20 Apr 2009 04:04:23
Ocean warming could affect CO2 absorption rates
The world's oceans have significantly slowed climate change by absorbing approximately one-third of mankind's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, but rising marine temperatures threaten to undermine this invaluable function.
According to a new study by the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences (IFM-Geomar), the ability of oceans to continue taking up CO2 depends on a variety of physical, chemical and biological processes.
The German researchers, whose report was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, investigated the biological functions that affect marine CO2 absorption by studying plankton.
Julia Wohlers, lead author of the report, explained that planktonic algae create biomass using CO2 and nutrients, which then sinks to the ocean bed once they have died.
However, she pointed out that increased temperatures could slow the rate at which this occurs, meaning that current marine atmosphere models are not suitable for identifying future climate change trends.
"This study underscores the importance to improve the incorporation of biological processes and feedbacks in earth system models," Dr Wohlers concluded.
Earlier this month, a new marine organisation was established in Scotland to manage planning decisions specifically for offshore renewable energy projects.
The Scottish Parliament has revealed targets to get half of the country's power from renewables by 2020.http://www.ifm-geomar.de/index.php?id=ozeanzirkulation&L=...