In The Name Of Hope
Saturday, June 10, 2017
By Daniel de la Calle

There Ocean Acidification news this week is about the impact it might have in the reproduction and growth of squid.
In the years since A Sea Change was conceived the list of threatened species has only grown, with every new study painting a somber picture for the future of fish, corals, crustaceans, mollusks, krill, mammals…, but for this, my last contribution to the blog, I choose to bring you a handful of optimistic news about our potential to do good and bring positive change; I myself live at times under a dark cloud and forget that human ingenuity and determination can produce outstandingly positive results:

1 How can a dark cloud feel so heavy? How much does a cloud weigh anyway?:
The average cloud has a volume of around 1km3 and a density of roughly 1kg per m3 (0.4 per cent lower than that of the surrounding air, allowing them to float). After doing the math you will see that the typical cloud weighs around a million tones and therefore feels heavy because it IS.

2 A new carbon capture technique promises to produce hydrogen fuel while offsetting Ocean Acidification:
Scientists from the Institute of Marine Science at UC Santa Cruz and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have developed at laboratory scale a system that uses "the acidity normally produced in saline water electrolysis to accelerate silicate mineral dissolution while producing hydrogen fuel and other gases.  The resulting electrolyte solution was shown to be significantly elevated in hydroxide concentration, and it strongly absorbed and retained atmospheric carbon dioxide."  And not just this, the researchers also believe that the carbonate and bicarbonate that is produced in this process could also mitigate Ocean Acidification in the same fashion anti-acids neutralize excess acid in the stomach.
"We not only found a way to remove and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing valuable hydrogen, we also suggest that we can help save marine ecosystems with this new technique," says Rau, the lead author of a paper on the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

3 We could be on the verge of a new era in which we truly communicate with dolphins and possibly other mammal species.
"For 28 years, Denise Herzing has spent five months each summer living with a pod of Atlantic spotted dolphins, following three generations of family relationships and behaviors. It's clear they are communicating with one another -- but is it language? Could humans use it too? She shares a fascinating new experiment to test this idea."
TED Talk by Denise Herzing:

4 In 2012 solar jobs in the USA were more numerous than "ranchers in Texas, actors in California and coal miners nationally":
"California, the state that the Hollywood film industry calls home, can boast 43,700 paying jobs in the solar industry in 2012, versus only 32,300 paid actors. Texas clocked in with 3,200 solar jobs, in comparison to the state’s 270 to 2,410 ranchers. And across the entire nation, 119,000 Americans were employed by the solar industry in 2012, versus only 87,500 by the coal mining industry."

5 "How to Power the World without Fossil Fuels":
Mark Jacobson believes he can produce the power we need globally exclusively with wind, water and solar energy. You can read about it in THIS ARTICLE published a few weeks ago in Scientific American.

6 After a few days in the currently flooded Amazon jungle I want to finish with another TED Talk, this one by one of the best living photographers, Brazilian Sebastião Salgado telling the story of his life's work and our ability to destroy and heal.
"Economics PhD Sebastião Salgado only took up photography in his 30s, but the discipline became an obsession. His years-long projects beautifully capture the human side of a global story that all too often involves death, destruction or decay. Here, he tells a deeply personal story of the craft that nearly killed him, and shows breathtaking images from his latest work, Genesis, which documents the world's forgotten people and places."
TED Talk by Sebastião Salgado:

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400 Blows
Saturday, June 10, 2017
By Daniel de la Calle

400 blows do not raise hell after all: This month of May 2013 will be remembered as the time when we passed that 400ppm line of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.  The media often uses the crossing of such a round, numeric Rubicons to begin global campaigns and to instigate the enforcement of serious repair measures, but it seems unlikely that is going to be the case with Ocean Acidification for the time being.  As frightening as it may sound, if you are in your 30s you might very well live long enough to witness how we also tackle 500.  And that will be a very different world, one with even more painfully visible destruction and well recorded examples of irreparable damage done to our oceans.
These past couple weeks have once more produced valuable news and videos about the topic of our documentary and the recurring theme in this blog, the plight of Ocean Acidification:

The expected 400ppm mark in the news:
A Guardian piece from back in April
CNN writes about first hitting the 400ppm mark at Mauna Loa on May 9th
The Keeling Curve, to get the latest reading (399.91 today)

Top-notch HD video by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (a part of the Arctic Council) about Arctic Ocean Acidification:

More videos by AMAP HERE

According to a study conducted in Papua New Guinea by a team of scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science Ocean Acidification could lead to the extinction of an entire class of marine organisms by 2100:
"Forams – or foraminifera – are much like an amoeba with a shell," explains Dr Sven Uthicke, lead author of the study which was published last week in the prestigious scientific journal Scientific Reports, an online journal of Nature. "As CO2 levels increase, our oceans will become more acidic, making it more difficult for these small marine creatures to form the shells they need to survive."
Continue reading HERE
PHOTO: Foraminifera "Star sand" Hatoma Island - Japan

Video: "In Washington State Ocean Acidification is about People" (by the Ocean Conservacy):

TED Talk by NOAA's Shalling Busch under the title: "Ocean Acidification in Washington State":

Richard Feely (NOAA) talks about Ocean Acidification at the University of California, Irvine:

"Shipping pollution along major trade lanes can rival carbon emissions in contributing to the increased acidity of the ocean, according to a new study by an international team."
In the first global analysis of its kind researchers from the University of Gothenburg, Chalmers University of Technology, the University of Delaware, and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies discovered that during the summer months Ocean Acidification from shipping can equal that from CO2.  Gasses such as sulfur and nitrogen oxide, present in the exhaust gases from ships' engines, can also cause acidification.
“Global shipping has emitted acidifying compounds for decades without emissions controls,” says James J. Corbett, professor of marine policy in the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. “Only recently have regulatory standards set limits on ship emissions that will take effect between now and 2025.”
"These oxides contribute to long-range pollutant transport, but significant amounts can be deposited within a few hundred nautical miles of the shipping lanes. This study has assessed the consequences of releases from shipping on a monthly basis during one year.
The results show that the greatest acidification from shipping occurs in the northern hemisphere in coastal areas during the summer. In addition, acidification occurs in open-ocean regions surrounding heavily trafficked shipping lanes."


Turns out there actually is a Tums for acidic waters, at least on a local level: Oysters.  Not only have these mollusks fed coastal communities for millennia, filtered and cleaned water while providing habitat for their own young and for other species, but there was actually a time when they were significantly responsible for buffering the increasing acidity of ocean waters.
“Ecosystem effects of shell aggregations and cycling in coastal waters: An example of Chesapeake Bay oyster reefs,” a study co-authored by Professor Roger Mann of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, George Waldbusser of Oregon State University and Eric Powell of the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory at Rutgers University, suggests that in 1870—before people began large-scale harvesting of oyster meat and shells from the Chesapeake—the amount of oyster shell exposed to Bay waters was more than 100 times greater than today, with an equally enhanced capacity to buffer acidity.
“Our data show that that oyster reefs likely played a key role in the pH budget of pre-harvest Chesapeake Bay,” says Mann. “The amount of carbonate in the shells of living oysters at that time was roughly equal to the total amount of carbonate dissolved in the modern Bay. If similar numbers of oysters were alive today, they could take up about half of the carbonate that rivers currently carry into Bay waters.”
Read more about this fascinating news HERE

Computer animated video by AFP (Agence France-Presse) on Ocean Acidification:

Dr. Chris Gobler (Stony Brook University) talks about Ocean Acidification:

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How Much Do You Know About Water And The Oceans?
Saturday, June 10, 2017
By Daniel de la Calle

Let's play a little quiz game thanks to some of the Sierra Club Knowledge Cards, see how much you know about water and the oceans.  I encourage you to to buy as presents these fun decks of cards, a good companion for road trips, both interesting and educational.  They can be bought HERE.
(Answers at the bottom of the post)

1 What percentage of the Earth's surface is covered by water?
a. 40%
b. 50%
c. 60%
d. 70%

2 The ocean holds about 97 % of the waters on Earth. Where is the rest?
a. 80% is freshwater and 20% is ice
b. 60% is freshwater and 40% is ice
c. 40% is freshwater and 60% is ice
d. 20% is freshwater and 80% is ice

3 What percentage salts are in seawater?
a. 0.034 %
b. 0.34 %
c. 3.4 %
d. 34%Swimming in the Dead Sea

4 Which ocean receives the outflow from most of Earth's great rivers?
a. Pacific
b. Atlantic
c. Indian
d. Antarctic

5 The fastest and most powerful of the world's ocean currents is the...
a. Agulhas Current
b. Benguela Current
c. Gulf Stream
d. South Equatorial Current

6 How many marine mammals are killed or injured each year by US commercial fishing operations?
a. 100
b. 1,000
c. 10,000
d. 100,000

7 What is the average depth of the Earth's oceans?
a. 1 mile
b. 2 miles
c. 3 miles
d. 4 miles

8 How long does the average iceberg stay around before breaking up and melting?
a. 4 months
b. 2 years
c. 4 years
d. 20 yearsC19A iceberg in Antarctica, the largest existing iceberg

9 The most radical variation between high and low tide is found at the Bay of Fundy, in northern Canada. By what difference?
a. 10 feet
b. 50 feet
c. 100 feet
d. 500 feetAlma, New Brunskwick, at high and low tide


1 d. Water covers 70% of the earth. Only 3% of that water is fresh and rivers hold only about a millionth of the earth's total water.  Freshwater lakes hold about 100 times more water than the rivers and there are also 3,100 cubic miles up in the atmosphere and 2,000,000 cubic miles of groundwater.

2 d. That minuscule 3% of freshwater is mostly stored in the ice caps. 80% of all freshwater is there. Antarctica holds as much drinking water in solid form as the Atlantic does in liquid, with an average ice thickness of 7,000 feet.

