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Cooling the Oceans

The oceans are warming much faster than previously thought. 60% faster it turns out. What happens is that solar rays penetrate the top layer and all the heat gets absorbed by the water. Depending on the mixing this heat ends up at greater depths and this causes the oceans to outgas, because gasses dissolve better in cooler water.

The risk of hot oceans is not that they cause storms and fish have a hard time because it doesn’t absorb oxygen well anymore, the true dangers is toxicity due to anaerobic sulfur based bacteria taking over. We know them from swamps, where the typical smell of rotten eggs can be sensed. Humans are very sensitive to this smell because the gas can be deadly. It is toxic, corrosive H2S. As the oceans turn anoxic they will start to produce massive amounts of H2S and this gas kills everything that needs oxygen, including humans, plants, animals, molds..

You’d say this is a wierd and exaggerated vision of the future, but it happend before during the biggest dieoff of life on Earth, the extinction that ended the Permean. This is one of the climate warming excinctions, the majority of them was caused by warming of the climate for various reasons. Nearly everything died. To get though the current Shell and Exxon driven global calamity we need to 1. keep the oceans oxidized, and preferably 2. keep them cool.

Oceans are going anoxic at an alarming speed. It’s a pitty because fishing grounds are shrinking and something can be done about it if we wanted to. Just add oxygen.

We already wrote about ways to cool the oceans, and to increase the abundance of life and carbon capturing capacity. Research found out this can be done with wave powered pumps that pump up cool and nutritious deep ocean water to the surface where it drives algae growth (so CO2 capture) and cools it. It was dismissed because one could stop doing it and then the oceans would be warmer on a deeper level. We see no reason why these measures would stop, because renewables will make everything cheaper and robotics will allow for automated deployment of these installations. (more here)

When oceans get hot and the gas from the deep has all left the water they quiet down and become stratified. That means the hot water stays on top and the cold water stays at the bottom. This means nutrients are separated from the solar energy and life can’t return. This can last for millions of years. When it is hot all over there is less wind so even the coastal areas become less of a source of mixing and opportunity for life. This is what we need to avoid.

We think it is possible to both fertilize the ocean, do it automatically and have an automated system to expand and maintain the installations (and perhaps produce it). Als we think apart from this it will be necessary to reduce the heat absorption of the oceans. This can be achieved by covering large parts of it with some white material, or have wave activated cloud generation installations to reflect more sunlight. It is one of the biggest challenges in dealing with the problems caused by oil companies.

 

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