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Monday, August 7, 2006

The Climate-Change “Debate”

Posted by on August 7 at 12:01 PM

“There is no other cause, as far as we can determine” for a growing 1,235-square mile “dead zone” off the Oregon Coast, with oxygen levels so low that fish and crabs suffocate. The dead zone, which is unrelated to recurring oceanic current changes such as El Nino and La Nina, has quadrupled in size since 2002.

Meanwhile, July set an all-time record for US electricity use, breaking the previous record, set last July.

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Dead zones are fun stuff. Most of them aren't caused by climate or wind, but by runoff from agriculture or homes. We have one, pretty near, called "Hood Canal", which used to be full of life forms but now largely isn't. Homeowners are believed to be the cause of that one. The one off the Mississippi Delta is bigger than New Jersey, and you contribute to it every time you put a mouthful of food in your mouth, or put ethanol in your car, or use plastic. It's all from fertilizer for corn, all of it, corn, corn, corn.

And how exactly did the marine biologist you're quoting become a climatology expert?

my guess is the marine biologist studied climatology - that's like asking why an M.D. would be well versed in ethics or statistics.

by the by, the fake Kimberly thing is so last century.

What an odd bit of speculation to include in a news story. You can't blame the scientist for speculating, and she makes it clear that she's doing just that. On the other hand a science reporter should know better than to treat that as news.
I can think of quite a few likely explanations for the hypoxic zone, one's that can't be dismissed based on existing data (which is poor for the Oregon coast): increased fertilizer loads, increased use of high-nitrogen fixing soy cultivars, decreased coastal wetland buffering, increased nitrogen oxide emisions, increased animal waste runoff, increased throughput around dams along the Columbia, and on and on.
For an interesting lay-oriented read that deals with hypoxic zones, give Ocean's End a read. It contains a pretty account of the Louisiana shelf and black-sea hypoxic zones.

Except that the scientist did say it's not fertilizer runoff or any of that other stuff. It's upwelling. Low-oxygen water from the deep coming up. They know what it IS, they just don't know why it's upwelling.


This dead zone is unlike those in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere, which result from fertilizer, sewage or runoff from hog or poultry operations carried by rivers. The Oregon zone appears when the wind generates strong currents carrying nutrient-rich but oxygen-poor water from the deep sea to the surface near shore, a process called upwelling.

The nutrients encourage the growth of plankton, which eventually dies and falls to the ocean floor. Bacteria there consume the plankton, using up oxygen.

Jane Lubchenco, a marine biologist at Oregon State University, said the phenomenon did not appear to be linked to recurring El Niño or La Niña currents or to long-term cycles of ocean movements.

actually, Kimberly - even tho you're a fake troll - you raise a good point. I was thinking of the second part of the post, which was about the increased electricity use, especially given all the data centers being built here in the Pacific NW due to the low cost of electricity here - and how by building them here, we're forcing us to build even more power plants, when we should really build the data centers in downtown LA or NYC, so that they can deal with the negative aspects instead of us.

still, all said and done, if you still don't get that global warming isn't going to be fun and is happening due to humans (mostly), you probably believe Iraq had WMD and should be taken to the dead zone and have lead weights soldered to your ankles - and then tossed overboard.

Except we're not building more power plants. When was the last large-scale electrical plant built in the US? Decades ago.

The power increase comes from a lot more than just computers. Air conditioning is the biggest culprit by far.

Kimberly - Thanks for driving the Prius! More fuel for me.

If only everyone drove a Prius I would never have to worry again about fueling up my super-charged Hummer H1.

Thanks to all to you guys and gals keeping my supply viable.

That was funnier when I first heard it in 1994.

Actually, if you really want to do something about global warming, the single best thing you can do is not breed. Especially if you're a fake troll on a free newspaper's blog.

*rolling eyes*

Telling a blog troll not to breed seems a little redundant, doesn't it?

well, at least the fake troll is only using electrons. remember, friends only use approved Trolls, like the Fremont Troll or the upcoming Space in Fremont Troll Galaxy of Trollness With Troll Lights and Troll Benches.

sorry, getting too warm in here.

Tennis stars photos here: <a href=>Tennis Stars</a>

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