Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New method of measuring ocean carbon dioxide uptake could lead to climate change 'early warning system'

Date:
January 11, 2010
Source:
University of East Anglia
Summary:
Scientists have developed a new method of measuring the absorption of carbon dioxide by the oceans and mapped for the first time carbon dioxide uptake for the entire North Atlantic.

New research could also lead to the development of an 'early-warning system' to detect any weakening of the ocean sinks.
Credit: iStockphoto/Benjamin Goode

An international team of scientists led by the University of East Anglia (UEA) has developed a new method of measuring the absorption of CO2 by the oceans and mapped for the first time CO2 uptake for the entire North Atlantic.

Published December 4 in the journal Science, the peer-reviewed study will greatly improve our understanding of the natural ocean 'sinks' and enable more accurate predictions about how the global climate is changing.

The new technique could also lead to the development of an 'early-warning system' to detect any weakening of the ocean sinks -- seen by some scientists as the first signal of more pronounced climate change.

Led by Prof Andrew Watson of UEA's School of Environmental Sciences, the researchers used a network of commercial ships carrying chemical sensors in their engine rooms -- combined with other information such as satellite observations of sea surface temperature -- to map the uptake of atmospheric CO2 by the entire North Atlantic Ocean.

The results suggest that the North Atlantic absorption of CO2 varies substantially over periods of several years and is sensitive to regional changes in climate.

"These exciting results from our new coordinated network represent the first time scientists have observed CO2 uptake over any large region of the world -- either land or ocean -- with such accuracy," said Prof Watson.

"Our new method estimates the flux and how it varies from year to year and season to season, showing patterns of uptake with a detail never before realised."

It is hoped that similar networks could be established in other major ocean basins well-covered by shipping, making it possible to observe carbon uptake over most of the world's oceans. The networks could be used to give early warning of any weakening in the uptake of carbon dioxide by the global oceans. This uptake is very important in slowing the rise of CO2 in the atmosphere, and some scientists have warned that such a weakening of the sink could be beginning to occur as climate change becomes more pronounced.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. A Watson et al. Tracking the Variable North Atlantic Sink for Atmospheric CO2. Science, December 4, 2009

Cite This Page:

University of East Anglia. "New method of measuring ocean carbon dioxide uptake could lead to climate change 'early warning system'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091203141854.htm>.
University of East Anglia. (2010, January 11). New method of measuring ocean carbon dioxide uptake could lead to climate change 'early warning system'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091203141854.htm
University of East Anglia. "New method of measuring ocean carbon dioxide uptake could lead to climate change 'early warning system'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091203141854.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the "RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival", in Colombian city of Cali. Duration: 00:49 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) 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