3 c.   Seawater is about 96.5% water and 3.4% salts.  Salinity tends to decrease with depth and with proximity to the equator.  If you let a cubic foot of seawater evaporate you would be left with roughly 2.2 pounds of salt. But because of their volume the oceans still manage to contain as much as 50 quadrillion tons of salt. Where we to extract all that salt and sprinkle it uniformly over the planet's land surface we would form a nice 40 story high crust.Marakkanam Salts, in India

4 b.   Most of the continental landmasses that surround the Atlantic are sloped "downhill" in its direction.  Rivers such as Elbe, Loire and Rhine in Europe, the Niger and the Congo in Africa, the Mississippi and St. Lawrence in North America and the Amazon, Orinoco, Paraná and Uruguay in South America.

5 c. The Gulf Stream can flow North at a speed of 5 mph, moving 55 million cubic meters of water per second (300 times the flow of the Amazon River).  It is about 45 miles wide and up to 1,500 feet deep, traveling 100 miles in a day.  
Ocean currents are caused by the push of prevailing winds and are subject to the same Coriolis force that guides winds: to the right in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere.
The first person to chart the Gulf Stream was no other than Benjamin Franklin, back in 1770.

6 d. According to government calculations as many as 100,000 marine mammals are killed or injured each year by the US commercial fishing fleet.  There are collisions with boats, entanglement in fishing lines and accidental hauling as "bycatch" in fishnets.  One of the biggest problems occurs with spotted and spinner dolphins, which like to swim with schools of yellowfin tuna and are often harassed or killed by the tuna fleet.  But even when fishing operations do not directly kill or injure marine mammals, they can indirectly harm species by depleting fish stocks these animals rely upon.  Such is the case in Alaska, where overfishing of pollack and other groundfish has caused a 90% decline in the Steller sea lion population in the region.

7 b. Two miles.  Overall, the Atlantic basin has the shallowest waters and the Pacific the deepest.  If you dropped Mount Everest into the Mariana Trench its top would still be covered by more than a mile of water.  The Mariana Trench's maximum-known depth is 6.831 miles at the Challenger Deep.

8 c. Icebergs have an average lifespan of about 4 years.  For most of that time they remain fairly close to the area where they are calved.  Once they drift into the shipping lanes (with warmer waters) they last about a year.
The largest existing iceberg up until now is C19A, renamed Melting Bob in 2008.  It is an iceberg off Antarctica with an area of 2,200 square miles.  
Scientists say the large icebergs calving from Antarctica in recent years are not related to global warming, but are entirely natural.  The ice cap is 2 miles thick and moves each year about 1/2 mile towards the sea before it breaks off.

9 b. 50 feet.  Oceanographers believe this is due to the bay's shape, with a broad mouth that lets a lot of ocean water into a relatively small container.  Very different from the Mediterranean and the Gulf of Mexico, where small areas of interface with the open ocean mean very small tidal variations.
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Painting Destruction By Numbers
Saturday, June 10, 2017
By Daniel de la Calle

1 In less than two weeks our good friend and Associate Producer Ben Kalina will be premiering his new documentary SHORED UP at the Monclair Film Festival. We are all equally proud and eager to watch the final result of over three years of work and dedication.
"Our beaches and coastline are a national treasure, a shared resource, a beacon of sanity in a world of constant change…and they’re disappearing in front of us.
Shored Up is a documentary that asks tough questions about our coastal communities and our relationship to the land. What will a rising sea do to our homes, our businesses, and the survival of our communities? Can we afford to pile enough sand on our shores to keep the ocean at bay? In Long Beach Island, New Jersey and the Outer Banks of North Carolina, surfers, politicians, scientists and residents are racing to answer these questions.  Beach engineering has been our only approach so far, but is there something else out there to be explored?  Our development of the coastlines put us in a tough predicament, and it’s time to start looking for solutions.

2 UCSB professor Debora Iglesias-Rodríguez and postdoctoral researcher Bethan Jones have discovered a line of marine organisms that in fact increase their calcification in waters with dropping pH levels. In the new study published by PloS ONE and funded by the European Project on Ocean Acidification they found that the unicellular marine coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi still manages to develop shells when exposed to waters with high CO2 levels.
Interview with professor Iglesias-Rodríguez:


3 A new study by University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science researchers focuses on the effects of Ocean Acidification on cobia fish larvae.  These large tropical fish are highly mobile as they mature and constitute a popular species among recreational anglers.  After exposing the larvae to different levels of CO2 they discovered remarkable resistance consistency in growth, development and activity under probable end-of-the-century pH scenarios.  The study also showed a significant change in otolith ("calcium carbonate structures within the fish's inner ear that are used for hearing and balance") size, up to a 58% increase in mass.  Photo: Cod Otoliths
When tested in a mathematical model of otolith function, the result showed an increase in hearing sensitivity and up to a 50% increase in hearing range.
The study is the first to report impacts of ocean acidification on a large, pelagic tropical fish species.
"Increased hearing sensitivity could improve a fish's ability to use sound for navigation, predator avoidance, and communication. However, it could also increase their sensitivity to common background noises, which may disrupt the detection of more useful auditory information," says  University of Miami researcher Sean Bigmani.

