Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate Change Leads To Major Decrease In Carbon Dioxide Storage

Date:
April 10, 2009
Source:
Dalhousie University
Summary:
The North Atlantic Ocean is one of the Earth's tools to offset natural carbon dioxide emissions. In fact, the 'carbon sink' in the North Atlantic is the primary gate for carbon dioxide entering the global ocean and stores it for about 1500 years. The oceans have removed nearly 30 per cent of anthropogenic (man-made) emissions over the last 250 years. However, several recent studies show a dramatic decline in the North Atlantic Ocean's carbon sink.

The North Atlantic Ocean is one of the Earth’s tools to offset natural carbon dioxide emissions. In fact, the ‘carbon sink’ in the North Atlantic is the primary gate for carbon dioxide (CO2) entering the global ocean and stores it for about 1500 years. The oceans have removed nearly 30 per cent of anthropogenic (man-made) emissions over the last 250 years. However, several recent studies show a dramatic decline in the North Atlantic Ocean's carbon sink.

Concerned by this decline, a group of international scientists, including Helmuth Thomas, professor of oceanography at Dalhousie University, spent the last two years investigating the world’s largest carbon sink. They weren’t sure what was causing the decrease, whether it was man-made or natural reasons.

“There were massive changes in the coastal carbon cycle, and it was similar throughout the ocean,” says Dr. Thomas, who wrote about the study in Global Biogeochemical Cycles

Recent observational studies found that the North Atlantic carbon uptake has decreased by 50 per cent over the last ten years. While many are quick to blame anthropogenic climate change, Dr. Thomas and his colleagues found different results. 

They believe the decrease is a natural phenomenon as a result of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), which causes weather patterns to change. “The next phase should once again increase in carbon uptake,” says Dr. Thomas. These natural phenomenons have the potential to mask the effects of anthropogenic climate change.

These findings are crucial in understanding how this natural system is reacting to climate change and dealing with increased man-made carbon emissions. Dr. Thomas says more research must be done; including enhanced observational efforts and developing models for analysis to fully understand the long-term effects, such as how the oceanic sink will deal with increased carbon emissions from humans. However, he hopes the study, reported on in the March edition of Nature, will help all climate change scientists with their research. 

“This research is the foundation for research in ocean acidification which has implications on marine life and corals,” explains Dr. Thomas.

He also cautions against misinterpreting the findings. “There are natural systems that deal with and react to natural climate change. We have to understand these to assess how anthropogenic climate change is affecting them.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Dalhousie University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Gruber et al. Carbon cycle: Fickle trends in the ocean. Nature, 2009; 458 (7235): 155 DOI: 10.1038/458155a
  2. Thomas et al. Changes in the North Atlantic Oscillation influence CO2 uptake in the North Atlantic over the past 2 decades. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 2008; 22 (4): GB4027 DOI: 10.1029/2007GB003167

Cite This Page:

Dalhousie University. "Climate Change Leads To Major Decrease In Carbon Dioxide Storage." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090408195557.htm>.
Dalhousie University. (2009, April 10). Climate Change Leads To Major Decrease In Carbon Dioxide Storage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 3, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090408195557.htm
Dalhousie University. "Climate Change Leads To Major Decrease In Carbon Dioxide Storage." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090408195557.htm (accessed September 3, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands of Fish Dead in Mexico Lake

Raw: Thousands of Fish Dead in Mexico Lake

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) — Over 53 tons of rotting fish have been removed from Lake Cajititlan in western Jalisco state. Authorities say that the thousands of fish did not die of natural causes. (Sep. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Iceland Volcano Spewing Smoke

Raw: Iceland Volcano Spewing Smoke

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) — The alert warning for the area surrounding Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano was kept at orange on Tuesday, indicating increased unrest with greater potential for an eruption. Smoke is spewing from the volcano, and lava is spouting nearby. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Halliburton Reaches $1B Gulf Spill Settlement

Halliburton Reaches $1B Gulf Spill Settlement

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) — Halliburton's agreement to pay more than $1 billion to settle numerous claims involving the 2010 BP oil spill could be a way to diminish years of costly litigation. A federal judge still has to approve the settlement. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins