locations throughout the oceans with relatively cheap and expendable swarm robots. If you need to ship the sample back to the lab, you suddenly need a system complex enough to handle both going forth into the world and to send the sample in for recovery. Much more challenging.

Re:Whey do they need real-time results? (1)

mspohr (589790) | about a year ago | (#44812859)

The problem is the "suitable sensor".
This X Prize is to develop the sensor.
Current sensors are not sensitive enough or durable enough.

Re:Whey do they need real-time results? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44815289)

Indeed. I was answering the question "If you can get clean samples and ship them back to the lab, what's wrong with that?".

In short, all the cheap-enough-to-actually-be-useful sampling mechanisms can't ship the sample back to the lab, so you are stuck with either getting accurate pH numbers (for a ridiculously tiny number of samples, mostly taken by humans on research ships, which cost considerable money to field) or worthlessly imprecise pH numbers(for the much larger number of chunks of ocean that you could have comparatively cheap autonomous systems flitting through).

They want a sensor that can do lab-grade results when built into a little gliderbot that putzes around autonomously for a few years and occasionally chirps back data over a satellite link(which is all doable, except for the pH sensing bit).

Your Global Warming Conspiracy (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44809595)

Argh, stop trying to measure global warming and climate change, us faithful aren't going to let you fix these problems. The world has to die so that Jesus comes faster, stop trying to screw it up!

Re:Your Global Warming Conspiracy (2)

presidenteloco (659168) | about a year ago | (#44809671)

Seriously how much do you get paid to be nearly first in with asinine comments like that to pollute this sort of conversation?

Re:Your Global Warming Conspiracy (3, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44809735)

And are they hiring?

Re:Your Global Warming Conspiracy (2)

Urkki (668283) | about a year ago | (#44809815)

Argh, stop trying to measure global warming and climate change, us faithful aren't going to let you fix these problems. The world has to die so that Jesus comes faster, stop trying to screw it up!

That unfairly portrays people of a flavor of Christian faith as evil. Let me try a more reasonable and agnostic version:

Argh, stop trying to measure global warming and climate change. It is inevitable that oceans absorb carbon and increase in acidity, but this has nothing what so ever to do with our negligible carbon emissions or global cooling trend of past decade. Results will only be used as alarmist propaganda, in an attempt to destroy our way of life, and let the communists like Al Gore and EU take over the world.

Re:Your Global Warming Conspiracy (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#44810069)

More agnostic but not more reasonable...the original didn't fly in the face of half the scientific fields out there like yours did. It was actually in-line with our best scientific knowledge, it just had a heaping helping of religious extremism on top of it.

Re:Your Global Warming Conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44811789)

It was actually in-line with our best scientific knowledge

You just lost your credentials for promoting panic about climate change. The Current Truth is, and has been for some time, that human activity has been proven conclusively to be causing climate change, the science is settled, there is no reason to doubt or be skeptical in any way. Your wording suggests an opening for heretics to challenge the Unassailable Truth of our Glorious Faith.

Incidentally, the worst case long time results spewed by computer models which are unable to accurately predict the short time conditions in a highly non-linear system do not constitute "scientific knowledge", especially when the developers of those models have clear personal and political agendas.

Re:Your Global Warming Conspiracy (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#44811877)

Whoa warn me before you set up a straw man in front of me and then wipe him out. I almost got hurt.

Re:Your Global Warming Conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44812673)

Whoa warn me before you set up a straw man in front of me and then wipe him out. I almost got hurt.

check out TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @04:15PM (#44812073)

The True Believers in the Church of Climate Change routinely declare that discussing whether the "problem" exists or not is a waste of time and resources. They want the entire world to immediately start squandering massive quantities of money, man power and economic and political freedom on a crisis which many people believe to be entirely fabricated. I didn't have to concoct a straw man. These people actually exist.

[I may be harshing a little too much on TheSkepticalOptimist . He did write "or find ACTUAL solutions to improve the quality of life on the planet" which doesn't have anything to do with climate change. Of course, most day-to-day human activity tries to improve the quality of life so I don't know what TSkOpt's beef on that point is.]

