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Anonymous asked in EnvironmentGlobal Warming · 1 decade ago

have we factored in carbon sequestration as bones and shells of larger creatures?

i just saw this;

"Much more carbon is sequestered by echinoderms than previously thought."

and i had already been thinking about fish bones and other hard to digest stuff, dropping into the deep sea bed, either as is os in the poo of larger creatures.

is all this stuff taken into account as part of some larger effect (the biological pump i guess), how would that be estimated, and what sort of margins of error might there be?

i recently saw something that to me to be a ray of hope; that there is a missing sink somewhere, that the biosphere is absorbing more than estimated. is this it? and if it is from organisms with bony and shelly bits, are these not going to suffer disproportionately from ocean acidification?


hi Mr. Lothringer Bur, long time no see!

yes, all the natural processes can be lumped in to a 'black box' model represented by the pre-industrial conditions, but i wondered if they were being measured at some level in between that and individual species.

the ocean seeding experiment was a failure! it was "sorry, the shrimp ate my homework" , oh how i laughed. the wrong kind of algae grew, and got eaten. i since found that the 'right' kind, diatoms, are limited by silica, not iron anyway.

Update 2:

nice links from gone galt and rich, thanks.

nice background from jim z, cheers for reminding me, i knew that 30 years ago lol :-)

still investigating, but loosing hope it is a big sink or that it will increase.

the increase of shallow seas with sea level rise will increase the effect in the long term, and it looks so far that acidification will disrupt short term but not have such a negative effect in long term as i feared.

8 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    Intuitively, there wouldn't be enough to make a significant difference. Even shells and bone are often degraded if not buried quickly and contain little carbon to begin with. It took eons for enough shells to form chalk to accumulate. It is doubtful this occurs fast enough to make a major difference in the short term.

    Also, bravozulu is outright lying. Increasing the CO2 concentration does not give you massive increases in carbon fixation. Very rarely is CO2 the limiting nutrient. Algae won't magically start fixing more carbon unless you start dumping huge quantities of ammonia and phosphorus in the North Atlantic as well.

    Not to mention the fact iron would do absolutely nothing. The only form of iron usable by life is reduced iron. This can't exist with oxygen, which rapidly makes the oxidized form of iron, which happens to be insoluble (organisms uptake the very limited oxidized iron still in solution and reduce it). Iron is a limiting nutrient only because it is insoluble in the environment. The ocean is already at its carrying capacity. Adding more would just cause it to sink.

    Once again a denier shows no knowledge of biology or science in general.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Bones are made from calcium phosphate by the way so the only carbon is from the formerly live cells they contain. There are several ways that the ocean sequesters carbon. Some just drops to the bottom in the form of waste and dead bodies. That is especially true in zones where there is so much biological activity that it eutrifies the water or depletes it of oxygen. The mouths of many rivers like where the Mississippi empties into the gulf are examples.. Some carbon will be sequestered in most any depositional area of the ocean which is the vast majority. One of the reasons cited for not increasing the biomass of the southern oceans by adding iron to the water is that it will cause eutrification in the deep ocean. You obviously wouldn't want to get carried away with it but some eutrification is natural. It also increases the amount of life in the southern oceans so a judgment would need to be made about if it were better to increase the biomass by seeding the ocean with iron, which is the limiting nutrient, or not interfering. Most alarmists leaders aren't interested in solutions that don't put radical leftists in charge of deciding who get to use power and make industrialized nations pay. A solution like seeding the southern oceans would remove the "crisis' (which really only exists in their minds) and it would remove their funding.

    More carbon means more plankton. Less alkalinity also means more plankton. That increases the amount of organic mater that falls to the ocean bottom. Some will be deposited in coral reefs in the form of calcium carbonate. Some precipitates naturally. Some of the shells of calcium carbonate reach the bottom of the ocean in the droppings of whatever feeds on it. There is much more calcium in the ocean than there is carbon so it will never run out and it also keeps the ocean alkaline. There are many places on the ocean bottom where where the minerals will react to acid and buffer the effects of lowering the pH. There is about 100 times as much carbon in the ocean as has ever been released by humans so how much effect could that have. Those that claim or assume that the ocean has a constant pH are mistaken.

