German Prof Friedrich-Karl Ewert Dismisses Visions Of Future Ocean Acidification…”Exaggerated Claims”

The ocean-acid-heads are tripping out once again, trying to scare the public with their hallucinatory visions of future marine catastrophes.

In a hearing by the Lower Saxony Environment Committee on June 16, 2014, Professor Stefan Rahmstorf (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research) once again announced panic warnings of melting ice in the Arctic and ocean-acidification. EIKE reports here.

Ewert F.K.

Geologist F.K. Ewert dismisses Stefan Rahmstorf’s alarmist claims of man-made ocean acidification. Photo credit: EIKE.

German geologist Prof. F.K. Ewert (photo) takes a close look at how these claims are exaggerated and how activist scientists attempt to use natural processes to create panic.

What follows is Prof. F.K. Ewert’s piece at EIKE in English (translated/edited by P Gosselin):

Expansion of Arctic sea ice, ocean acidification?

Statement on the presentation made by Prof. Dr. Rahmstorf (PIK) to the committee for Environment, Energy and Climate of the state parliament of Lower Saxony, 16 June 2014.

As is usual in so-called “climate science’, Prof. Stefan Rahmstorf is very selective with the facts: When they contradict the zeitgeist of man-made climate change, they get ignored. This way of conducting science is not new –– there have always been scientists who have served authority – and their own interests. Karl Popper recognized that science becomes ideology as soon as one stops to ask questions and only allows repetition instead. Plenty of examples are known.

German writer Goethe once said (18 Dec 1828): ‘One must always repeat what is true because fallacy is also constantly preached around us, and not from just one person, but by the masses in newspapers and encyclopedias, at schools and universities.’ At his presentation before the Committee for Environment, Energy and Climate at the state parliament of Lower Saxony on 16 June 2014, Prof. Rahmstorf once again practiced pseudoscience, this time it concerned Arctic sea ice extent and the ocean acidification.

Alleged shrinking of Arctic sea ice

The shrinking of Arctic sea ice up to the year 2012 was used by Rahmstorf as proof of the ongoing CO2-induced global warming. However the fact that sea ice grew 40% from August 2012 to August 2013 never got mentioned. The ice comes and goes because periodic, episodic fluctuations in temperature development also take place in the Arctic.

Ocean acidification

Prof. Rahmstorf informed that ‘our anthropogenic CO2 was causing an acidification of the ocean, which has increased 30%, and as a result the coral reefs are in danger.’

Are we really seeing the alleged acidity? No. This is because with a pH = 8.1 they are still very much alkaline. Foremost ocean researcher and climate agitator Rahmstorf apparently does not know about the chemistry of the ocean, let alone the coral reefs. Yet he sees himself qualified to judge this.

It is a fact that atmospheric CO2 concentration over the course of the earth’s history was far greater than it is today. And if that is the case, then so were the oceans. It is a fact that the pH value of the oceans has dropped from 8.2 to 8.1. This is nothing more then a small drop in alkalinity because water does not become acidic until the pH drops under 7.0. Whether the current pH change from 8.2 to 8.1 is new and unique, or can also be greater and how it was in former times, is unknown because no long-term measurements are available.

CO2 and H2O don’t want anything to do with each other and so they separate immediately after their first connection to carbonic acid. Only 1% of carbonic acid reacts and bonds with the plentiful amounts of calcium found in water to form calcium carbonate, which in water is only 0.0114 g/l soluble. While constantly new calcium carbonate forms, as lime slurry it has to settle and form limestone.

The biochemistry is more complex and involves many facets: One is that the skeletons of many animal species are formed with calcium carbonate. But not only clams and the like. Our limestone Alps for example were formed in large part from the calcium carbonate skeletons of protzoa. CO2 made it possible for their there calcium carbonate skeletons to be created.

Moreover CO2 is the building block of coral reefs. Their growth begins with algae that live in the corals, and they need CO2 in order to live and grow, and thus provide for the growth of calcium carbonate skeletons that eventually lead to the formation of the reefs. In addition to the large coral reefs of today’s tropical seas, there are countless relics made of large masses of calcium carbonate, also in our Central German mountains we are able to see them – e.g. in the Harz, Sauerland and Eifel regions. They were all once coral reefs in the ocean. Their CO2 content was considerably higher than today – and that was good because it produced huge quantities of limestone.

Therefore: without the building block of CO2 there would be no limestone and so no coral reefs! Admittedly the CO2 concentrations were greater than today. But it is unknown whether the pH value was maybe lower or higher than it is in our geological time and whether and how it changed.

And last but not least: What is the impact of the huge quantities of CO2 that are constantly pouring out of vents and volcanoes at the seabed? We neither know their quantities nor their temporal or spatial changes. One thing is certain: They are also involved in the formation of calcium carbonate and coral reefs.

Rahmstorf’s acidification theory leads us to ask on thing: What does this kind of climate and ocean research have to do with natural sciences?

Friedrich-Karl Ewert”

German readers may also wish to read: www.eike-.pdf.


11 responses to “German Prof Friedrich-Karl Ewert Dismisses Visions Of Future Ocean Acidification…”Exaggerated Claims””

  1. John F. Hultquist

    Pierre, thanks for making this available in English.

    What geologist Ewert says is useful, not because it is new, but because a reputable scientist has said it in a public forum. I suspect from the way this is presented he has said and taught such insights before.

    Not mentioned is that fresh waters on land can have pH below 7 and still have organisms with calcium carbonate shells.

