Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Bogus Ocean Suffocation Crisis

 Watch my new video "Bogus Ocean Suffocation Crisis

Transcript of this video is below

Bogus Ocean Suffocation Crisis

Welcome back everybody. I promised my next video would be about the Arctic ocean, but I had a few colleagues asked me about the bogus ocean suffocation crises that are being pushed by the media. About a week ago, the Seattle times had the big headlines that low oxygen levels in the Pacific Northwest are a silent climate change crisis. And this is nothing new. This suffocation crisis has been pushed for at least the last five years. In 2016, one media headlines said that, the oceans would suffocate by 2030. The New York times has also pushed this idea that the oceans are rapidly losing their oxygen. And they all do this because it's clickbait and is profitable. Not only did the New York times push this headline, but they took out a Google ad to push this crisis type headline. So, so all the media push this but it doesn't make any scientific sense.

International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) misrepresent oxygen changes

Now the IUCN  is the International Union for the Conservation of nature. And there's a lot of good scientists that I really appreciate, who are trying to protect the environment, but they're also dependent on donations. And so they are not immune to trying to push a crisis in order to get more funding. Now they just recently pushed this "DEOXYGENATION is a wake up call to save our suffocating seas". And they blame climate change for causing a dramatic loss in life-sustaining oxygen.

They attributed that loss to three main causes. 1) They said that that CO2 is causing a warming of the ocean and warmer waters lose oxygen quicker. 2) They blamed stratification of warming surface layers that prevents vertical mixing of water. And so that prevents oxygen from the atmosphere from reaching deeper layers. and 3) They push eutrophication, which has nothing to do with climate change, but they pushed it anyways.

So I want to talk about eutrophication first. Now dead zones in the oceans, due to eutrophication, has been a known problem for several decades now, and many places are attempting to try to resolve this problem. What happens is the dumping of nutrients from agricultural waste, or sewage into the rivers enters the oceans and all these nutrients create a boom in algae growth. But once the algae growth stops, algae dies, and the decay consumes all the oxygen. Without oxygen, the fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico would see that these dead zones seen in red, where all the fish would leave. And so it was a crisis but this is not just happening at the Gulf of Mexico

Known sites of hypoxia due to eutrophication

All these little red spots here represent the places around the world. And we see it's usually around major population zones where this waste is being dumped into the ocean. This has nothing to do with climate change, but is something we definitely must deal with it's, it's a problem.

So the IUCN is arguing that since the 1960s, the global oceans of loss, about 2% of their oxygen that they blame on global warming; kind of sprinkling this bogus climate crisis with a little bit of truthful physics by saying that as water warms, it holds less oxygen. But this ignores the real issues. Dr. Francisco Chavez is a Peruvian oceanographer who is now chief scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

Data from Chavez 2011

And he looked at the effects of upwelling along the coast of Peru, on oxygenation of the waters. He looked at the data from over 700 years and during the Little Ice Age when the waters were much colder (that period of time is shaded in a light blue). And during that time, the waters were highly oxygenated (upper panel). Then around 1800, as the water started to warm, and the global temperature started to warm, the amount of oxygen in the water dropped. And this at first glance would seem like it's consistent with the global warming theory. But if you look deeper, you see the real significance has to do with upwelling.

Chavez looked at how much nutrients were found in the upper levels of the water. And they noticed that what happened as the earth warmed as it came out of the little ice age, upwelling increased. That brought nutrients up to the surface where plankton could grow. And what you see then is when that happened, there was this tremendous amount of productivity that's happened (lower panel).

So the warming we've experienced over the last hundred years has been a great benefit to the whole Marine ecosystems. Now you'd expect from this extra photosynthesis that because photosynthesis produces oxygen, and productivity was great, there'd be more oxygenated waters. But there's another issue just like the eutrophication. When those particles of organic matter that was created during photosynthesis start to sink and decay or be digested, they consume oxygen.

A recent paper in 2018, also created a spurt of media climate crisis, uh, claims.  Chavez was a coauthor of Breitberg (2018) "Declining oxygen in the global ocean and the coastal waters". They noted it's an "important paradox to consider that the large scale effects of future  deoxygenation that nutrient rich coastal systems, due to upwelling, are associated with oxygen minimum zones, but also support some of the world's most prolific fisheries."

Now it, at first glance, it appears that there's a great paradox here. That greater amounts of photosynthesis would cause a greater depletion of oxygen. But if you understand that more photosynthesis, creates more organic matter in these upwellings zones, and the more organic matter that's produced, the more it decays and consumes oxygen. And it's in these upwelling zones that we see the greatest oxygen minimum zones. If we look at a global illustration of oxygen minimum zones around the world (below) in dark blue, the greatest amount of upwelling are also the greatest places of oxygen minimum zones.

If we look at this illustration about oxygen concentrations as we drop in depth, we see at the very surface that the oxygen concentrations are at their highest, but that's in just the top 100 meters of the ocean. And below that photosynthesis stops. We see that the oxygen begins to be consumed as organic matter sinks, and by the time it reaches about one kilometer depth, we create these oxygen minimum zones where all this decaying organic matter consumes most of the oxygen. 

