Life is resilient but abrupt changes in ecosystems typically produce escalating species extinctions.
Abrupt changes in ecosystems are described as tipping points. The idea of a tipping point has been studied quite extensively by environmental scientists, among others. For example, this study on "tipping elements" explores factors whose impact is sufficient (especially in combination) to cause tipping points. The study focuses on rapid climate change as a critical tipping point:
Duarte, C. (2012) Tipping Elements in the Arctic Marine Ecosystem. AMBIO, 41, 44-55.
The existence of ecological discontinuities and threshold effects driven by human perturbations of ecological systems has been recognized as a key feature of ecosystem dynamics…
Many ecosystems can undergo sudden jumps in response to changes in external pressures in the proximity of these thresholds or tipping points…
Accordingly, ecological tipping points can be defined as thresholds of environmental forcing beyond which key components of ecosystems exhibit abrupt changes and critical transitions.... [end excerpt]...
Ecosystems tipping points may also derive from cascading effects in food webs involving changes in a keystone predator... As environmental pressure exceeds the thresholds or tipping point, the ecosystems rearranges and shifts to the alternativeThis study by Duarte et al. does not address the role of other ocean tipping elements, especially human-engineered pollution. The ocean has been a toxic waste dumping grounds for many peoples for too many years (for example, see Jacob Hamblin's Poison in the Well).
regime, leading to an abrupt change in ecosystem status. pp. 44-46
It is my belief that we have already reached a tipping point for complex life forms in the Pacific Ocean. Fukushima is a major tipping element, but the system was experiencing cascading events from chemical and radiological contamination across the twentieth-century.
The world's oceans have been publicly recognized by scientific authorities as imperiled, although little has been done to recognize the specific role of contaminants beyond agricultural run off and carbon pollution.
I contend that the Fukushima nuclear disaster was a major tipping element because of the volume of radionculides released into the atmosphere and ocean. Moreover, I contend Fukushima is a tipping element because the ocean and atmospheric contamination are unceasing and will likely worsen in magnitude over time.
Radiation levels in ground water at Daiichi have been going up rapidly over the last year and a half. They started rising rapidly in the summer of 2013. Unless drastic action is taken, contamination of ocean water will increase as radionuclide levels rise in ground water at the Daiichi site.
Background radiation has increased on North American Pacific coast (see http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2014/07/increased-backround-radiation.html).Radiation levels will continue to increase in Japan and North America as active radiation contamination of the Pacific continues to unfold.
There have been multiple documented die-offs of diverse mammals across the Pacific North American coast, and even further down the Pacific coast into South America. Please see here for specifics with sources: http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2013/10/animal-anomalies-is-fukushima-daiichi.html.
The Pacific Arctic region water temperature is measuring higher than all previous records:
The ocean is now warmer than ever before in recorded history
There may be many tipping elements - including large methane releases that seem to be growing - but the role of Fukushima's ongoing contamination of the ocean in contributing to documented mass mortality incidences has been systematically disregarded by many leading authorities in politics and science.
No one wants to talk publicly about the ongoing contamination of the ocean by highly contaminated plant water. Underground fuel at the site is in direct contact with ground water that ultimately enters Pacific ocean. TEPCO has admitted this. Moreover, the Swiss Embassy had a diagram posted on the Internet showing a reactor melt located directly in the underground river at the Daiichi site.
That is why Ken's Buesseler's work testing Pacific Ocean water is important. Whether you like the way he talks about it or not, Buesseler is documenting (albeit in a limited way) rising levels of Cesium in surface water along the Pacific North West coast.
The thing to remember is that radionuclides do not stay long suspended in surface water. They tend to sink and be assimilated. Radiocesium bioaccumulates in ocean life roughly 3 to 30 times levels in water, although top predators such as Orcas bioaccumulate magnitudes more.
Cesium is not nearly as likely to be assimilated by minute ocean life, such as by phytoplankton, as some other even nastier radionuclides, such as Americium and Uranium. Uranium binds with DNA and breaks it through both chemical and radioactive decay. Americium is very readily assimilated biologically and ultra nasty chemically and in terms of its decay.
Buesseler is only testing for cesium. The level found in water is low but it has doubled. That probably means that other radionuclides have doubled in incident as well. Over one thousand radionuclides were released by Fukushima, TEPCO has acknowledged.
Therefore, the bodily burden of each form of life that assimilates radionuclides has increased substantially. Every radionuclide in the body is a chemical and/or radiological hazard.
Flora and fauna bioaccumulate radionculides because biology on earth has not learned to differentiate finely between radioactive iodine and non-radioactive iodine, radiocesium and potassium, strontium and calcium, etc.
Fukushima may have been one tipping element too many. Although Duarte's "Tipping Elements in the Arctic Marine Ecosystem" suggests life rebounds as more adapted species flourish under new conditions, I would contend that the tipping elements introduced by POLLUTION are hostile to many life forms because of their destabilizing effect on genomes.
Toxic pollution destroys DNA and therefore is a tipping element whose detrimental effects on living systems are extremely difficult to model because of the potential for rapidly cascading genomic instabilities, which can erode reproductive success in relatively few generations (far less than ten).
I believe that the only hope for human survival is to rapidly halt introduction of tipping elements and then work to decontaminate as much as possible without introducing genetically modified organisms that pose unrecognized risks.
But every time I turn around I see the marks of ascendant sociopaths who work actively to deny the consequences of their actions and the perils that we face as complex life on earth.
PREVIOUS BLOG POSTS AND REFERENCES
Nadesan, M. (2014). Fukushima and the Politics of Risk http://www.academia.edu/8362401/Fukushima_and_the_Politics_of_Risk
Bioaccumulation: Cesium is One Among the 1000 Radionuclides Unleashed by Fukushima Bioaccumulation: Cesium is One Among the 1000 Radi...
Contaminated Water at Fukushima Daiichi Majia's Blog: Contaminated Water at Fukushima Daiichi ...
Will Fukushima Daiichi Kill Vast Swathes of Ocean life Majia's Blog: Will Fukushima Daiichi Kill Vast Swathes of ...
Endless Atmospheric and Ocean Emissions Majia's Blog: Endless Atmospheric and Ocean Emissions
How much Fukushima Fuel is in the Ocean http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/09/how-much-fukushima-fuel-is-in-ocean.html
Ocean Releases Majia's Blog: Ocean Releases
Humanity’s End Foretold in Destruction of Oceans: Majia's Blog: Humanity's End Foretold in Destruction of Oceans
Compromised Oceans mean Compromised People: Majia's Blog: Compromised Oceans Mean Compromised People
Radiation plumes headed to N. America Majia's Blog: Fukushima Radiation Plumes in the Ocean Headed to ...
GENETICS, HUMAN HEALTH AND RADIATION
Uranium Destroys Human DNA http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2014/11/uranium-destroys-dna-through-chemical.html
Burdening the species with genetic mutations: http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/05/burdening-species-with-genetic.html
Mutations and Germ Line Mosaicism: http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/05/mutations-germ-line-mosaicism.html
Somatic or genetic effects? http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/07/somatic-or-genetic-effects.html
Ionizing radiation and germ line cell damage: http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/02/ionizing-radiation-and-germ-cell-damage.html