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CO2 Problems

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Published on May 9, 2011

A short chemistry show demonstrating the environmental chemistry of carbon dioxide (CO2).

Carbon dioxide has opaque bands in the infrared region. This means that, when atmospheric CO2 levels rise ( http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/tre... ), the thermal properties of the atmosphere change, causing rising temperatures at the surface. This phenomenon (global warming) and its broader climatic results (climate change) have held the public's eye, though a slick PR campaign has spread unjustified doubt as to its reality.

A less well-known fact is that CO2 is acidic when dissolved in water. ( http://topologicoceans.wordpress.com/... ) Fairly simple chemistry tells us that increases in atmospheric CO2 will lead to increases in dissolved CO2, making the solution more acidic. This process is called acidification.

This phenomenon has been observed and recorded (eg, http://www.pnas.org/content/106/30/12235 ); it is a concern especially for calcifying organisms like corals.

Charlie Soeder uses a pH indicator dye to illustrate ocean acidification, 'The Other CO2 Problem', as it has been called. There is also a fun moment with food coloring and dishwashing detergent!

The paper cited at the end (Veron et al) is available here: https://static.zsl.org/files/1c-the-c...

More information on the environmental science and the politics of ocean acidification can be found:

Assorted resources and analysis of bad geochemistry http://topologicoceans.wordpress.com/...
"The Political Economy of AntiScience" http://arkfab.org/?p=276
Euopean Project on Ocean Acidification: http://epoca-project.eu/
NOAA on Ocean Acidification: http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/Oc...
EPOCA's 'Information Outlet' http://oceanacidification.wordpress.com/

Some of the opposition - we find a lot of it to be quite questionable:
SeaFriends: http://www.seafriends.org.nz/issues/g...
The Heartland Institute: http://www.heartland.org/custom/semod...
ClimateChangeFacts: http://www.climatechangefacts.info/#O...

Big House Records can currently be found here:
http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/TheB...

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