Re:Your Global Warming Conspiracy (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | about a year ago | (#44813079)

How about we leave it to those with at least a Master's degree in a directly relevant field of science to do the thinking for us on whether there is a possible/probable problem here and how serious it is, rather than relying on some basement-dwelling personal website author whose motto is something along the lines of "You can pry the steering wheel of my SUV/manly-oversized pickup truck out of my COLD dead hands ! "

Re:Your Global Warming Conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44815497)

How about we leave it to those with at least a Master's degree in a directly relevant field of science to do the thinking for us

Go ahead. Let someone else do your thinking for you. I reserve the right to continue thinking for myself. Included in that right is the right to examine the possible unstated motivations of those pushing what is a highly political agenda. I also have a problem with your "directly relevant" qualification as it is a much too convenient way to dismiss the opinions of any dissenter who may understand science and nonlinear systems and computer modelling, but who doesn't call himself a "climate scientist". Incidentally, I have two M.S. degrees and a Ph.D. in hard sciences, so go fuck yourself.

whose motto is something along the lines of "You can pry the steering wheel of my SUV/manly-oversized pickup truck out of my COLD dead hands ! "

If you are comfortable letting others restrict your economic and political freedom and dictate to you the products you are allowed to purchase based on their hand-waving hysterical claims of a vaguely defined impending climatic disaster, fine. Just don't tell me I have to join you in your sheep pen. If it seems as if I hold you in contempt for your passive acceptance of a political snow job, then congrats, you have deciphered the clandestine message in my post.

Re:Your Global Warming Conspiracy (1)

dave420 (699308) | about a year ago | (#44816851)

1. Our CO2 output is not "negligible" - the raw numbers demonstrate that rather well
2. The cooling trend of the last decade is not true - it has been heating, but at a level which is just under being statistically significant.

It doesn't help your point to make a couple of nonsensical statements which have been shown to be false time and time again.

Re:Your Global Warming Conspiracy (1)

Urkki (668283) | about a year ago | (#44821909)

Hmph. I was aiming at "funny" by trying to go well over the top. I see I failed...

Re:Your Global Warming Conspiracy (1)

Alsee (515537) | about a year ago | (#44810253)

Global Warming is a Hoax, and the ocean's pH isn't changing. The Bible says it's 30. Always has been, always will be. (Until Judgement Day anyhow.)

Where does the Bible say it's 30? I forget the exact verse, but I know it's in the same chapter that says the Earth is 6000 years old.

-

Which book? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44811729)

Book of Numbers, of course!

Re:Your Global Warming Conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44812273)

I confess that I am puzzled by the attempt to link suspicions about the climate change narrative with Christianity. The two are not correlated. Perhaps it is an attempt to cram ACC skepticism in with the "all opponents of leftist political narratives are ignorant and anti-science"? It's funny deeply how the left believes its own invented narratives about their political opponents. It's a little like a clique of junior high girls chattering amongst themselves when one of them spots an outsider and asks, "do we hate her?" and the others chorus a response "definitely", "oh yeah, hate for sure", "haaaate her".

Timothy Leary Approves! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44809619)

thank you for being a friend...

Paelo History (2, Interesting)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | about a year ago | (#44809753)

I think animals with shells survived well enough in the past when atmospheric CO2 levels were far, far higher. They'll adapt.

Re:Paelo History (1)

Urkki (668283) | about a year ago | (#44809911)

I think animals with shells survived well enough in the past when atmospheric CO2 levels were far, far higher. They'll adapt.

Do you know what is another way to say "they'll adapt"?

It is "there will be a mass extinction, and survivors will inherit the Earth after hundreds of millenia of adapting to the changed biosphere."

Re:Paelo History (1)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | about a year ago | (#44810091)

It is "there will be a mass extinction, and survivors will inherit the Earth after hundreds of millenia of adapting to the changed biosphere."

I think that's pretty unlikely. Life is constantly adapting to change. That's the whole point.

Re:Paelo History (5, Informative)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#44810215)

No he's trying to point you to a previous mass extinction caused by ocean acidification. Technically life did "adapt" but it took a length of time to recover that I wouldn't say is tolerable for a human civilization.

Open up for spoon feeding! Here comes the choo-choo!

http://news.stanford.edu/news/2010/april/prehistoric-mass-extinction-042710.html [stanford.edu]

Re:Paelo History (1, Informative)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about a year ago | (#44817759)

It is "there will be a mass extinction, and survivors will inherit the Earth after hundreds of millenia of adapting to the changed biosphere."

I think that's pretty unlikely. Life is constantly adapting to change. That's the whole point.

