The Ocean Never Sleeps

Image Courtesy The Huffington Post

It’s no secret that icecaps are losing mass due to increased global warming; and one of the world’s safeguards against carbon emissions, the ocean, is working overtime trying to sequester anthropogenic gases.  The ocean as a carbon sink has been well known for quite some time, although recently it seems as though it has been on the back-burner for many governments, organizations, corporations, businesses, etc.

There is an awareness that the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide via phytoplankton (often resulting in planktonic “blooms” indicating mass growth), but also an irresponsible mindset believing that the ocean can take care of the problem itself.  Phytoplankton that absorb CO2 die and become detritus, sinking to the bottom of the ocean where they deposit the CO2 they absorbed, thus sequestering it; however, absorption occurs more efficiently in cold water:

warming could eventually reduce the Arctic Ocean’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide because cold water dissolves it better than warm water.  Of course water is warming in a relative sense in the Arctic. Sea surface temperatures in the region have risen since 1965 but are still near freezing for most of the region during the summer. However, if the trend continues it could still reduce the region’s ability to take up carbon.

~ The Huffington Post

This article provided by The Huffington Post examines reasons why the Earth’s carbon budget needs to be constantly analyzed, especially how it concerns the ocean.  A variety of dynamics at play and the simple fact that the Earth is comprised primarily by ocean should not put people at ease, in fact, it should keep people on edge due to its functionality as an ecological indicator.  As observed by The Huffington Post in their article, the fact that there is increased phytoplankton activity does indicate increased plant growth, but that is due to increased Carbon in the atmosphere…  Which is bad.

It’s important not to be lulled into a false sense of security in regards to this issue even though it is widely known — continue taking personal steps in reducing your own footprint and take the strain off the ocean!

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