The PNAS publication

4 There will be two Ocean Acidification meetings in Scotland this summer:  The Third Annual Science Meeting of the UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme on 22-24 July, 2013, and the Second International Workshop of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network on 24-26 July, 2013, both at the University of St Andrews, North Haugh.

5 The University of California in Irvine is to host a conference on "Ocean Acidification: Science, Law and Governance" on May 3rd, 2013.
"The program will focus on issues surrounding ocean acidification and its major impact on the West Coast of the United States. The emphasis will be on options for preserving the precious aquatic habitat and the threatened shellfish industry. The problem is global, but the threats are compelling and urgent in the states of Washington, Oregon, and California."
The event is free, but requires RSVP.  People interested in this event can fill out the form HERE

6 The Ocean Cleanup Array is an innovative prototype designed to palliate one of the oceans' saddest problems: plastic pollution of the world's waters.  This design by aerospace engineering student Boyant Slat looks like a giant vacuum cleaner equipped with floating arms to direct plastic trash along the water surface to a central filtrating structure. The Ocean Cleanup Array project claims to be capable of collecting seven million tons of plastic a year with the use of solar and tidal power to run this vessel nonstop around the 5 ocean plastic gyres.
This is Boyan Slat's TED Talk on the issue:


7 The segment on Ocean Acidification in "Revolution", a new documentary about human beings and the planet can now be watched on Youtube:

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Saturday, June 10, 2017
By Daniel de la Calle

How much is too much?  When does a stream of information flow over and one more entry, article, news piece or documentary simply becomes redundant, numbing white noise, counterproductive annoyance? Searching online today, the 12th of April of 2013, for the term Ocean Acidification brings up 1.900.000 pages.  Little compared to Climate Change's 73.600.000, that's true, but when it comes down to the repercussion either figure is having in our fight against environmental threats it seems strength does not exactly lie in numbers after all. Could be we just need to reach the 1.420.000.000 behind Oil or the 2.990.000.000 coming with Money.  But we needn't despair yet, Love does still shines above all this with over 7.560.000.000 entries.*

Some of the results of looking for news on Ocean Acidification and the environment the last couple weeks:

≈≈≈≈USA Today video on Ocean Acidification:

And at the bottom of THIS link you can watch a second video on oyster farming at Oyster Bay and the threat of Ocean Acidification.

≈≈≈≈A second video on oyster farming, this one about Kathleen Nisbet and her father, Dave, two farm oysters in Washington's Willapa Bay that recently shifted some of their business to Hawai'i, after ocean acidification started killing baby oysters in local hatcheries.


≈≈≈≈A great PDF file to download HERE, filled with useful information, maps, images and graphics about Ocean Acidification and the US East Coast estuaries.
"What is at risk?
Key numbers for the East Coast Estuaries:
$497 million: The value of shellfish landings in Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern coastal states in 2010
$110 million: The annual value of East Coast shellfish aquaculture sales in 2011
$30 million: The dockside value of shellfish from Virginia's watermen-farmers, whose harvest has been nearly doubling each year

≈≈≈≈"The path to Cape Flattery is a twisty, moss-carpeted tunnel underneath red cedar and Douglas fir trees that crowd Washington state’s rugged coastline. Micah McCarty scrambles down the forest trail to a shoreline below, leaping across tide pools and slippery rocks to a point where waves break on shellfish beds. We’ve reached the northwesternmost point of the U.S. mainland, a craggy tip of the Olympic Peninsula that belongs to the Makah tribe.
This group of Native Americans has been fishing and harvesting here for the past 2,000 years. McCarty, the tribe’s 42-year-old former chairman, pulls out a pocket knife and squats down to scrape a handful of mussels and barnacles into his hand. “We call them slippers and boots,” he says. “I’ll make them into a Makah paella tonight.”

SOURCE (to keep reading)

≈≈≈≈Battery hybrid ships are soon to be a reality thanks to the Low Carbon Shipping project, set up by the Norwegian Research Council to identify the cost-effective GHG reduction potential in the world merchant fleet. Det Norske Veritas (DVN) and Grieg Star have carried out research that shows fuel savings of 30% and less than a year's payback time after installing lithium-ion batteries to assist with operations.

≈≈≈≈"Revolution", a new documentary about "saving the humans" that opens in theaters (in Canada, at least) today:

≈≈≈≈The thawing of Greenland's glaciers is enriching North Atlantic waters with iron, pretty much in the same style as all the geo-engineering proposals discussed or bullishly tested over the last few years:
"A melt of Greenland's ice is washing large amounts of the nutrient iron into the Atlantic Ocean where it might aid marine life in a rare positive side-effect of climate change, a study showed on Sunday.
Greenland's thaw, which is raising world sea levels, is also adding about 300,000 tonnes of iron a year to the North Atlantic, based on projections from the muddy melt water of three glaciers in the southwest, it said.
[…]Photo: Iceberg in Greenland
"We suggest that glacial runoff serves as a significant source of bio-available iron to surrounding coastal oceans," the scientists, mainly at the U.S. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), wrote in the journal Nature Geoscience.
"We would expect this glacial contribution of iron to the North Atlantic Ocean to continue to increase under future warming scenarios," they added.
The findings show that "as glaciers and ice sheets melt there may be other effects than just increased sea level," said Maya Bhatia, who was leader of the study at WHOI and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

≈≈≈≈A new study from the University of Washington reveals that Ocean Acidification will not only affect the shells of mussels, but also weaken the byssal threads that attach them to rocks. "The researchers found that in higher CO2 conditions, the common bay mussel (Mytilus trossulus) could be dislodged by forces 40 percent lower than mussels attached under current conditions. This is because the byssal threads become weaker and lose their ability to stretch as far."

