An additional small amount of CO2 in a body of water which is already
rather conductive in saltwater is required in order to make it even
more relatively conductive, and, hence, self organizing from the
standpoint of enhancing the capacitive coupling between ionosphere
and ocean that occurs with a tropical storm. As a simple example. The
concentration of chlorine in sea water is 18.98 parts per thousand,
Sodium is 10.56 and inorganic C is .028. This is all by weight.
Therefore, the pre surface low conditions the concentration of
carbonic acid in the ocean is .1% that of the salt on the ocean.
But don't assume that the measure of the location of the ion is
uniform where the conductivity matters. It takes roiling winds to
cause gas exchange that has any meaning in terms of conductivity.
When there is gas exchange, there is a concentration on the SURFACE
of the ocean of ions moving from gas to carbonic acid and back--
because gas is lighter than liquid and it tends to rise and
concentrate on the surface of the ocean. This surface skin becomes
the path of least resistance that is used in a large scale way by a
living earth--which then patterns with, correlates with storms.
Now the beer experiment is somewhat different than the ocean, of
course. You can experiment with a soda, a Coke or Pepsi.
A soda has a huge amount of ions in it. Since the salt water doesn't
change its ion concentration character with roiling, it's essentially
constant and there are experiments you can do with saltwater. What
experiments I have done with salt water have to do with temperature.
That's why El Nino is interesting--warm saltwater on the surface.
(Plus an induction issue relative to sustained SOI winds).
What makes the ocean more like a beer or soda is the roiling of a
surface low. Roiling takes the surface chemistry out of equilibrium
with the atmosphere and the bulk of the ocean. Part of the issue is
the surface low associated with a storm THEN the concentration of the
gas on the surface 'skin' from the surface tension of the bubbles
forming there. And gas at the surface, eventually joins the
atmosphere to come to equillibrium again, but not before the
electrical patterns occur--it doesn't take long to pass these
currents. A hurricane seems to move at about a 10 mph range--to keep
it in fresh 'gas', and so one of the dangers of higher CO2 from human
activity will be the ability of a storm to remain strong if it
stalls . . .
The pH of ocean water and the two equilibrium constants for H2CO3
HCO3- and HCO3- CO2 impact the amount of carbonic acid in the oceans
that impacts its local relative conductivity . The concentration of
CO2 in the atmosphere is slowly increasing from human activity, and
that impacts what the oceans. This is part of an over all biological
concern of the acidification of the oceans.
But we aren't talking about equilibrium during a hurricane. When you
open your 'fresh' beer it is under PRESSURE. When a surface low
passes over the ocean, that ocean WAS relatively under higher
pressure beforehand. Then you had roiling, which in itself adds
pressure dynamics. Gas produced from these changes in pressures rise
to the surface and concentrate, then convert back to carbonic acid--
as concentrated on the surface as that gas rises from below.
Atmospheric pressure is reduced in the eye of a hurricane on the
surface of the ocean. That's what causes the 20 foot storm surges
associated with them. A high pressure area can be 1010 mbs of
pressure and a hurricane has had as low a bp as 888 mb. And since the
amount of of carbonic acid which can stay in solution is proportional
to the partial pressure of the CO2, a similar fraction of the CO2 can
come out of solution in addition to what was already there. A
substantial amount of CO2 then rises to the surface, and then starts
to equilibrate with the atmosphere. And since there will be waves,
etc mixing it around, any surface bubbles eventually break, but these
bubbles are also contained by surface tension and the CO2 as
concentrated on the surface begins to dissolve back to carbonic acid--
which is where the increased ionization on the surface stems from.
Below is a really neat link by the hurricane hunters. I like this
photo in the link next to this quote:
"The sea surface rolls and churns, whipped up by winds near 60 mph in
Daniel. Some of the foam patches and streaks take on a greenish cast,
as air bubbles become trapped under the surface of the water. The
meteorologists on board the WC-130 made careful estimates of the
surface winds based on the appearance of the sea, just one of many
pieces of data sent to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center."
Another interesting link:
Note that the researchers are finding the correlation--but not the
mechanism of organization of a storm. The air has CO2 at 300 parts
per million. That means the air bubbles trapped from surface are
going to have very small ratios of CO2. But CO2 from the water, from
carbonic acid, that's a different problem in terms of concentrations
and rising CO2 as it converts to CO2 from the surface
depressurization and roiling. So you can't just say because there are
air bubbles the concentration of the gasses that increase the ion
count are there on the surface. This will be a particularly important
distinction, say, from a high pressure sustained wind causing large
waves . . . But it IS reasonable to say that with roiling and
depressurization that bubbles that contain CO2 will rise to the
surface. This is proved every time you shake a beer and open it.
Contribution of hurricanes to local and global estimates of air-sea
exchange of CO2
Bates N.R. and A.H. Knap and Michaels A.F. (1998)
Nature Vol. 395, no. 6697, pp.58-61
ABSTRACT: The effect of hurricanes on the thermal and physical
structure of the upper ocean has been described but their influence
on the ocean carbon cycle and the exchange of carbon between ocean
and atmosphere is not well understood. Here we present observations
from the Sargasso Sea, before and after hurricane Felix in summer
1995, that show a short-lived (2-3 weeks) surface seawater cooling of
about 4 degree C, and a decrease in seawater partial pressure of CO 2
by about 60 mu atm. Despite the localized decrease in seawater
partial pressure of CO 2, strong winds during the passage of
hurricane Felix increased the efflux of CO 2 from ocean to
atmosphere. We estimate that hurricane Felix and two other hurricanes
increased the summertime efflux of CO 2 into the atmosphere over this
part of the Sargasso Sea by nearly 55%. We estimate that hurricanes
contribute to the global ocean-to-atmosphere flux of CO 2 by between
+0.04 to +0.51 Pg C (10 15 g C) per year. Such hurricane-forced
effluxes are quantitatively significant compared to regional (14
degree to 50 degree N zone) and global effluxes. Hurricanes therefore
exert an important influence on ocean-atmosphere CO 2 exchange and
the inferred year-to-year variability of CO 2 fluxes over the
Carbonic acids come out of solution and form CO2 bubbles--which then
rise to the surface, from the roiling and depressurization of a
storm. On the surface, that's where those bubbles are dissolved back
into carbonic acid. And on the surface that's where the 'skin'
becomes conductive because the ion count increases. N2 or O2 won't
have the same impact on the ion count because they are bi polar
molecules and not subject to the van der Walls forces like CO2 would
be. So for practical purposes, the N2 or O2 content in the oceans
from roiling is not electrically significant from a roiling event.
But the CO2 is. After the gas has moved to the surface, it is no
longer in equillibrium with the air as concentrated, and this is how
gas exchange causes, as noted by the Bates paper, a movement of CO2
out of the oceans with a tropical storm.
The increase of CO2 ION concentration occurs simply because in
roiling the carbonic acid turns to gas and moves as less buoyant
moves from the bottom of a water column to the top, where it converts
back to carbonic acid, where there then is an appreciable increase in
conductivity which impacts and feeds back organization to the storm
per the CHINA paper. O2 and N2 moving from such roiling are less
likely to form bubbles that rise against turbulent flow and even if
they did they would rise only to NOT convert into ions. And IONS are
what make for increases in conductivity.