Mass extinction is unlikely?

You do know we're already in a mass extinction event?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene_extinction [wikipedia.org]

Re:Paelo History (1)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | about a year ago | (#44827365)

Of course there's an extinction event going on at the moment. So what? Either Humans will end up covering the entire Earth in grey goo, or we'll die out and the animal kingdom will once again diversify.

Re:Paelo History (0)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about a year ago | (#44827621)

You seemed to think a mass extinction event was unlikely, but oddly you know say you knew we were already in one.

Either Humans will end up covering the entire Earth in grey goo, or we'll die out and the animal kingdom will once again diversify.

And that will take hundreds of millenia as Urkki said. So what are you disputing?

Re:Paelo History (1)

GonzoPhysicist (1231558) | about a year ago | (#44810011)

But the CO2 levels have never changed this fast before, there's a good chance evolution is too slow to keep up.

Re:Paelo History (1)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | about a year ago | (#44810173)

[citation needed]

Re:Paelo History (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#44810235)

Climate change 10x faster than evolution:

http://news.stanford.edu/pr/2013/pr-climate-change-speed-080113.html [stanford.edu]

Re:Paelo History (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#44810531)

Sorry, that link is only tangentially relevant to the issue of climate vs. evolution speed (haste makes waste, D'oh!)

I should really link to this...

http://uanews.org/story/ua-study-evolution-too-slow-to-keep-up-with-climate-change [uanews.org]

Climate change is 10,000 times faster than evolution. That's OVER NINE THOUSAAAND! I knew it was ten-something...

Re:Paelo History (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44810381)

The levels have been much higher [wikipedia.org] , and have probably changed much faster. They definitely change much faster locally, such as around the mouth of every river.

Re:Paelo History (3, Insightful)

edibobb (113989) | about a year ago | (#44810057)

The object is to learn what's happening in the ocean, not to change it. Whether something can adapt to changes is a completely different issue. Even if everything can adapt to pH changes in the ocean, it's no reason not to study whether the ocean is changing and why or why not. In addition, developing low cost, accurate remote sensors will undoubtedly have applications several other fields.

Re:Paelo History (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44810083)

The tasty tasty fish that we currently have? Maybe they won't, and be replaced by non-delicious overly salty fish. Yuck.

Re:Paelo History (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#44810231)

Show me evidence that CO2 levels changed as rapidly as we are changing them and I'll conclude we have nothing to worry about. Evolution takes time, longer than we're giving it. Even punctuated equilibrium models, the rate of change is still measured in centuries, not years.

Re:Paelo History (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44812431)

I think animals with shells survived well enough in the past when atmospheric CO2 levels were far, far higher. They'll adapt.

Oh, the irony.

The actual paleobiological literature suggests this statement is wrong in every particular. Not only is ocean acidification implicated in the worst mass extinction in the history of mulitcellular life (see here [stanford.edu] [PDF] or here [gsapubs.org] )-- although it may not have been the main kill mechanism-- it may actually be a general cause of mass extinctions (see here [wiley.com] ). If it is, that would be very interesting; it would be the only general mechanism for mass extinctions that I am aware of.

Moreover, natural selection operates differently during a mass extinction. Selective pressures are wildly different from those operating "normally." The usual rules do not apply-- traits that were previously advantageous no longer matter, or may even be detrimental. One of the very few qualities which seems to enhance the odds of survival is species-level geographic range, and in a really bad mass extinction, even that can stop being important, giving way to clade-level geographical range. I'm astonished that you could make a blithe statement like "they'll adapt" without consulting the relevant literature; in particular, we have strong evidence that animals with calcium carbonate shells fared very poorly in the past when atmospheric CO2 levels were far, far higher, and did not "survive well enough."

Never has so much been spent for hype (1)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | about a year ago | (#44809757)

The oceans aren't acidifying - they are alkaline and there are massive buffers in the oceans chemistry that prevent it changing very much.

Re:Never has so much been spent for hype (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44809849)

The oceans aren't acidifying - they are alkaline and there are massive buffers in the oceans chemistry that prevent it changing very much.

One might make the same claim with mother natures way of balancing itself naturally, but PT Barnum said it best, which catalyzed people like Gore to make billions off baffling people with bullshit. Money talks.

