What They Have Done: For a new study published Thursday in the journal Science an international research team has determined how much carbon dioxide the oceans have absorbed.
What they found: The study shows that between 1994 and 2007, the oceans had absorbed more than 100 billion tons of CO2, which represents about one third of the total emissions during this period.
- This shows that the oceans roughly match the ever-increasing rate of man-made emissions over the period 1994-2007.
"Without this oceanic uptake, the atmosphere's CO2 concentration would be up to 480 ppm and global air temperatures would be significantly warmer," says co-author Richard Feely of NOAA, Axios.
"This means that the ocean has provided humanity with an ecosystem service that can be estimated at more than $ 1 trillion."
– Study co-author Nicolas Gruber of the ETH Zurich says to Axios: assuming a CO2 price of 10 US dollars per ton of CO2.
The study also shows that acidification of the oceans created by chemical reactions when seawater absorbs CO2 begins to affect sub-surface marine life.
- Since dawn From the industrial revolution, the pH of ocean surface waters has dropped by about 0.11 pH units, says Feely. The largest decline in pH has been recorded in the high latitudes.
- Marine acidification poses a significant threat to calcifying organisms such as butterflies and mussels. This suggests that problems are already occurring in ecosystems.
19659012] Study recently published in Geology provides a new long-term history of how carbon has accumulated in the deep-sea sediment over geological time. Carbon is absorbed in this way when dead diatoms and plankton descend through the water column and slowly but steadily accumulate as "sea snow" on the seabed.
"The more acidic the ocean becomes, the smaller the volume of dead carbonate plankton shells" By the water column that will make it to the seabed without completely dissolving on the way down, "study author Dietmar Muller tells Axios. 19659012] "In other words, we are continually reducing the oceans' ability to deposit atmospheric atmospheres in deep-sea sediments. "