[GWSG] The deep heats; acidification; Archimede; skinny pv; no CO2 bonus; Mexicans to migrate; Cancun hopes dim

Tilley, Al atilley at unf.edu
Tue Jul 27 11:45:35 EDT 2010

1.  A scientist with Australia’s Commonwealth Research and Scientific Organization (CSIRO) says that a current study finds changes in the deep ocean which “include really remarkable widespread warming of the deepest layers of the ocean,” especially in the North Atlantic and Antarctica.  The source of such a great amount of heat is unclear; it is as if everyone on earth were operating 5 hair dryers continuously.  The changes could influence circulation patterns, increase sea level rise, bring nutrients to the surface, and impair the oceans as a carbon sink.   The oceans could become a net contributor of atmospheric carbon.  While no peer-reviewed source is given—in fact, no reference to published work—the urgency of the claim and the prestige of CSIRO induce me to bring the matter to your attention, and to hope that the whole thing is the result of a measurement problem.  (A NOAA scientist did lend corroborating comments in the article.)  http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/SGE66J00K.htm  18-10,000 years ago, during the last deglaciation, the CO2 in the atmosphere rose 80 ppm (from 180-260 ppm).  The likely primary carbon source is Southern Ocean ventilation and upwelling.  H. Jesse Smith, Global Biochemical Cycles 24, G 2015 (2010).  (My source is the online Science Cite Track, July 22, 2010; subscription required.)

2.  “Threatening Ocean Life from the Inside Out” in the current Scientific American provides a sketch of the current acidification of the oceans and its results.  About a third of the CO2 in the atmosphere currently goes into solution in the oceans—30 million tons each day—where the acid it forms changes the water’s pH.  The rate of pH drop to date, and that which our emissions threaten for the future, is 100 times faster than in the previous millenia.  The ocean we are creating was “never experienced by modern species” (p. 72).  The life in the oceans is at great risk.  The article recommends dropping the atmospheric concentration of CO2 to 350 ppm, and preventing the pH of the oceans from dropping more than 0.1 in the next century.  “It is far easier to prevent further acidification than to reverse changes once they occur; natural buffering systems would need hundreds to thousands of years to restore pH to preindustrial levels” (p. 73).  (Subscription required—and worth it for this article alone.)  http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=threatening-ocean-life   The oceans took at least 160,000 years to recover from the acidification attendant upon a major increase of atmospheric carbon 140 million years ago (probably coming from volcanoes).  http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=ancient-ocean-acidification-intimates-long-recovery-from-climate-change

3.  The Italian utility Enel has brought on line Archimede, a pilot 5 megawatt concentrating solar thermal plant (CSP) using molten salt both to collect and to store heat.  It is the world’s first such plant, though others use salt for heat storage and synthetic oil to collect the heat.  Archimede is integrated with a natural gas plant, apparently in a hybrid arrangement, though it can operate on its own stored heat for days.  An advantage of the technology is that it does not require extensive retrofitting of existing turbines to add CSP.  An Italian CSP organization looks forward to 3-5,000 megawatts of such power in Italy by 2020.  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/22/first-molten-salt-solar-power

4.  Organic photovoltaic cells (OPV) made from graphene are not very efficient, but they are very flexible, thin, and cheap.  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100723095430.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Latest+Science+News%29

5.  According to an article forthcoming in Nature Geoscience, positive feedbacks will at least offset any carbon sequestration through plant growth stimulated by additional CO2.  http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1895995/unaccounted_feedbacks_from_climateinduced_ecosystem_changes_may_increase_future_climate/index.html?source=r_science

6.  A PNAS study projects that millions of Mexicans will be led to migrate to the US by climate change.  http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-immig-climate-20100727,0,1362570.story

7.  The US Senate’s failure to address greenhouse gas emissions will inhibit global action. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-immig-climate-20100727,0,1362570.story  We must now look to the EPA to address emissions.

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