≈≈≈≈Trailer for the documentary The Whale, a film about a young lost orca off the Alaskan shore:

≈≈≈≈In the story of losers, adapters and winners due to lowering pH levels in the oceans purple sea urchins could be amongst the lucky ones. According to Melissa Pespeni, evolutionary biologist at the University of Indiana, sea urchin larvae studied in her lab under a high CO2 environment showed few visible changes in growth and development, but some noticeable alterations in the abundance of certain genes.  The changed genes are involved in promoting growth, producing minerals and keeping pH within a range that's tolerable to them.
"If any organism were able to adapt and evolve, it would be the sea urchins, because they live in an environment where they're experiencing daily changes in pH," says Pepsini.
The urchins are very long-lived and have more genetic variability than any other species — including humans, she added. Consequently, the urchins have a broad arsenal for responding to changes in their environment.

≈≈≈≈Crabs, crabs, crabs. For some reason three studies about crabs and Ocean Acidification showed up in the news over the last few days:
The first one is about the "effects of Ocean Acidification on Juvenile Red King Crab and Tanner Crab Growth, Condition, Calcification and Survival".
"At the end of the experiment, calcium concentration was measured in each crab and the dry mass and condition index of each crab were determined. Ocean acidification did not affect the calcium content of red king crab but did decrease the condition index, while it had the opposite effect on Tanner crabs, decreasing calcium content but leaving the condition index unchanged. This suggests that red king crab may be able to maintain calcification rates, but at a high energetic cost. The decrease in survival and growth of each species is likely to have a serious negative effect on their populations in the absence of evolutionary adaptation or acclimatization over the coming decades."
The second study by San Francisco State University indicates that Ocean Acidification may be harmful to porcelain crabs. Read MORE HEREPhoto: Porcelain Crab
Finally, the third one is about research published back in 2009 in the journal Geology by Justin Baker Ries (marine geologist at the University of North Carolina's Aquarium Research Center) and coauthored with Anne Cohen and Daniel McCorkle indicates that "higher levels of carbon in the ocean are causing oysters to grow slower, and their predators -such as blue crabs- to grow faster".  The article points out that "Over the next 75 to 100 years, ocean acidification could supersize blue crabs, which may then eat more oysters and other organisms and possibly throw the food chain of the nation’s largest estuary [Chesapeake Bay] out of whack." Read MORE HERE.

*Sex: 1.600.000.000Corruption: 105.000.000War: 1.330.000.000People:  5.370.000.000God: 884.000.000Facebook: 10.600.000.000 (!)
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100 Screenings in Chile
Saturday, June 10, 2017
By Daniel de la Calle

About a year ago I traveled with our documentary to Chile for a series of screenings in Santiago, Valparaiso and Puerto Montt.  While in Valparaiso I had the chance to meet with some of the local Natural History Museum staff, under renovation at the time.   They liked the film for its environmental, didactic and human values and proposed to have it on daily rotation at their screening area when they reopened in December.  It all went according to plan and that led me to thinking that by now A Sea Change might have screened over a hundred times in that decadently charming World Heritage town facing the Pacific Coast.  It brings special joy to think that such crucial audiences as you see below have caught a glimpse, a few minutes or maybe watched our whole subtitled film, learning something about that ocean across the street, about the sword of Damocles of Ocean Acidification or about Norwegian-American grandparents and grandsons.  If you know of a school, center or institution interested in doing something similar, please write to us at to discuss it further.

Valparaiso from Pablo Neruda's eyes:
AMO, Valparaíso, cuanto encierras,
y cuanto irradias, novia del océano,
hasta más lejos de tu nimbo sordo.
Amo la luz violeta con que acudes
al marinero en la noche del mar,
y entonces eres -rosa de azahares-
luminosa y desnuda, fuego y niebla.
Que nadie venga con un martillo turbio
a golpear lo que amo, a defenderte:
nadie sino mi ser por tus secretos:
nadie sino mi voz por tus abiertas
hileras de rocío, por tus escalones
en donde la maternidad salobre
del mar te besa, nadie sino mis labios
en tu corona fría de sirena,
elevada en el aire de la altura,
oceánico amor, Valparaíso,
reina de todas las costas del mundo,
verdadera central de olas y barcos,
eres en mí como la luna o como
la dirección del aire en la arboleda.
Amo tus criminales callejones,
tu luna de puñal sobre los cerros,
y entre tus plazas la marinería
revistiendo de azul la primavera.
Que se entienda, te pido, puerto mío,
que yo tengo derecho
a escribirte lo bueno y lo malvado
y soy como las lámparas amargas
cuando iluminan las botellas rotas.