    I would be extremely skeptical of any danger from acidifying the ocean. That seems pretty obvious to be an attempt by climate alarmists to have a fallback position to continue to demonize carbon dioxide, a gas absolutely vital to life, if the climate doesn't cooperate and there is no reason to think it will.

    "Plankton with shells made of calcium carbonate also commonly dissolve, but not as commonly as siliceous plankton. The dissolution of carbonate plankton is controlled by water depth and water temperature. Water depth and hydrostatic pressure correlate with each other—at greater depths there is greater pressure. At greater pressures, the solubility of carbon dioxide gas increases. An excellent analogy of this process is observed in a bottled carbonated beverage that is under pressure until opened—when the pressure is released the carbon dioxide comes out of solution and bubbles form. Similarly, at the great depths of the deepest seafloor, the solubility of carbon dioxide increases so much that calcium carbonate sediment may dissolve. This dissolution is also facilitated at the lower temperatures of the deep sea."

    If you increase the amount of CO2 in the water, you are also shifting the balance toward the CO2 side of the equation and that should make calcium carbonate less soluble. You might assume that acidification would counter that effect but until we understand why the ocean pH changes and what causes it, I sure wouldn't assume that it is the introduction of such a tiny percentage increase in carbon.

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    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Good to see you again !!! It has been a while

    Well fishbones sinking and accumulating is the reverse process of concrete making roughly said :-)

    What happens is that CaCO3 is sunk at the ocean floor.

    There is so far I know no acceleration of the phenomenon just as there is no increase in volcanic activity and this global pre-industrial balance is the only which yielded the 280 ppm concentration.

    There have been attemps through iron seeding of oceans to increase biological activity thus leading to more fossilization of calcium carbonate.. or at least that was what has been hoped. I do not think this has been very successful so far.

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  • 4 years ago

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  • JimZ
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Bones and carbonaceous exoskeletons contain carbon. Reefs obviously sequester tremendous amounts of carbon. There are limestone cliffs in the Black Hills of South Dakota where I am from where cliffs of former reefs are hundreds of feet thick. Obviously the cliffs are just exposed parts of formations that are buried and extend for hundreds if not thousands of miles beneath the surface. They are formed mostly of calcite and dolomite. CaCO3 (calcite), and related carbonate minerals will also chemically precipitate out of warm sea water.

    If a carbonate partical settles in a place where it is buried quickly (before it dissolves), then it will accumulate. In deeper water which is cooler it needs to be buried. Calcite is unusual in that it is less soluble in warm water so it tends to dissolve in cold water. So there are extensive areas outside the continental shelfs where accumulation will occur and sequestration will be accomplished. It is necessary to be near the continent because that is where sediments are adequate to bury the accumulated calcite.


    My brother (bravozulu) told me I made a mistake on this. I probably should have said the limestone formations extend for hundreds if not thousands of miles "laterally." He thought I said it extended that far vertically which obviously it doesn't.

    Weisse Ente is incorrect (not to mention vile) in calling BZ a liar. In fact iron is the limiting factor in southern oceans as well as some other places. It is fairly well known.

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  • heres a related article from last summer that touches on the same subject but is primarily about teleost's (bony fish) which also fix carbon by producing co3.

    it seems virtually nothing is as simple as we would like it to be.

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  • Rich
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Refer to study on stronger shells of crabs in lower pH. This article has a negative perspective, editorializing that this adaptation is a disadvantage. It's not a disadvantage, it's a miracle! However, the point is: animals adapt. Humans think that they should try to keep the climate the same. It makes you wonder whether there is intelligent life on Earth. The "acidification" (lower pH, though not into the pH scale of acidic) of ocean water is broadcast as catastrophic: another fallacy of the fatalists.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    One of the many factors unaccounted for climate "scientists." Somehow they still manage to "conclude" that human beings are wrecking the earth with CO2 (which means for everything they do.)

    The climate is too vast for us to affect it.

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