And then once you drop below those oxygen minimum zones, the oxygen in the deeper water starts to increase again. And that's because there's very little organic matter left to decay. And the mixing of deep cold waters that have been highly oxygenated and brought from more polar regions, start to add oxygen to the water. 

Now to understand why this hundred meter depth marks the difference between super saturated oxygen in the surface layers and a declining amount of oxygen below that, we have to understand how light penetrates the water. Here in this illustration, we see the sunlight is broken up into his basic colors or wavelengths.

We see that that red light, which is really critical for photosynthesis, really doesn't penetrate past the first one meter. (Infrared that is produced by greenhouse gases, can't penetrate any deeper than about one micron. So it doesn't warm the oceans directly.) By the time you get to 10 meters, the yellow light can't penetrate any deeper. Green light can't penetrate much deeper than 50 meters and blue light, which is another critical wavelength for photosynthesis, can't penetrate any deeper than a hundred meters.

Now, this is an average sometimes in very clear water, you get a little greater penetration, in murky waters you have a little bit less. But we we can break up these depths in a very general way. We'll call the upper surface later that euphotic zone where there's enough sunlight to foster photosynthesis. And then below the euphotic zone, you get a little bit less light in the dysphoric, but not enough for photosynthesis. In the aphotic there is no light whatsoever, and in those regions photos without photosynthesis, decay in digestion dominate so  oxygen not produced only consumed, so oxygen minimum zones are created.

So let's look at the paradox of why upwelling zones not only create the most abundant areas of rich and diverse marine life, but why they can also cause some deadly consequences.  In the lower layers within the zones where there's no photosynthesis, decay and digestion dominate and they consume all the oxygen as they do that. The decay and digestion releases all these nutrients that can now be recycled into the surface above. Now the winds, and this happens typically along the west coast of all the continents, as they blow towards the equator, the winds cause the water to move away from the coast, and this causes the subsurface water to rise and replace it. 

As that water rises, this water without oxygen will cover some of the sea floor, near the surface where invertebrates live. Some of the fish, if they can, move away because of lack of oxygen, But other invertebrates that aren't so mobile, may die. And this was noticed by crab fishermen in Oregon when they brought up their crabpots and found dead crabs in them.

But the upwelling also has all these nutrients. It injects nutrients into the sunlit zone, and this enables a burst of photosynthesis and it's these phytoplankton blooms that are the basis for the whole food chain for this very robust ecosystem. And, at the same time because photosynthesis dominates, it's super saturates, the surface waters with oxygen.

Now, the second thing that the promoters of a climate crisis push is this idea of stratification, meaning that because the water on the surface is warmer, it won't mix with the colder water below it. And so they're arguing that CO2 warming is going to increase the stratification. Now, anyone that has studied oceans or lakes understands that this kind of stratification happens every summer and it breaks down every winter, but this is sort of the sprinkling of scientific truth used to make this bogus climate crisis narrative seem more plausible.

So let's look at a peer reviewed study from 2015 that examines the oxygen profile throughout a full year and through the seasons from summer to winter. This is from a station near Alaska around 50 degrees latitude north. What you can see here is the blues are our regions below the surface that are unsaturated with oxygen, meaning that at that temperature, these waters could hold a lot more oxygen than they do, but they don't because of decay and digestion. The yellow and the red show areas of super saturation, meaning there's far more oxygen in those surface waters, then you would expect to diffuse in from the atmosphere.

The purple thick line shows the stratification depth and how it changes throughout the season. So if we look at the summer from June through October, when the waters are warm, we see that the strata is  definitely very shallow. But we also see this is a region where there's super saturation and often this shallow stratification enables greater photosynthesis because it prevents turbulence that can carry phytoplankton down to deeper depths with, with less light.

As we move into the winter, the early fall and late spring with colder temperatures, we see this stratification gets deeper, but we also see there's much less oxygen there. Even though you have this deeper strata of water now, it's mixing in unsaturated water. So this deeper stratification, this deeper mixing of water, is not always a benefit for supplying oxygen. And if we look at the waters below a hundred meters where decay and digestion dominate and get rid of oxygen, we see this unsaturated water is really not affected that much by the changes in the stratification above it.

So if you understand the science, if you understand the marine systems, then you understand that there is no climate change oxygenation crisis. When people are trying to manipulate your opinions, it's easy to mix in a small fraction of truth, a small fraction of science with a large fraction of lies to push an earth crisis that makes people afraid, makes them concerned, & makes them willing to accept different solutions that are pushed by politicians or media clickbait.

You must be aware of this vicious circle of exaggerated crises. The media will promote click-based crises for a profit, and then politicians and researchers seeking funds will claim that they have solutions for these non-existent crises. Beware! 

Now as promised before, my next video will be about how Arctic ocean ventilation biases the global average temperature.

But until then, embrace the renowned scientist Thomas Huxley's advice that skepticism is your highest of duties and blind faith is the one unpardonable sin.

And if you appreciate the science clearly presented here, science rarely presented in mainstream media. And please give it a like, share or copy the URL and email it to your friends, subscribe to this YouTube channel, or read my book landscapes in cycles it environmentalist journey to climate skepticism. 

Thank you.