    Also, there is this: “Prof. Rahmstorf informed that our anthropogenic CO2 was causing an acidification of the ocean, which has increased 30%,”

    That number doesn’t seem right. I don’t have time to look into this right now. pH is a log scale and a lowering from 8.2 to 8.1 – or whatever numbers Rahmstorf used – need interpretation. It may be the intent to show the degree of change to pH 7 or just under (an acidic value) when starting at 8.2. I don’t know what is going on with this – I just don’t think it makes sense.

    Again – thanks.

    1. DirkH

      They have claimed the 30% repeatedly; by which they mean the number of H ions dropping; which is correct for a 0.1 change on a decadal logarithm.

      Of course they want to imply with this that we’re 1/3 to a completely acidic ocean, which is poppycock; but everything for deluding the masses is par for the cause for leftist science communication.

      I expect bioproductivity of ocean ecosystems to ramp up dramatically.

      1. John F. Hultquist

        Thanks. I assumed there was a grain of truth that was being propagandized.
        I’m trying to grow a few blueberries in a location with a pH generally above 7 while they prefer 5.5 or 6. I’ve found it quite a task to change the soil pH so much and keep it there but have 4 nice bushes this year. Why I do this is a question for a psychiatrist or a philosopher. My spouse prefers Strawberries and with watering they grow like weeds.

      2. Graeme No.3


        as pH is based on a negative logarithm, a change of 30% only occurs when the pH drops from 8.0 to 7.9 (or 9.0 to 8.9 – or 7.0 to 6.9 etc.), based on the change from log 1 to log 1.1 (remember inverse & negative).

        The actual change was measured at 0.03 units off Hawaii. This was extrapolated back to the early 1700’s to measure the drop in pH of 0.1 units and forward in time when the CO2 level in the air was assumed and the future pH calculated pro rata.

        You will see that there were no pH measurements (nor pH meters, nor acid titrations) in the early 1700’s. You will see that the high value for CO2 is assumed, as is the effect on pH. It’s all ‘computer modelling’.

        In practice solubility of CO2 declines with lower pH, as does the conversion rate to bicarbonate. IF the temperature was raised by CO2 then the solubility would drop also, as a correcting mechanism. Then there is the raised bio-activity that you mention. All in All this claim is garbage.

  2. DirkH

    Breakdown of correlation between CO2 and temperatures for 26 years now doesn’t stop Der Spiegel from writing a propaganda piece against Lignite mining in East Germany. In the piece, they bring the warmist conjecture as reason for their critique as if it were still unfalsified.

  3. Kuhnat

    “Prof. Rahmstorf informed that ‘our anthropogenic CO2 was causing an acidification of the ocean, which has increased 30%, and as a result the coral reefs are in danger.’

    This paragraph tells the professor that these things are happening to which the Prof. responds:

    “Are we really seeing the alleged acidity? No. This is because with a pH = 8.1 they are still very much alkaline. Foremost ocean researcher and climate agitator Rahmstorf apparently does not know about the chemistry of the ocean, let alone the coral reefs. Yet he sees himself qualified to judge this.”

  4. Kuhnat

    Ahh, just forget my comment. I am confused.

  5. bruce

    The change in ocean pH from 8.2 to 8.1 is not a measured quantity, it was calculated. The calculation was shown was shown to be incorrect.

    For the original “calculation” see: Caldeira, K., Wickett, M.E. (2003), Anthropogenic carbon and ocean pH, NATURE, Vol 425, p 365 (PDF)

    For the “disection” of the original “calculation” see: Marsh, G.E., (2005) — SEAWATER pH AND ANTHROPOGENIC CARBON DIOXIDE (PDF) First chapter in Climate Change, Ed: Siddhartha P. Saikia (International Book Distributors 2010).

  6. yonason


    The pH of ocean water is dependent on:
    world location
    time of year
    and other factors like temperature and salinity.

    How anyone can honestly say that ocean pH has changed at all when it routinely ranges from 7.1 to 8.1, depending on the above considerations, stretches credulity. Also, ocean pH is notoriously difficult to measure – see first sentence of introduction here.

    We see from this link that a large cyclical variation in pH can occur (in this case from 7.75 to 8.15), and that over the time measured (1996 to 2009) there was no trend whatever.

    Aside – the giant clam and other shelled critters live in close proximity to undersea vents, where pH actually is acidic, and for some strange reason their shells refuse to dissolve.

  7. Mervyn

    Terms like ocean acidification are carefully selected terms used by climate change charlatans to try and deceive the masses that CO2 is causing a massive problem for the oceans. The acid being spewed from numerous volcanoes deep under the ocean-surface should pose a greater concern to the pH of the oceans than CO2. Yet the pH of the sea remains pretty stable.

    But then this is just one example of abuse of language relating to the global warming debate. Another is the use of the term ‘carbon pollution’ by people who just do not seem to want to acknowledge that carbon is in fact the building block of life, and CO2 is the basis of the planetary food chain. Without CO2, there would be no life on Earth.

    But of course, the most meaningless term out of all the numerous misleading terms used by global warming alarmists is the term “climate change”. Scientists over decades have revealed in their research data how the climate has changed over the ages, and that that is what climate does… it changes, and the evidence clearly indicates it changes due to natural variability involving the sun, the oceans, the clouds, and other factors, but with no evidence that it has change in the past due to changes in atmospheric CO2 levels.

    The problem with “climate change” is the IPCC itself, which was set up to be the ultimate authority on the matter, with no room for anyone to challenge it with credible evidence or to hold it to account for its many errors, shortcomings, biased findings, and intolerance of the scientific method. Scepticism is fundamental to the scientific method.

    Even the governing council of the Royal Society must be criticised. It has disgraced itself by seemingly acting contrary to the Society’s once famous motto “Nullius in verba” by supporting a political agenda from which it now finds itself unable to abandon.

  8. Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup | Watts Up With That?

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