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Molly Sells Mussels No More

Posted on 8 Aug 2015

I’ve been singing songs about the effects of Carbon Dioxide on the atmosphere for 8 years at least at this stage. This song is about the other effect Carbon Dioxide has on the oceans. It makes the water more acidic which unfortunately┬áhas some bad implications for seashells and other animals in the oceans and most probably will begin affecting us as a consequence. Thanks to @lemonseatron who via twitter asked for a song about ocean acidification and the result is below.

Some random thoughts about all this.

Shells are made of Calcium Carbonate CaCO3, which can be easily eroded/liquified by various acids. Limestone and chalk are also largely made of CaCO3. In Ireland we see how the Burren’s Karst surface has been carved by rainwater. A lot of this happens because of what they call a weak carbonic acid, which pretty much means CO2 has gone into the rainwater and turned it into an acid strong enough to dissolve limestone.

Geologists use a weak Hydrocloric acid HCl to test if something is Calcareous i.e.has calcium carbonate in it or not. This would be stronger than what is happening in the ocean I think, but when you see how it fizzes on limestone it helps you understand how the process works.

Washington has been hit by this hard with their oysters especially so it looks like they’ve set up a group to tackle it. The Washington Ocean Acidification Center. Colder waters seem to be more susceptible to the problem for some reason. Perhaps cause more CO2 can go into solution in colder water than warmer water. So I’d say we should be keeping an eye on Arctic waters for the first signs of changes.

It looks like the problem is seen Here’s quite a cool intro to the chemistry of it all.

Molly Malone.

I’m not sure how she the fishmonger, crept into the song but I guess she represents a historic link we in Ireland have had with the sea and whether or not that will be able to continue.