Re:Never has so much been spent for hype (2, Informative)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | about a year ago | (#44809943)

Quite so. Even if all of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere were to get absorbed into the oceans it would barely register as a change in pH. For all of that money, why not train some environmentalists in basic chemistry?

Re:Never has so much been spent for hype (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44812425)

why not train some environmentalists in basic chemistry?

One of the great academic crimes was establishing separate departments of "environmental science". Such departments tend to get larded up with political agendas at the expense of good science. Environmental science departments also tend to attract students who have more interest in being seen by their friends to care deeply about the environment than who have an actual interest in science per se.

Re:Never has so much been spent for hype (1)

Urkki (668283) | about a year ago | (#44810015)

The oceans aren't acidifying - they are alkaline and there are massive buffers in the oceans chemistry that prevent it changing very much.

So... We know this as a fact? No point in measuring actual pH change, or lack of it?

If only people would take "pumping and digging buried carbon up and turning it into a greenhouse gas will strengthen greenhouse effect directly, and also increase other greenhouse gasses like dihydrogen monoxide as a positive feedback side effect" with that conviction...

Re:Never has so much been spent for hype (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#44810105)

If you had passed general chem you would have studied buffered solutions. We know how they work, as a fact.

Re:Never has so much been spent for hype (1)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | about a year ago | (#44810187)

First they must pass remedial math

Re:Never has so much been spent for hype (1)

Urkki (668283) | about a year ago | (#44810815)

If you had passed general chem you would have studied buffered solutions. We know how they work, as a fact.

It's funny how some people think how we have totally insufficient knowledge about atmosphere to make any kind of climate predictions, yet as soon as someone suggests measuring ocean acidity, potentially linked to atmospheric CO2, they happily say that oceans are a buffered solution comparable to stuff in labs, no reason for any research...

I guess it's understandable. After all we can't see the atmosphere, it's transparent and unfathomable, while we can see all the oceans from satellite photos, plain as day... Nothing unknown about them...

Re:Never has so much been spent for hype (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#44811501)

Buffered solutions are well understood science. We know what's in sea water.

When they pull the CO2/H2O vapor positive feedback coefficient from anywhere other then a dark place then climate models will approach science. Right now that coefficient is back calculated from the amount of global warming the modelers want their model to produce.

Re:Never has so much been spent for hype (1)

Urkki (668283) | about a year ago | (#44841015)

Wikipedia article on Ocean acidification seems to put some estimated numbers on pH change, with source. Your source is your school chemistry book, which probably predates that particular source anyway. Even if that wikipedia source is wrong, that seems to be enough basis for thinking, that actually measuring this with latest technology seems like a good idea.

Anyway, the only reason one might not want to measure this is being in some kind of denial, not wanting to hear the result in case it is not the one you want to hear... I mean, if measuring shows no change in acidification, wouldn't that be great? And if it shows some acidification rate, wouldn't that be a good thing to know, too?

Re:Never has so much been spent for hype (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#44810117)

Well then you'll have to explain how the oceans are becoming more acidic (or less alkaline, if you prefer) according to our best measurement methods. Sounds like you have the X-prize here in the bag, I can't wait to see what massive breakthrough in the field of chemistry you'll pioneer next!

Re:Never has so much been spent for hype (2)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | about a year ago | (#44810237)

That's easy - the claimed acidification was between a guesstimate between what it might have been in the 17th Century and today.

Since the change in pH claimed is nowhere near the range of variation in the oceans, we can safely call bullshit. There are shelled organisms that live right next to carbon dioxide seeps in the tropical oceans that thrive in these supposedly acidified waters.

As Walter White would say "Always respect the chemistry"

Re:Never has so much been spent for hype (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#44810421)

Huh so you didn't even hit up the Wikipedia page on the topic. You're ballsy, I'll give you that.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_acidification#Acidification [wikipedia.org]

How about a measured increase between when Mega Man 3 came out and today?

And why should a shelled creature be harmed by living near a natural CO2 seep? I don't think just bubbling CO2 through water will create a large, concentrated change in the immediate vicinity. You know how diffusion works right?

Re:Never has so much been spent for hype (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44812081)

Huh so you didn't even hit up the Wikipedia page on the topic.

Troll or just young and ignorant?

How about a measured increase between when Mega Man 3 came out and today?

Evidence for youth as is his handle.

And why should a shelled creature be harmed by living near a natural CO2 seep?

