Study: Most research on ocean acidification impacts are flawed

For some time scientists have warned that rising carbon dioxide levels are making our seas more acidic which can be detrimental to sea life. However, a detailed review of hundreds of scientific manuscripts about the effects climate change has on Earth’s oceans maybe flawed and inaccurate.

According to the UK Daily Mail, two Australian researchers reviewed the research of hundreds of studies and discovered out of 400 manuscripts examined only 27 were conducted correctly. Christopher Cornwall, who studies ocean acidification at the University of Western Australia, and ecologist Catriona Hurd of the University of Tasmania, published their research in the ICES Journal of Marine Science stating:

This analysis identified that most laboratory manipulation experiments in ocean acidification research used either an inappropriate experimental design and/or data analysis, or did not report these details effectively.

Mistakes in the manuscripts comprised of increased acidity with rising temperatures, failing to review other effects such as increased chemicals known as carbonates along with failure to excise the possibility of reviewer favoritism. While in their Nature study, however, the two researchers state the overwhelming evidence on ocean acidification research is sound, Doctors Cornwall and Hurd state it is difficult to examine the effects of sea life from the majority of the experiments that were conducted.

Ocean acidification is supposedly caused when an overabundance of atmospheric carbon dioxide is absorbed by the sea. This, in turn, reduces the sea’s pH levels making it more acidic. Back in December of last year, Watts Up With That? reported new evidence discovered by a curious graduate student stating that ocean acidification may be a scientific hoax on par with the man-made-global warming hysteria.

The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) maintains datasets used to measure global warming and also reviews and analyzes changes in Earth’s oceans and atmosphere. The Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) is a section of the NOAA and the group’s research is said to be the backbone of the alarmist narrative about ocean acidification. In 2004, a manuscript by two PMEL researchers Dr Richard Feely and Dr Christopher Sabine was published and is said to be regularly cited in support of ocean acidification. Dr. Feely gave testimony to Congress in 2010 based largely on the findings in his research paper in which he made the case that carbon dioxide is acidifying oceans.

UK Telegraph‘s James Delingpole revealed that a hydrologist with almost 30 years experience participating in a doctorate program at the University of New Mexico named Mike Wallace studied a chart produced by Feely and Sabine, that showed strong parallels with rising atmospheric CO2 levels and falling oceanic pH levels. He noticed that some key information had been omitted and the chart he had been studying began in 1988 despite oceanic pH assessments dating at least 100 years prior. Wallace inquired with the two scientists about his findings but found they were not helpful. He was eventually able to obtain the records Feely and Sabine omitted from their study and, not surprisingly, when Wallace plotted his own charts discovered that the ocean acidification the two researchers claimed didn’t exist. There were no reductions of pH levels during the last century.

For two Australian scientists to fact check scientific work and find such a huge mistake ratio in scientific manuscripts and a hydrologist to fact check two researchers with the US government is a huge issue. The former is most likely based on sloppy research, the latter is most likely outright fraud on par with Dr. Michael Mann’s discredited hockey stick chart. Despite the two Australian scientists investigation and Mike Wallace’s bravery in refuting Feely and Sabine’s work it may not stop them or other scientists from continuing to try to link CO2 with ocean acidification resulting from human activity. Consequently, environmentalists can use studies culminated by their scientific allies to lobby for rules curbing fossil fuel emissions or any other human activities.