Think of this part of the Mediterranean as a cake made of liquid, essentially. Fierce sunlight heats the top layer of water that sits on cooler, deeper layers below. Out in the open ocean, where water temperatures are lower, CO2 dissolves in saltwater—which is what allows Earth’s seas to collectively absorb a quarter of the carbon emissions that humans pump into the atmosphere. But as the eastern Mediterranean Sea heats up in the summer, it can no longer absorb that gas and instead starts releasing it.
In the Eastern Mediterranean, this dynamic is rather more consequential for the climate than a sticky car interior, as the sea begins burping up great quantities of CO2 that the water can no longer hold. And Bialik and his colleagues have discovered that these warming, stratifying waters teem with a second carbon problem: The team recently caught aragonite crystals in sediment traps. Aragonite is a form of calcium carbonate, which oceanic creatures like snails use to build their shells. Except in the increasingly hot Eastern Mediterranean, the aragonite is forming abiotically. That’s another sign that the water is getting so warm that it’s releasing its carbon load.
As the sea warms up and loses its CO2, both from the water belching it up and from the proliferating crystals, its acidity actually goes down. This is the opposite process from the one that’s causing widespread ocean acidification: As humans spew more CO2 into the atmosphere, the oceans absorb more of it, and the ensuing chemical reaction raises acidity. Acidification makes it harder for organisms like corals and snails (which are known collectively as calcifiers), to build shells or exoskeletons out of calcium carbonate. But as the Mediterranean warms and releases its absorbed carbon back into the atmosphere, it gets more basic, reversing that acidification.
And there’s the bollocks.
Aragonite is CaCO3. Yep, chalk. Which, umm, sinks top the bottom, becomes seabed and in the fullness of time rock. And, umm, all those vast beds of chalk which make up the White Cliffs and all that were created in warm and shallow waters and……you get the picture.
This is part of the process that locks away – some portion – of atmospheric CO2 into rock where we really don’t give a shit about it. The more of this that happens the more interested we are in fact. It’s one of those feedback processes which reduces the problem we face. If more of this happened then things would get better.
And yet the fuckers present this as yet another reason why the world’s going to pot.
They describe a process of carbon sequestration and say that’s a problem? They idiots or malevolent?