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Global Warming can Indirectly Increase amount of CO2 Released by Oceans

June 10, 2014; 12:45 AM ET

New research has found that global warming could increase the amount of CO2 naturally released by the oceans, which in turn could accelerate climate change.

Tiny Plankton

Scientists from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland tried to find out how the ocean's ability to absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) had changed over time by studying 26,000-year-old sediment core from the Gulf of California.

The research team analyzed silicon and iron concentrations of fossilized plankton.

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, plankton can lock away large quantities of carbon by absorbing atmospheric CO2 at the ocean surface.

Researchers found that those periods when silicon was least abundant in ocean waters corresponded with relatively warm climates, low levels of atmospheric iron, and reduced CO2 uptake by the oceans' plankton. (via the University of Edinburgh news report)

The study shows that a lack of iron at the ocean surface can limit the effect of other key elements in helping plankton take up carbon, according to the report.

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The University of Edinburgh study was published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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Climate Change
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