e360 digest


19 Nov 2009: Oceans’ Ability to Absorb CO2
May be Diminishing, New Study Says

A study of the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the world’s oceans from 1765 to the present shows that as humanity pumps more CO2 into the atmosphere, the capacity of the world’s oceans to continue absorbing carbon appears to be decreasing. Researchers from Columbia University and NASA estimate that since 2000, the proportion of fossil-fuel emissions absorbed by the oceans may have declined by as much as 10 percent. In effect, researchers say that industrial activity has been producing so much C02 since 1950 that the oceans are slowly becoming saturated with the gas. “The more carbon dioxide you put in, the more acidic the ocean becomes, reducing its ability to hold CO2,” said lead researcher Samar Khatiwala, an oceanographer at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. The study, published in the journal Nature, estimated that the oceans currently hold about 150 tons of industrial carbon — a third more than in the 1990s. The researchers used data on ocean chemistry, salinity, temperature, and other measures to calculate the amount of industrial carbon in the ocean for the past 245 years. The study showed that the land may now being absorbing more carbon than it is producing, perhaps because higher atmospheric CO2 levels are increasing the rate of photosynthesis.

This video produced by Columbia University’s Earth Institute
shows concentrations of industrially produced CO2 increasing
in the world’s oceans over the past 2 1/2 centuries.



Email      Recommend     Tweet     Stumble Upon     Digg     Share    


Yale
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
.

SEARCH e360



Donate to Yale Environment 360
Yale Environment 360 Newsletter

CONNECT

Twitter: YaleE360
e360 on Facebook
Donate to e360
View mobile site
Bookmark
Share e360
Subscribe to our newsletter
Subscribe to our feed:
rss


ABOUT

About e360
Contact
Submission Guidelines
Reprints

E360 en Español

Universia partnership
Yale Environment 360 articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia, the online educational network.
Visit the site.


DEPARTMENTS

Opinion
Reports
Analysis
Interviews
Forums
e360 Digest
Podcasts
Video Reports

TOPICS

Biodiversity
Business & Innovation
Climate
Energy
Forests
Oceans
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Sustainability
Urbanization
Water

REGIONS

Antarctica and the Arctic
Africa
Asia
Australia
Central & South America
Europe
Middle East
North America

e360 PHOTO GALLERY

“Peter
Photographer Peter Essick documents the swift changes wrought by global warming in Antarctica, Greenland, and other far-flung places.
View the gallery.

e360 MOBILE

Mobile
The latest
from Yale
Environment 360
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile.

e360 VIDEO

Warriors of Qiugang
The Warriors of Qiugang, a Yale Environment 360 video that chronicles the story of a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant, was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject). Watch the video.


header image
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland. © Google & TerraMetrics.

e360 VIDEO

Colorado River Video
In a Yale Environment 360 video, photographer Pete McBride documents how increasing water demands have transformed the Colorado River, the lifeblood of the arid Southwest. Watch the video.

OF INTEREST



Yale