We hear very little about climate change these days. The science and scientists who pronounced anthropogenic global warming as the coming apocalypse have largely been discredited as scam artists and political players, and Al Gore, the leading politician of the movement, has larger scandals on his hands than do those scientists.
Now that those scientists have been quieted, others are beginning to speak out about findings that further refute theories such as the increasing levels of carbon in our environment. Several such scientists have recently announced findings that ocean dwelling plankton will migrate relatively long distances to thrive in the middle of the ocean, seeking nutrients in the form of nitrates they consume, as well as CO2. The little buggers consume about 20% of all the CO2 consumed by plants worldwide.
For almost three decades, oceanographers have been puzzled by the ability of microscopic algae to grow in mid-ocean areas where there is very little nitrate, an essential algal nutrient. In this week’s issue of Nature, MBARI chemical oceanographer Ken Johnson, along with coauthors Stephen Riser at the University of Washington and David Karl at the University of Hawaii, show that mid-ocean algae obtain nitrate from deep water, as much as 250 meters below the surface. This finding will help scientists predict how open-ocean ecosystems could respond to global warming.
…Surface waters in this and other mid-ocean areas contain almost no nitrate or other plant nutrients. Yet each year, microscopic algae (phytoplankton) flourish in these vast, open-ocean areas. Although miniscule in size, these mid-ocean algae consume about one fifth of all the carbon dioxide taken up by plants and algae worldwide.
To solve this mystery, Johnson and his fellow researchers used a robotic drifter called an Apex float, which automatically moves from the sea surface down to 1,000 meters and then back again, collecting data as it goes. Researchers at the University of Washington outfitted this drifter with an oxygen sensor and a custom version of Johnson’s In Situ Ultraviolet Spectrophotometer (ISUS), which measures nitrate concentrations in seawater.
…From January through October of each year, the instruments on the drifter showed a gradual increase in oxygen concentrations in the upper 100 meters of the ocean. At the same time, the float detected a gradual decrease in concentrations of nitrate in deeper waters, from 100 to 250 meters below the surface.
Johnson and his coauthors found that the amount of oxygen being produced near the surface through photosynthesis was directly proportional to the amount of nitrate that was being consumed in deeper water.
Won’t be happening around here, though. As we reported here several weeks ago, there is a large area of the Gulf of Mexico, below the mouths of the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers, that is dead, unable to support life because it is deprived of oxygen due to the runoff of excessive agricultural fertizers in the midwest, a direct result of the ethanol movement and its promotion of the use of corn for a fuel resource.
Fertilizers dissolved in the river waters exacerbate the growth of algae, which in turn depletes the Gulf waters of oxygen. As reported today in the Baton Rouge Daily Business Report, that dead zone, which over the past five years has averaged about 6000 square miles, may this year approach as much as 7800 square miles, or about the size of New Jersey.
As stated, this is an annual occurrence we hear little or nothing about because it is a negative environmental effect of the “renewable energy” agenda of the ethanol loving environmental movement – an element of the movement that drove oil drilling prematurely into mile-deep waters resulting in the spill that is devastating our coastline.
Science is not our enemy. There is much yet to be learned about our planet and our universe, such as the beneficial consumption of CO2 by ocean dwelling organisms helping to keep our environment in balance. It is when politicians who don’t understand the science try to twist and distort it in support of an agenda that it becomes a problem.