Saturday, 21 May 2016

Towards a Broader Perspective on Ocean Acidification Research

Ocean Acidification (OA) is a misnomer. Oceans are alkaline. The pH of the world’s oceans varies between 7.5 and 8.3 —  the acid zone starts below ‘neutral’ pH7. For an explanation of OA, see  Jo Nova: The Chemistry of pH and "acidification.

ICES Journal of Marine Science have issued an entire journal devoted to a review of all the papers published re Ocean Acidification: Volume 73 Number 3 February/March 2016

The review is conducted  by Editor Howard I. Browman - Institute of Marine Research, Marine Ecosystem Acoustics Disciplinary Group, Austevoll Research Station, 5392 Storebø, Norway. Howard Brownman has had 71 publications in peer review journals.

His introduction to the review in the Journal of Marine Science is titled:

Applying organized scepticism to ocean acidification research

Browman says that most of the OA "literature reports negative effects of CO2 on organisms and conclude that OA will be detrimental to marine ecosystems."

As is true across all of science, studies that report no effect of OA are typically more difficult to publish. Further, the mechanisms underlying the biological and ecological effects of OA have received little attention in most organismal groups, and some of the key mechanisms (e.g. calcification) are still incompletely understood.
Seems that OA has become flavour of times. IS that because there has been an 18 year plateau in Global  Warming and so the alarmists needed a new scare?

According to the search engine "Web of Science# (WOS), no articles used the term “OA” before 2000. Five articles responded to the search term “OA” in 2005.."
From 2006 to 2015, >3100 articles on OA appeared—>300 per year! In 2015 alone, >600 articles were published on this topic.
On the topic of "pal" review vs peer review, under the heading PUBLICATION BIAS
Negative results—those that do not support a research hypothesis (e.g. OA will have detrimental effects on marine organisms)—can provide more balance for a subject area for which most published research reports positive results. Negative results can indicate that a subject area is not mature or clearly enough defined, or that our current methods and approaches are insufficient to produce a de- finitive result. Gould (1993) asserted that positive results tell more interesting stories than negative results and are, therefore, easier to write about and more interesting to read. He calls this a privileging of the positive. This privileging leads to a bias that acts against the propagation of negative results in the scholarly literature (see also Browman, 1999). 
  • Increasing number of articles promoting the new scare;
  • Flawed science in the published research with "inherent bias"
But wait! There's more.

James Delingpole writes in The Spectator:
Ocean acidification theory appears to have been fatally flawed almost from the start. In 2004, two NOAA scientists, Richard Feely and Christopher Sabine, produced a chart showing a strong correlation between rising atmospheric CO2 levels and falling oceanic pH levels. But then, just over a year ago, Mike Wallace, a hydrologist with 30 years’ experience, noticed while researching his PhD that they had omitted some key information. Their chart only started in 1988 but, as Wallace knew, there were records dating back to at least 100 years before. So why had they ignored the real-world evidence in favour of computer-modelled projections?
When Wallace plotted a chart of his own, incorporating all the available data, covering the period from 1910 to the present, his results were surprising: there has been no reduction in oceanic pH levels in the last -century. (See also Climate Change policies based on pHraud.)

    Sorry OA! You're busted. Game, Set and Match.

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