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Soon shall the winter's foil be here
Saturday, June 10, 2017

By Walt Whitman



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Marching Through March
Saturday, June 10, 2017
By Daniel de la Calle

March 2013 is furiously peeling off days from the calendar, desperate to pass the torch on to other months, other seasons.  Time these days feels radically non-linear, we better post some news about the oceans and acidification this very day:

According to a new paper published in Nature Geoscience predators could play a role in CO2 emissions on freshwater ecosystems:
"Predators can influence the exchange of carbon dioxide between ecosystems and the atmosphere by altering ecosystem processes such as decomposition and primary production, according to food web theory. […] Here, we report experiments in three-tier food chains in experimental ponds, streams and bromeliads in Canada and Costa Rica in the presence or absence of fish (Gasterosteus aculeatus) and invertebrate (Hesperoperla pacifica and Mecistogaster modesta) predators. We monitored carbon dioxide fluxes along with prey and primary producer biomass. We found substantially reduced carbon dioxide emissions in the presence of predators in all systems, despite differences in predator type, hydrology, climatic region, ecological zone and level of in situ primary production. We also observed lower amounts of prey biomass and higher amounts of algal and detrital biomass in the presence of predators. We conclude that predators have the potential to markedly influence carbon dioxide dynamics in freshwater systems."

Ocean wave made of glass by Italian artist Mario Cerolli

How US East Coast regions react to Ocean Acidification:  A new large study conducted by scientists from 11 US institutions around the Eastern US and the Gulf of Mexico will help researchers understand how different bodies of water will be affected by changes in acidity.
"Before now, we haven't had a very clear picture of acidification status on the east coast of the U.S.," says Zhaohui 'Aleck' Wang, the study's lead author and a chemical oceanographer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). "It's important that we start to understand it, because increase in ocean acidity could deeply affect marine life along the coast and has important implications for people who rely on aquaculture and fisheries both commercially and recreationally."
According to the survey different regions of coastal ocean will respond to an influx of CO2 in different ways. "If you put the same amount of CO2 into both the Gulf of Maine and the Gulf of Mexico right now, the ecosystem in the Gulf of Maine would probably feel the effects more dramatically," says Wang. "Acidity is already relatively high in that region, and the saturation of calcium carbonate—the mineral that many organisms need to make shells—is particularly low. It's not a great situation."
Wang goes on to explain that excess CO2 can enter coastal waters from a variety of different sources. One large source is carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Another potential culprit is nutrient-rich runoff from land. Rainfall and other surface flows can wash fertilizers and other byproducts of human activities into river systems and ground water, and ultimately, into the coastal ocean, delivering an excess of nutrients and often an explosion of biological activity that can lead to decreased oxygen and increased CO2 and acidity. As he points out, 'this happens regularly in the Gulf of Mexico," says Wang. "The Mississippi River dumps enormous amounts of nitrogen and other nutrients into the Gulf, which spawns large algal blooms that lead to production of large amount of organic matter. In the process of decomposing the organic matter, the microbes consume oxygen in the water and leave carbon dioxide behind, making the water more acidic. If this process happens in the Gulf of Maine, the ecosystem there may be even more vulnerable since the Gulf of Maine is a semi-enclosed system and it may take longer time for low pH, low oxygen water to disperse."
After analyzing their data, Wang and colleagues found that, despite a "dead zone" of low oxygen and high acidity outside the mouth of the Mississippi, the Gulf of Mexico on the whole showed a high ratio of alkalinity to DIC, meaning it would be more resistant to acidification. As the team travelled farther north, however, they saw the ratio steadily decreases north of Georgia.
In the study the waters in the Gulf of Maine on average had the lowest alkalinity to DIC ratio of any region along the eastern seaboard, meaning that it would be especially vulnerable to acidification.  While it's unclear exactly why the ratio of alkalinity to DIC is low in those northern waters, Wang believes part of the issue may be linked to alkalinity sources to the region. For example, the Labrador Coastal Current brings relatively fresh, low alkalinity water down from the Labrador Sea to the Gulf of Maine and Middle Atlantic Bight.  If this current is the major source of alkalinity to the region it may mean that the Gulf of Maine's fate could be linked to changes in global climate that, through melting sea ice and glaciers, increase the flow of fresh water to the Gulf of Maine. However, whether this freshening is accompanied by a decrease in seawater alkalinity and "buffer" capacity remains unknown.
Since the waters of the northeast U.S. are already susceptible to rising acidity in Wang's opinion this raises big questions about how species of marine life will fare in the future. "For example, how are oysters going to do? What about other shellfish? If the food chain changes, how are fish going to be impacted?  There's a whole range of ecological and sociological questions." There is a great need for need for more robust coastal ocean chemistry monitoring and coastal ocean acidification studies, he adds. A better understanding of the changing chemistry will help fisheries regulators to better manage the stocks.

