CO2 bound to the ocean floor is likely to be released when sea temperatures rises. Photo: © Here /

Climate Change threatens the capacity of oceans to store CO2

Rising temperatures could lead to substantial releases of carbon dioxide currently bound to the deep ocean floor, reports the BBC. This is extremely bad news, as the oceans have so far buffered some of the temperature rise that would otherwise have occurred because of the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide. In fact, oceans take up about one third of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Part of the carbon is taken up by marine life and is eventually buried in the sea floor. According to the BBC, the amount of carbon stored in this way is counted in billions of tonnes. If carbon dioxide starts to be released from the sea floor, this would lead to additionally increased warming. Evidence for the release of carbon dioxide comes from experimental work within the iAtlantic research programme. The work specifically focused on the deep ocean, which covers more than 60 per cent of our globe. For the experiments, sediment (in essence, material that constitutes the sea floor) was brought from the abyss to the laboratory, and studied under temperatures that are predicted for the end of this century. Reportedly, temperature rise increases the release of carbon dioxide from these deep-sea sediments.

Source: Gills, V. “Ocean’s climate change ‘buffer’ role under threat”,


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