Findings may help scientists understand how much carbon dioxide can be released while still limiting global warming
- while the amount of carbon dioxide in the open ocean is increasing at the same rate as in the atmosphere, these same carbon dioxide concentrations are increasing slower in the coastal ocean because the coastal ocean is shallower than the open ocean and can quickly transfer sequestered carbon dioxide to the deep ocean…
- nutrient pollution entering coastal waters from things like fertilizer on land stimulate the growth of algae within the continental shelves, which subsequently removes more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere
- the continental shelves are becoming a crucial element in the global carbon cycle and for the climate system; scientists should take into account the contribution of continental shelves to calculate global carbon budgets
January 31, 2018 University of Delaware read full ScienceDaily article here
Oceanographers reveal that the water over the continental shelves is shouldering a larger than expected portion of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The findings may have important implications for scientists focused on understanding how much carbon dioxide can be released into the atmosphere while still keeping warming limited.
As more carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere, the global ocean soaks up much of the excess, storing roughly 30 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions coming from human activities.
In this sense, the ocean has acted as a buffer to slow down the greenhouse gas accumulation in the atmosphere and, thus, global warming. However, this process also increases the acidity of seawater and can affect the health of marine organisms and the ocean ecosystem.
New research by University of Delaware oceanographer Wei-Jun Cai and colleagues at Université Libre de Bruxelles, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, University of Hawaii at Manoa and ETH Zurich, now reveals that the water over the continental shelves is shouldering a larger portion of the load, taking up more and more of this atmospheric carbon dioxide….
Goulven G. Laruelle, Wei-Jun Cai, Xinping Hu, Nicolas Gruber, Fred T. Mackenzie, Pierre Regnier. Continental shelves as a variable but increasing global sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide. Nature Communications, 2018; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-02738-z