Speculations Beyond the Pale of Reality
Watson, S.-A., Southgate, P.C., Tyler, P.A. and Peck, L.S. 2009. Early larval development of the Sydney rock oyster Saccostrea glomerata under near-future predictions of CO2-driven ocean acidification. Journal of Shellfish Research 28: 431-437.
Consider the findings of Tans himself, who Watson et al. approvingly cite in regard to the CO2 history they mention. In a paper published in Oceanography, Tans (2009) concluded that the future trajectory of oceanic pH will likely be significantly different from that suggested by the scientists cited by Watson et al., while at the same time bravely criticizing the IPCC reports that have also accepted the highly inflated acidification predictions of those scientists. Indeed, whereas Watson et al. and the IPCC accept the claims of those who project a decline in pH somewhere in the range of 0.3 to 0.5 between now and the end of the century, Tans' projections yield a pH decline somewhere in the range of 0.09 to 0.17, which is much smaller, and which would be expected to have significantly reduced biological impacts compared to those suggested by the experimental work of Watson et al. for that future point in time.
Based on the results of their experiments and the maximum decline in ocean-water pH that they accept, for example, Watson et al. predict a significant decline of 72% in Sydney rock oyster (Saccostrea glomerata) larval survival by the year 2100. However, utilizing Watson et al.'s data, but with the maximum ocean-water pH decline calculated by Tans, one obtains a non-significant larval survival decline of only 14%, based on interpolation of the graphical results portrayed in Watson et al.'s paper. In like manner, similar assessments of changes in antero-posterior measurement yield a significant decline of 8.7% using Watson et al.'s assumptions about ocean pH, but a non-significant decline of only 1.8% according to Tans' pH calculations. Corresponding results for dorso-ventral measurement were a significant decline of 7.5% with Watson et al.'s pH values, but a non-significant decline of only 1.5% with Tans' values; while for larval dry mass there was a decline of 50% in Watson et al.'s analysis, but an actual increase (albeit non-significant) of 6% using Tans' pH analysis. Last of all, for empty shells remaining there was a significant decline of 90% in the Watson et al. study, but a non-significant decline of only 6% when Tans' pH projections were used.
In summation, based on their experimental data and the ocean pH projections for the end of the century that are promoted by them and the IPCC, Watson et al. find what they characterize as "a dramatic negative effect on the survival, growth, and shell formation of the early larval stages of the Sydney rock oyster." On the other hand, employing the pH values projected by Tans, there are no statistically significant reductions in any of the five biological parameters measured and evaluated by Watson et al., which is an amazingly benign response to an environmental threat that is being suggested by some to be more serious or extreme than it was at any other time that it may have reared its ugly head over the past 300 million years!
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