Contra Costa Times Ocean may be losing ability to soak CO2 The Associated Press Article Launched: 05/17/2007 11:01:32 AM PDT WASHINGTON- The ocean, which hasMessage 1 of 1 , May 21, 2007View SourceContra Costa TimesOcean may be losing ability to soak CO2Article Launched: 05/17/2007 11:01:32 AM PDT
WASHINGTON- The ocean, which has absorbed some excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for centuries, may be losing that ability, new report says.
The buildup of carbon dioxide in the air since the beginning of the industrial revolution has raised concerns that it would trap solar energy and cause a warming of the climate. The oceans are believed to absorb about one-quarter of human-related carbon emissions.
But researchers reporting in the journal Science say at least one large ocean areathe Southern Ocean that surrounds Antarcticaseems to be losing its ability to take up the gas.
Their four-year study concluded that an increase in winds over the Southern Ocean is preventing it from absorbing more carbon and is causing the sea to release some of the gas that it had stored.
"This is serious. All climate models predict that this kind of 'feedback' will continue and intensify during this century," lead author Corinne Le Quere of the University of East Anglia said in a statement.
In addition to East Anglia, researchers participating in the study were from the British Antarctic Survey and the Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany.
This was predicted long ago. Higher water temperatures is blamed for the decline in the krill shrimp that feeds whales and penguins, some penguin kinds have lost half their population in Antarctica.
Gigatons of CO2 have not shown up in the air therefore, the conclusion was that the soil and oceans were storing it (sequester) but now, one ocean was found to be at its full capacity to store CO2 -most probably all oceans since the capacity to hold CO2 diminshes with the water temperature and Antarctica is the coolestl. Yes, as temperature goes up more CO2 will come out of the oceans and none will be stored there.
Most of the future Carbon Dioxide Emissions will go to the air directly and, predictably, the proportion of CO2 in the air will increase more rapidly, which will help some crops but not people, in the hot summers. Animals are already migrating to higher elevations and to the North, plants and trees are blooming earlier, Sierra snowmelt ends earlier and people from the South will come here. Should we plan ahead and expand Vaqueros Dam? Or, wait and see if they keep on going further North to Oregon, Washington or Canada?
No word yet as to the maximum soil capacity but, wildfires and forest fires remove (burn) the carbon stored in the soil by plants and trees (and give us Oxygen). Fires contribute megatons of CO2 to the air. Florida/Georgia wildfires were in places recently soaked with water. The Calfironia wildfire season started earlier this year. The drought in the West continues.