The air we breathe
Most of the earth’s oxygen doesn’t come from forests or jungles but from ocean plankton. A recent survey found an alarming drop in Atlantic plankton levels likely due to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide and resulting ocean acidification.
“Plankton is a blanket term for the billions of tiny sea organisms living close to the surface of the oceans, which are eaten by krill, small crustaceans, which are in turn eaten by fish and whales. No plankton, little or no marine life.
“And while trees hog all the credit, plankton generate 70% of our oxygen.
“Howarth reports that the GOES team just sampled the ocean water surface along the French and Portuguese coasts before heading across the Atlantic to Colombia. They and volunteers gathered 500 data points.
“They expected to find five patches of plankton in every ~2.5 gallons (10 liters) of ocean water.
“They found an average of one.
“So in 1982 there would have been 10 patches of plankton in every 2.5 gallons of surface ocean water, and now there is one. That isn’t a 50% reduction.
“If Dryden and his team’s survey is borne out by the scientific community, that is a 90% reduction.”
“Climate: Scientists Stunned to Find Atlantic Plankton 90% Gone; Marine Life, our Oxygen Imperiled,” Informed Comment, (juancole.com)
So are you saying we need more tax cuts for the rich?
Tax cuts for the rich can never fail, they can only be failed.
The thing about tipping points and catastrophic collapses is that things seem OK until they aren’t. If we really have lost 90% of our plankton, the ocean food chain must be close to collapse, over and above the loss of oxygen production.
It appears they were sampling coastal waters, not pelagic waters. And only in the Atlantic, not the other oceans. So the 90% figure may not be representative. The point is that the decline is worse than expected at this point in the global warming trajectory. In addition to increased droughts and coastal flooding, loss of coastal fisheries will also contribute to eventual resource wars, which is the real near-term threat to humanity.
There is a distinction between phytoplakton that use photosynthesis to make O2 and other plankton, some of which live in the deep, that are also in the bottom of the food chain as krill food, but not major O2 factories.
What are plankton, anyway?
Plankton are a group of marine and freshwater organisms that drift along ocean currents because they are too small or weak to swim against them. Their name comes from the Greek word planktos which means “wandering.” The range in size from 2 micrometers (that’s smaller than a human red blood cell!) to more than 20 centimeters. There are two types of plankton: phytoplankton, which are tiny plants, and zooplankton, which are tiny animals…
What is plankton’s role in the ecosystem?
Plankton are at the base of the food chain, meaning they are critical in supporting marine and freshwater food webs. Phytoplankton are also primary produces, meaning they use photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide to oxygen, and are responsible for up to half of the oxygen we breathe. Phytoplankton is eaten by small zooplankton, which are in turn eaten by other zooplankton. Those plankton are eaten by small fish and crustaceans, which in turn are eaten by larger predators, and so on. Large animals can eat plankton directly, too—blue whales can eat up to 4.5 tons of krill, a large zooplankton, every day. Without plankton, entire food webs around the world would likely collapse.
Unfortunately, plankton abundance has been decreasing. Scientists believe phytoplankton numbers have decreased about 40% since 1950. Changes in ocean temperature and ocean acidification threaten plankton health, which in turn has major implications for marine food webs and oxygen production…”
Yes. That was covered, albeit more succinctly, in the link I provided. The surprise was that the loss of plankton appears to be far greater than previously (e.g., your link) believed. However, it isn’t clear whether this loss is primarily coastal (where most of the commercial fisheries are) or also in the pelagic regions that account for most of the ocean water volume.
I can’t imagine why this isn’t on the front page of the Times.
but probably turtles run is right. if the rich had all the money, then the poor would have none. so they would not be able to buy food. so then they would not have to drive to work, and that would surely reduce carbon dioxide pollution. so eventually the oceans would repair themselves and earth would be saved.
unless the rich spent all thier money drilling for oil because that is what the rich do. they could use barrels of oil as poker chips to keep track of who is winning and, you know, save it for a rainy day.
hard to tell what the effect on inflation would be.