MW&A

Hydroclimatology and Solar Explorations

Art, Climate & Weather Representations, Current Events, Ocean pH and acidification

You will need permission to use pH meters from this point forward.

This is only a blog.  The featured image is taken from an original post, which profiles the ocean pH measurements of the 1950s.  Those are among millions of readings that have been banned from further use by official ocean scientists.  In violation of their prohibition, I have persisted to dig further into these glass electrode pH meter (gephs) readings, covering most of the 20th century and more.   I sometimes focused on the most beautiful and resonant thermoclinic populations including the featured image.

I also worked to continue to learn about ocean chemistry and to compare with my own training and experience as a quantitative hydrogeologist.  Accordingly I can easily lay anyone’s fears to rest:  Through decades of slim but reproducible isotopic tracing studies of the Earth’s hydrosphere, little doubt remains that:

Ocean chemistry is seamlessly integrated with every other conceivable component of hydrology.

I may be on many of the same pages with others including Professor Zachary Sharp of UNM, from whom I received an A in isotope geochemistry!  I recommend the class for any who want to understand how some atmospheric residence times are inferred.  I can point to that last post among others, which  integrates what I learned there with both my research paper of the time [1] and with my forbidden studies of the geph readings, including this historically-important and most beautiful expression of a persistent thermocline in the North Atlantic.

I did once share my pH meter ban concern to Dr. Sharp in an open classroom experience.  I passed on my understanding, directly from PMEL and Carnegie scientists such as Ken Caldeira [2], that only spectrophotometers were permitted for any use involving natural water chemistry.  I have followed through in various degrees on my own but I still can’t seem to square the pH meter ban with Zach or Ken, other NOAA scientists, ocean science celebrity Howard Browman, or any other subject matter experts.

Accordingly there appears to be an actual but poorly disclosed worldwide prohibition on the use of simple glass electrode pH meters for any use that relates to the chemistry of natural waters.  Since we are dependent upon natural waters for our own health and our very lives, this would seem to impact many related areas and industries, from medical applications to water treatments across the board.  For example, and I realize this sounds outrageous (and that’s why I remind all that this is only a blog), but any water treatment facilities which are not using spectrophotometers for measuring pH, may be violating the prohibition.

By disclosing my forbidden geph studies to professors, I may have cooked my own Ph.D. goose at UNM.  But I was still able to depart with an MS in nanosciences and microsystems engineering.  And I learned a great deal from every academic I interacted with, both student and instructor.  I have never met a person there whom I don’t continue to like.  On the other hand, none of the faculty can yet attend to any of the concerns featured at this site.  I still recommend the school to any who are geared towards a stubborn pursuit of raw science.  You may be able to filter out the irreproducible parts on your own.  There may be a benefit for a time if you keep your filtering to yourself but on the other hand, irreproducibility challenges have minds of their own.

Dr. Sharp appears with NM meteorologist Mark Ronchetti in this UNM 2019 presentation which takes one quickly to this graduate student feature.  I am interested in continuing to explore my pH meter concerns with any of them through this site.  They might also find new audiences here of interest.  The stats for this site suggest a respectable New Mexico component to the current readership of about 100,000 downloads per month.  I always welcome opportunities to provide fresh topical content, and that is also why there are sometimes guest authors here from around the world as well.  I think I can add value in additional posted discussions with public and private figures in the climate change fields, if only because of my final graduate level class in science communication at UNM last year, for which I received an A-.  😀

With regard to the apparent ocean acidification inspired glass electrode pH measurement ban, maybe it’s a good sign that ocean scientists are beginning to challenge their own bad selves again.  Consider this weird fish study.  For what it may be worth, we all have a ways to go.  Within this site, I attempt to explore the currently narrow field of solar forcing of hydroclimatology.  In that work, any researcher must demonstrate a consistent respect for data, along with the crucial aspects of its proper deployment with respect to precision, accuracy and uncertainty.

This is only a blog, but it is nonetheless true.  As far as I can decipher from reaching out to a sampling of the scientific authorities directly, no one should be using gephs for any natural waters purpose.  This appears to cover medical applications along with water treatment monitoring.  The message seems clear:  All engineers, medical professionals, and others, please deploy more public funds to purchase replacement spectrophotometers for your existing complement of glass electrode pH meters.

Be prepared for sticker shock.  I wish I could help in some way, but I think it will be on you as well to defend this unusual approach to monitoring pH.  That’s because as some may have reported, the accuracy of spectrophotometric measurements can be influenced by pH, which, impossibly, is what they are intended here to measure.

This seems odd so I can rephrase with a good metaphor.  Imagine that some authority had notified you that your usual thermometers are now banned.  Rather you are directed to purchase new devices, called spectro-pthermometers.   They happen to be highly inaccurate, costly, and expensive to maintain, as well as somewhat more bulky than an average thermometer.  But that is the directive from a consensus of trusted scientists, so you must abide by these new terms.   Nonetheless you are expected to produce accurate measurements are you not?  So you likely will need to break their prohibition, and measure any temperature with your prohibited device every time that you apply your costly new government and investment-fund mandated spectro-pthermometers.

Meanwhile, don’t forget to store your old gephs in a safe place.  An auditor from Wendy Schmidt’s Ocean Health XPRIZE organization or from BlackRock may want to verify how long you’ve been in compliance.

Discussion:

Even alleged skeptic Dr. Judith Curry would appear to support BlackRock and Wendy on this pH meter concern, so far as I was able to decipher from some professional communications a few years ago.   If I recall, no glass electrode pH meter evidence would sway her.  Moving beyond the celebrity scientist, I’ve encountered additional ocean scientists, who likely only want to do their jobs, but who appear reluctant to discuss or elaborate upon the spectroscopic pH dilemma I have highlighted.

This post argues that even mainstream skeptics along with obvious climate change promoters,  appear to be largely on the same page.  This is the page which attempts to compel the rest of us to disregard important and most real data.  In any case I recommend that you don’t dispose of your gephs until we all, skeptics and greenhouse gas believers, can get on the same page with regard to any remaining use of the gephs, along with all past uses, including the thermoclinically-resonant ocean pH data of the 20th century.

References

[1] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02626667.2019.1567925?scroll=top&needAccess=true&journalCode=thsj20

[2] 2018-2019 Professional communication with kcaldeira@carnegiescience.edu

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