Oceans in the southern hemisphere of the Earth absorb more and more volumes of carbon dioxide – a major greenhouse gas, team of scientists had discovered.
The trend is increasing since 2002, but precise forecasting of its development is impossible, says the University of East England.
World Ocean absorbs huge amounts of carbon dioxide and almost half is accounted in waters surrounding Antarctica. These oceans and seas conditionally called Southern Ocean because they are located in the Southern Hemisphere.
Just like lungs, they absorb polluted air and exhale purified, as a significant portion of the carbon dioxide remains in the ocean. This is much more than quantity dismissed back into the atmosphere. Scientists believe that the Southern Ocean slows the pace of global warming.
At the beginning of the XXI century, scientists suspected that the waters of Antarctica have begun to saturate with carbon dioxide and its flow has slowed. This was unexpected, as was previously believed that there is a direct link between the volume of carbon dioxide in the air and volumes of carbon dioxide, absorbed from the sea. Then scientists discovered that by the end of the 80s of the last century the amount of carbon dioxide trapped in the Southern Ocean is not increased.
The new study found that the trend has resumed and for the last decade, the volume of carbon dioxide “inhale” is growing.
Scientists led by Professor. Nicholas Gruber of the Swiss higher technical school in Zurich, analyzed data on the concentration of carbon dioxide in surface waters taken from Southern Ocean and available at Base SOCAT.
Along with the latest data updaters the base received 14.5 million measurements of surface waters from 1957 to 2014. The scientists also used ocean temperature data, obtained from satellites.
The analysis showed that in 2002 the rate of carbon “storage” has begun to grow again. In 2010 he reached the expected level comparable with the level of growth of atmospheric carbon dioxide. This suggests that the intensity of this process in the Southern Ocean changes greatly with time, rather than growing steadily and monotonously in response to the growth of the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Scientists believe that the intensity and extent of absorption of carbon dioxide affect fundamental changes in natural conditions and warn that the future trend is impossible to predict.
Southern Oceans Absorb Huge Amounts Of Carbon Dioxide