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New View Of How Ocean ‘Pumps’ Impact Climate Change

Earth’s oceans have a remarkable natural ability to pull carbon from the atmosphere and store it deep within the ocean waters, exerting an important control on the global climate.  A large portion of the carbon dioxide emitted when humans burn fossil fuels, for instance, is taken up and stored in the ocean via a set of processes that make up the ocean carbon cycle. But, the rapid rate at which carbon dioxide emissions are increasing means the future of the cycle is uncertain, especially when many of the key processes remain poorly understood. In a new paper in the journal Nature, Tom Weber, an assistant professor of Earth and environmental sciences at Rochester, and his colleagues, outlined and quantified critical mechanisms involved in the ocean carbon cycle, specifically the “biological pump.” Their new insights can be used to guide climate computer models to better predict the effects of climate change on a warming world.  Read more...

 

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