Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Oceans absorb carbon dioxide

Oceans absorb vast amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) , and play vital role by acting as a brake to climate change. Scientists still cannot tell with certainty how global increase in temperature is affecting the amount of absorbed CO2, but they predict it to have very negative impact. Carbon dioxide, once absorbed by seawater mixes with the turbulent surface layer, and goes all the way down to the depths of the ocean. However because of the increased temperature mixing process becomes more difficult, therefore reducing the circulation of CO2.

On the other hand carbon dioxide is also absorbed by literally billions of tiny phytoplankton and other organisms, which fall to the ocean bottom when they die, trapping carbon in deep bottom layers of sediment. And as the climate warms the amount of CO2 released by many tiny animals that feed on phytoplankton increases, disturbing the balance of biological CO2 absorption.

Southern ocean - Most important in absorbing vast amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2)

With the latest global efforts to curb CO2 emissions, it is extremely important to know how is climate change affecting oceans and their ability to absorb vast amounts of CO2. This is why Australian scientists are working hard to gather data from Southern ocean by monitoring it for several months. Southern ocean, located between Australia and Antarctica plays the most important role in CO2 absorption of all the world's oceans, so results of this study should give us more precise answers about the current absorbing ability of world's oceans. However this will not be easy to do because Southern Ocean is famous for its wild seas and remoteness but scientists have strong belief in their monitoring equipment that includes a float on the surface and more equipment about 165 feet below, of which both are attached to a tether to the ocean floor about 2.5 miles below.

If this equipment provides sufficient this would mean completely new step that could lead to long-term monitoring of the surface layers of the Southern Ocean and ocean's ability to absorb CO2. Very large number of different monitoring procedures related to climate change so far come up only with negative and disturbing results, and there is this feeling that condition of our oceans isn't exception. Hopefully, we are wrong on this one.

No comments:

Post a Comment