Not Enough CO2 in Fossil Fuels to Make Oceans Acidic  

Not by Fire but by Ice


Discover What Killed the Dinosaurs . . . and Why it Could Soon Kill Us


Not Enough CO2 in Fossil Fuels
to Make Oceans Acidic


 24 Oct 08 – What’s the likelihood of our oceans becoming acidic from global warming? When we run out of rocks, then we will have acid oceans, says prize-winning geologist Ian Plimer.

(Excerpts) The atmosphere once had at least 25 times the current CO2 content. We are living at a time when CO2 is the lowest it has been for billions of years. We continue to remove CO2 via carbonate sedimentation from the oceans and the oceans continue to be buffered by water-rock reactions (as shown by Walker et al. 1981). The literature on this subject is large yet the warmers chose to ignore this literature. [...]

The oceans have remained alkaline during the Phanerozoic (last 540 million years) except for a very brief and poorly understood time 55 million years ago. Rainwater (pH 5.6) reacts with the most common minerals on Earth (feldspars) to produce clays, this is an acid-consuming reaction, alkali and alkaline earths are leached into the oceans (which is why we have saline oceans), silica is redeposited as cements in sediments, the reaction consumes acid and is accelerated by temperature 

In the oceans, there is a buffering reaction between the sea floor basalts and sea water. Sea water has a local and regional variation in pH  (pH 7.8 to 8.3). It should be noted that pH is a log scale and that if we are to create acid oceans, then there is not enough CO2 in fossil fuels to create oceanic acidity because most of the planet’s CO2 is locked up in rocks. When we run out of rocks on Earth or plate tectonics ceases, then we will have acid oceans.

Ian Plimer is a professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Adelaide in Australia.





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