Why might a creature with a calcium carbonate shell be potentially harmed by carbonic acid? Evidence for ignorance.

I don't think just bubbling CO2 through water will create a large, concentrated change in the immediate vicinity. You know how diffusion works right?

Clear lack of understanding of local gas saturation, diffusion rates and rates at which equilibria are established as well as common sense notions of continual low-level environmental exposure to potentially harmful substance is further evidence of ignorance as a controlling factor.

Conclusion: ignoramus, not troll.

Re:Never has so much been spent for hype (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#44810245)

Compared to how much CO2 we're adding? Citation needed.

There was a DEF CON 21 talk on this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44809765)

The talk was called "10000 YEN INTO THE SEA". Project website is "openglider.com" if anyone is interested.

Re:There was a DEF CON 21 talk on this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44810107)

Presentation Link:
https://www.defcon.org/images/defcon-21/dc-21-presentations/Flipper/DEFCON-21-Flipper-10000-Yen.pdf

That's the name of my new punk rock band (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44809827)

Tonite only:
Oceanic Acid Level

2 drink minimum

What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44809895)

Send a cylindrical vessel down, close it at depth on both ends, then bring it up. Then measure the pH. Why is this hard.
/degree chemist
//dnrtfa

Re: What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44810639)

Why does it have to be cylindrical? Got a problem with cubes?

Oceans are basic... (3, Insightful)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about a year ago | (#44810021)

...any sensors will be measuring ocean *neutralization* as pH moves down towards 7.

Re:Oceans are basic... (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#44810261)

You're arguing semantics.

Re:Oceans are basic... (1)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about a year ago | (#44810441)

Of course I am, they're important. While both "braking" and "accelerating in reverse" are changing a car in the same direction, there's a *huge* real difference between going from forward speed to zero, and going from zero to some reverse speed.

Whatever tiny pH change one asserts is going on in the ocean, it doesn't become "acidification" until you're at pH 7.

Re:Oceans are basic... (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#44810673)

Actually after doing a little research, it looks like you're wrong:

http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/lsuatoni/can_we_keep_discussions_about.html [nrdc.org]

For instance, he plays unproductive semantic games, arguing that because ocean pH is not predicted to fall below the ‘neutral point’ of 7.0, the term ‘ocean acidification’ is a misnomer. This ignores the fact that scientists refer to a drop in pH as ‘acidification’, regardless of where you are on the scale. The term is simply used to describe the direction of change.

Re:Oceans are basic... (1)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about a year ago | (#44810989)

Yes, and "braking" is officially "acceleration" in "scientific" terms. However, the difference between hitting the brake to lower your speed, and pushing the gas while the gears are in reverse is important in real terms :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutralization_(chemistry) [wikipedia.org]

Re:Oceans are basic... (1)

KeensMustard (655606) | about a year ago | (#44817833)

How was your holiday?

Re:Oceans are basic... (1)

Pav (4298) | about a year ago | (#44818971)

Perhaps you should look into anoxic environments and hydrogen sulphide... that'll definitely get you an unambiguously acidic environment rather quickly. It gets locked up in swamp muds even under "normal" conditions - in my home town there have been fish kills after eroded runoff has turned sulphuric. During the Permian Extinction parts of the sea started becoming anoxic... probably at least partly to do with atmospheric carbon dioxide stressing phytoplankton. The theory is this caused a feedback loop where hydrogen sulphide got produced by anaerobic bacteria, which reacted with iron sulfides in the seawater. This is VERY VERY BAD. When these sulfides flow out to an oxygenated area they oxidise producing sulphuric acid which kills the phytoplankton in the new place and pulls more oxygen out of the water making a nice home for more anaerobic bacteria. It's theorised that for large portions of the earths history the oceans would have looked red from space for this reason. Fun fact : hydrogen sulphide is extremely poisonous, but it puts most animals into a hibernation death-like state where they hardly breathe - bears and other hibernating animals purposely trigger this very mechanism. It's theorised that this mechanism is an adaption evolved turing the Permian Extinction which helped in surviving hydrogen sulphide gas plumes. We also sense it as being extremely unpleasant (like rotten eggs) certainly helps to motivate escape.

Re:Oceans are basic... (1)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about a year ago | (#44819949)

You've got a massive misunderstanding as to the orders of magnitude here. There simply is *zero* possibility that atmospheric CO2, at any projected level, is going to turn the oceans acidic, even if *every* CO2 molecule in the atmosphere was used up.