Get more than a penny for your thoughts:  "The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, as part of a larger ocean health initiative, and in collaboration with The Oceanography Society, is offering a $10,000 prize for the most promising new science-based concept for mitigating environmental and/or societal impacts of ocean acidification.
In addition to the prize, the authors of highly ranked concepts will receive invitations to submit full proposals to the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation for funding consideration."
"The Foundation seeks concepts that would provide a better understanding of the impact of ocean acidification on different parts of the marine ecosystem and mitigation strategies that might reduce the environmental or societal impacts of ocean acidification. Concepts may focus on natural processes and/or human activities that benefit society. They can be global, regional, or local in scope, and may address a single species/activity or whole ecosystems/industries. While submissions must be firmly rooted in science and should include elements of new basic research, concepts must show a high probability of leading to future demonstrations of a new capability. Preference will be given to interdisciplinary efforts that seek to apply concepts across traditional disciplinary boundaries.
Submissions may come from anyone, regardless of nationality or institutional affiliation, and may represent individuals or teams."

Download the Ocean Challenge Overview PDF HERE
Or read the details HERE

Free seminar on Ocean Acidification on Wednesday, March 13, in Anacortes, WA.  Taking place at the Seafarers' Memorial Park Building between 6 and 8 PM, members of the Puget Sound Partnership Ecosystem Coordination Board, Shannon Point Marine Center, Tailor Shellfish Farms and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership will explain the problem of Ocean Acidification, talk about how shellfish are coping with it and offer recommendations, partnerships and actions.
More info HERE

The California Academy of Sciences has put up a new Youtube video on Ocean Acidification:

The Coastal America Partnership will be hosting its 4th Student Summit on the Oceans and Coasts from March 9-11 in Washington DC, bringing "students from around the US, Canada and Mexico to Washington, DC, to raise awareness of coastal issues and to promote stewardship of our ocean."
"The March 11th Student Presentation Day at the Smithsonian Institution’s National
Museum of Natural History’s (NMNH) Baird Auditorium is open to the public. To
amplify the learning opportunity, this event will also be made
public through a live webcast over the Smithsonian’s Institution’s
Ocean Portal at" from 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. EST. The webcast presents a unique
opportunity for students, educators and the public to watch from
locations throughout the world as these young students make
their voices heard in our nation’s capital."


"The second U.S. Ocean Acidification Principal Investigators' Meeting will be held in Washington, DC at Gallaudet University's Kellogg Conference Center on September 18-20 2013. This three-day meeting will bring together the U.S. OA research community to assess the state of OA science nationally and to identify knowledge gaps and opportunities for collaborations that will accelerate OA research in the future.
This meeting offers an opportunity for the scientific community to help shape U.S. national OA research efforts as they develop. In addition to poster sessions to showcase scientific results, meeting activities include numerous panel, plenary, and breakout discussions designed to explore how current U.S. OA research and organizational support fit together, and to identify where greater synergies can be encouraged."


At least we have laughter to save us from despair when not insanity: "the Tea Party Manatee-Riding Patriots":
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Late February, Late Winter News
Saturday, June 10, 2017
By Daniel de la Calle

We cannot let the month end and watch the season slowly fade out without a postful of links, videos, news and photos on Ocean Acidification:

»The Oceanography Laboratory at Villefranche-sur-Mer (France) is deploying nine "mesocosms" (52 m3) over a 30 days period in order to cover the range of pCO2 anticipated for the end of the present century.  These "mesocosms" are 15 meter deep plastic tubes closed at the bottom to collect organic matter and open at the top to remain in contact with the atmosphere.  25 researchers from six European countries are taking part in the tests, the second of their kind in the Mediterranean.  While the first experiment, conducted in June/July 2012 in Corsica, was dedicated to the assessment of ocean acidification effects during the summer oligotrophic period, this second one will take place during the winter-spring phytoplanktonic bloom.  Here is a "France 3" news piece on the story:

Une expérience de grande ampleur à Villefranche... por France3Nice

»"Taking Action against Ocean Acidification - A review of management and policy options".   An interview with lecturer Ryan Kelly (Center for Ocean Solutions), Jean-Pierre Gattuso (Laboratoire d'océanographie de Villefranche) and Raphaël Billé (IDDRI) in the monthly seminar "Séminaire du développement durable et économie de l'environnement" organized jointly by IDDRI, the Sustainable Development Center EDF at the Ecole Polytechnique, and the Columbia Global Centers Europe at Reid Hall.  Held in Paris in December 2012.

»Plymouth Marine Laboratory (UK) will host the 3rd Annual Sea Surface Ocean Acidification Meeting on April 11th, 2013.

»Dr. Ken Caldeira, from the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Department of Global Ecology speaking at Stanford University. He discusses long-term perspectives and near-term actions relating to ocean acidification.

