Thursday, November 19, 2009

ocean absorbing less emissions

Oceans are becoming less efficient at absorbing carbon dioxide, and can no longer be considered a permanent "carbon sink" for heat-trapping gases.

The slowdown in the rise of the absorption rate resulted from a gradual change in the oceans’ chemistry, the study found. “The more carbon dioxide the ocean absorbs, the more acidic it becomes and the less carbon dioxide it can absorb,” said the study’s lead author, Samar Khatiwala, a research scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University and a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

“It’s a small change in absolute terms,” Dr. Khatiwala said. “What I think is fairly clear and important in the long term is the trend toward lower values, which implies that more of the emissions will remain in the atmosphere.”

...Yet much work remains to be done to confirm the results and to expand upon them, Dr. Khatiwala said. read the full article

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