NANFA-- Carbon Dioxide Uptake of Ocean

Bruce Stallsmith (
Sat, 12 Feb 2000 21:29:18 EST

After the brief thread earlier this week about CO2 uptake in the oceans, I
noticed that there's a report in the Jan. 28 issue of _Science_ called "The
Role of the Southern Ocean in Uptake and Storage of Anthropogenic Carbon
Dioxide", p. 620, by K. Caldeira and P. Duffy of the Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory. What they found, in brief, is that the Southern Ocean
currently takes up about 2 Pg (10^15, ten to the fifteenth power grams) of
anthropogenic carbon every year, but that this will probably decrease if the
surface temperature of the Southern Ocean increases because this will lessen
vertical mixing of the water column. They don't say it, but what that means
is that if global warming is happening, it's on a positive feedback cycle:
warmer temperatures in the ocean reduce CO2 uptake & storage, leading to
more CO2 in the atmosphere, leading to more greenhouse effect, ...

This is not conclusive, of course. We're continuing to experiment with
atmospheric chemistry on a grand scale. But more & more evidence points in
the direction of a warming trend accelerated by human inputs. (So, maybe the
Bama gators near me _will_ be in Tennessee soon!)

--Bruce Stallsmith
Huntsville, AL

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