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Southern Ocean's absorption of carbon roughly doubles

Antarctica Peninsula © Flickr Commons/Staigue

 

 

Environment Updates

Body of water is the strongest ocean region for soaking up carbon

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 14 September, 2015 - The vast Southern Ocean around Antarctica has started to soak up more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere in recent years, helping limit climate change, after signs its uptake had stalled, a study said on last week.

The Southern Ocean's natural absorption of carbon roughly doubled to 1.2 billion tonnes in 2011 - equivalent to the European Union's annual man-made greenhouse gas emissions - from levels a decade earlier, it said.

"It's good news, for the moment" for efforts to slow man-made global warming, Nicolas Gruber, an author of the study at Swiss university ETH Zurich, told Reuters.

He said it was unclear how long the higher rate of absorption by the Southern Ocean, the strongest ocean region for soaking up carbon, would last.

"The Southern Ocean is much more variable than we thought," he said of the report by an international team in the journal Science and based on 2.6 million measurements by ships over three decades.

Changes in winds and temperatures had apparently driven the shifts, linked to high pressure systems in the atmosphere over the Atlantic part of the Southern Ocean and low pressure over the Pacific, it said.

Tags: 
Southern Ocean, Antarctica, Carbon, Greenhouse Gases
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