The fact that you have local fish kills due to runoff is perfectly understandable. The thought that such local fish kills could become global in scale completely ignores the massive size of the oceans.

Re:Oceans are basic... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44812253)

Herp Derp.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_acidification

Re:Oceans are basic... (2)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | about a year ago | (#44810267)

But that doesn't sound scary - who will fund a study of ocean neutralization?

Re:Oceans are basic... (1)

KeensMustard (655606) | about a year ago | (#44817797)

As the OP points out above, the euphemistic term 'neutralisation' is really just another PR attempt by the fossil industry funded denialist machine to make acidification seem like it isn't an issue. The issue is the effect of acidification on marine organisms, which obviously don't care that the pH drop might bottom out at neutral. And neither to the things that eat them. When you are hungry the distinction seems unimportant.

Re:Oceans are basic... (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about a year ago | (#44819627)

Ocean neutralization sounds a lot scarier to me -- like a [somewhat apt] euphemism for assassinating the ocean.

Re:Oceans are basic... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44811831)

According to Wikipedia: Seawater pH is limited to the range 7.5 to 8.4

According to my friend the professor of Fish-ology (I don't know his actual field, but he is a professor at a big-10 university and he studies fish and we have beers together about once a year), the fish can live at a much lower ph in the lab than in the wild. The fish survive down to ph of 3 in a lab, but in the wild, ph 5 kills them. He thinks the reason for this difference is that in the wild metals leech out of rocks into the water and kill the fish. (disclaimer: I might have been a bit tipsy when he told me this).

Re:Oceans are basic... (1)

KeensMustard (655606) | about a year ago | (#44817769)

Or it could be, that, like an amateur, you are confusing the pH resistance of fresh water fish versus the resistance of salt water dwelling marine life in general, including invertrbates, crustaceans and the like. Probably worth you pondering where you went wrong before posting on the subject again.

Re:Oceans are basic... (1)

Pav (4298) | about a year ago | (#44819153)

Unless the sea water turns anoxic... which will happen more if phytoplankton is stressed beyond a certain point. Then you'll get suphur dioxide being produced by anaerobic bacteria, which will react with iron in seawater to produce sulphides. These are fine until they flow into a more oxygenated area when they react with the oxygen to produce sulphuric acid - this kills more phytoplankton and creates an anoxic environment for more anaerobic bacteria. That's what's called a feedback loop my friend.

Re:Oceans are basic... (1)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about a year ago | (#44819915)

Look up the pH variation within the ocean.

Now compare it to the proposed pH effect of atmospheric CO2 levels.

Enjoy :)

i hereby predict (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44810347)

that "ocean acidification" will be the next "global crisis" groaned about by the tinfoil hat-wearing crowd (aka global warmers, climate changers, conspiracy theorists, etc)

Re:i hereby predict (1)

KeensMustard (655606) | about a year ago | (#44817739)

Yes, filthy science, how dare it describe facts to us! Better to live on in ignorant bliss.

Really? (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year ago | (#44812073)

This is one of humanity's greatest challenges?

I mean for christ's sake this is retarded.

What is the point of monitoring the ocean acidity. Is there anything you are going to do about it while it rises? Does it really make a difference to see global warming in action.

Where is the X-Prize to create clean energy? Or the X-Prize to close the carbon cycle by having a process to pull CO2 back out of the atmosphere and turn it back into fuel? If they exist why are they not making news?

Why is humanity obsessed with proving the obvious? All this X-Prize will do is create a tool that will be used by smug people to say "See, I told you so, the oceans are slightly more acidic now then they were 10 years ago.", but it won't SOLVE A freaking thing.

I wish people would move away from trying to "prove" global warming to finding was to adapt to it, or find ACTUAL solutions to improve the quality of life on the planet. I mean what a waste of 2 million dollars.

I am going to start an X-Prize for the world's largest Arm & Hammer box to put into the fucking oceans, at least that would solve the problem of their acidity.

Re:Really? (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | about a year ago | (#44813415)

Yes. Why would we want more accurate and specific knowledge?

Why not just follow our usual procedure: Ready! Fire! Aim!

Why would we want any knowledge at all? It makes it so much harder to make up convenient facts.

"You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.”

  Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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