Increase in Ocean Acidity? But Oceans are Alkaline!

This article in Wired Science takes some beating for ignorance and misrepresentation of science. Take this sentence: Already, the acidity of ocean waters, which are generally basic, has shifted about 0.1 on the pH scale, or 10 percent, since pre-industrial times, and could get far more acidic by mid-century.

Within 10 words the author (Alexis Madrigal) contradicts himself; he clearly lacks the most basic of scientific education. Let’s dissect the sentence. ‘…the acidity of ocean waters, which are generally basic’. Well come on Alexis which is it, are they acid or basic (alkaline). They can’t be both at the same time? The pH scale is not a measure of acidity; it is a measure of how acidic OR basic a substance is. Acids and bases work differently, they are not on some convenient sliding scale as Madrigal would have you believe.

‘…has shifted about 0.1 on the pH scale, or 10 percent…’

First let’s look at the math. The pH scale is from 0 to 14. A 10% change would be 1.4, but we are only talking about 0.1 which is a 0.7% change. But that is not the whole story. The pH scale is logarithmic. That means that pH 9.0 is 10 times more alkaline than pH 8.0 and 100 times more alkaline than pH 7.0. Since sea water is between pH 7.9 and 9.0, 0.1 is an infinitesimally small change. But there’s more. Sea water is highly resistant to a change in its pH (buffered). Adding a large amount of highly concentrated acid would only reduce its pH very slightly.

Talk about alarmism!

Rising sea levels benefit corals just look at the historic record. Our sea levels are rising as any global warming alarmist will tell you (though not as much as they would have you believe).

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About The Septic Sceptic

A Fifty Something with a science/engineering background. Hates junk science and scaremongering self-appointed experts. Seeks error in everything. A staunch defender of the 'Scientific Method'. Author of 'To Kill an Error' a novel approach to Global Warming Scepticism. View all posts by The Septic Sceptic

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