»Ocean Acidification may affect the Great Lakes in the same was it is altering the oceans, according to modeling the study of carbon cycles by Galen McKinley, Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Wisconsin.  It is clear this is a more complex environment, already severely affected by runoff from cities and agriculture and infested with invasive zebra and quagga mussels that absorb large amounts of calcium carbonate to build their shells.
“One potential area where we might get helped out with is impacts to quagga and zebra mussels,” says McKinley.  “Evidence shows they do not like the lower pH.”
But nobody can guess the outcome of this mix of pollution, Acidification and invasive species until some research is done. “Right now we don’t have enough consistent and detailed measurements to accurately capture what the pH level even is and if it is permanently changing,” says McKinley.
NOAA has proposed to implement the network of preexisting mooring stations in the open waters of each Great Lake with carbon sensors and to study how local organisms respond to greater acidity to be able to model potential impacts to the food web.Photo: NOAA

»"The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) announced last November that it would start releasing periodical monitoring information on ocean acidification, the first of its kind in Japan, along with global warming information using the long-term observational data gathered by its research vessels. The monitoring information will be available in a column of the "Oceanic Carbon Cycle" on JMA's website."
Photo: Japan Meteorological Agency

»On THIS link you will find a presentation on "Ocean Acidification / N2O" by Mr. Sakae Toyoda, from Tokyo Institute of Technology at Kavli Frontiers of Science symposium series of the National Academy of Sciences.

»"Ocean acidification and nitrous oxide"
By Michael Beman, University of California, Merced
"Human activities have fundamentally altered the chemistry of the atmosphere and ocean, ultimately pushing our planet into a new geological period known as the ‘Anthropocene.’ While human-driven increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations—and their strong connection with climate change—are well-known, atmospheric nitrous oxide (N2O) concentrations have increased in parallel with CO2. N2O is both a strong greenhouse gas and the dominant destroyer of stratospheric ozone; the steady increase in N2O concentrations is driven primarily by agricultural fertilization, yet N2O is produced by multiple microbial groups that interact in complicated ways, and that may respond to other forms of environmental change. At the same time, climate change is not the only effect of elevated CO2: 25-33% of human-generated CO2 dissolves in the ocean, where it forms a weak acid and reduces ocean pH—a process known as ‘ocean acidification.’ pH is fundamental for ocean chemistry and ocean organisms, and changes in dissolved nutrients, metals, and forms of inorganic carbon are an expected consequence of future ocean acidification. Ocean pH is projected to decline by 0.3-0.4 units by the end of the century, producing wide-ranging effects that include reduced calcification in corals, shellfish, and phytoplankton; altered physiology in fish and other animals; and changes in ocean biogeochemical cycles. In this overview talk, I will present the drivers behind ocean acidification and increased N2O, the underlying dynamics of these changes, their projected effects, and their ultimate interactions."

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Saturday, June 10, 2017
By Daniel de la Calle

Simon Reeve's six-episode series titled Indian Ocean delivers a kaleidoscopic view of the world's third largest body of water, the one least studied by scientists.  Starting in South Africa and ending in Australia, passing through rocky cliffs in Oman and the endless beaches of Orissa, each episode hides, disguised in the form of a travelogue, a study in the complexity and depth of our impact on the planet.  The documentaries are recurrently environmental, but more by force than by choice.  As Mr. Reeve describes the arch taking him East we are witnesses to our dependance on the seas for food, transportation, industry or leisure and we listen to local fishermen and concerned activists repeating a sad litany about the dwindling fisheries and devastating pollution.  But none of the hour long episodes is intended to be a bummer nor does it try to sound preaching or condescending.   Each one depicts the fantastic ethnic and social diversity of the region while the viewer constantly marvels and finds dream material with the numerous gorgeous postcards from tropical paradise and examples of the exhilarating vibrancy of nature.

Simon Reeve

Mr. Reeve walks like a real traveler, a man in the quest for beauty, but one that understands that discovery and knowledge, even when ugly and sad, are at the epicenter of any journey.  Under those premises it does not feel strained to enjoy the luxurious atmosphere of an exclusive resort or a meal in a sub-aquatic restaurant in the Maldives to be taken in the following sequence through the burning, toxic dumpsters behind the curtain of the resorts that makes such a five star fantasy of Shangri-La possible. We get to see the baobab trees and the hopping lemurs of Madagascar, but the fake veil of film-making is for once dropped and one worriedly learns these are the exact same charming specimens that appear in every single nature documentary now that 90% of the island has been deforested.  We are taught about the future of seaweed farming and sustainable fishing, see both the last pristine coral reefs and the prevailing coral cemeteries, hear about the deadly Somali pirates and later visit two of them in a small prison to realize their faces are thin and sad; reality is much more complex and ambiguous than we would all want. 
Population growth and sustainability, the unquestionable power of progress, Chinese and Indian dominance in the region, the hidden price to our love for shrimp, global desire for luxury and dependance on world trade, the dirty fingers of the mining industry (hated but indispensable to modern life), the soup that will kill all sharks, the savage beauty of the Australian Kimberley region, a beach cemetery in Bangladesh where the mighty cargo boats of the world go to die, the hardship of fishing in an empty sea or colorful Indian celebrations in the rain, all of this makes Indian Ocean.  That is why I think you should watch it, because it is beautiful, haunting and kaleidoscopic. HERE you will find how to do that.
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