Deep-sea volcanoes play key climate role

March 15, 2010 at 2:09 PM Leave a comment

A vast network of under-sea volcanoes pumping out nutrient-rich water in the Southern Ocean plays a key role in soaking up large amounts of carbon dioxide, acting as a brake on climate change, scientists say.

A group of Australian and French scientists have shown for the first time that the volcanoes are a major source of iron that single-celled plants called phytoplankton need to bloom and in the process soak up CO2, the main greenhouse gas.

Oceans absorb about a quarter of mankind’s CO2 from burning fossil fuels and deforestation, with the Southern Ocean between Australia and Antarctica among the largest ocean “carbon sinks.”

Phytoplankton underpin the ocean’s food chain. When they die or are eaten, they carry large amounts of carbon that they absorb to the bottom of the ocean, locking up the carbon for centuries.

There have been a number of studies showing iron is released from deep-sea volcanoes, said Andrew Bowie, a senior research scientist with the Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Center in Hobart, Tasmania.

“But no study has considered that on a global level and considered its importance on Southern Ocean carbon storage,” Bowie, one of the authors, told Reuters.

The volcanoes are dotted along deep ocean ridges that mark major plate boundaries of the earth’s crust and the study is based in part on measurements of how much iron there is in the Southern Ocean at depths of up to four kilometres (nearly three miles).

Click HERE for full article

Advertisements

Entry filed under: Climate Change, Green News, National News. Tags: , , , .

Recyclemania: Push towards the end! More Americans Say Global Warming Exaggerated: Poll

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


University of San Francisco: unplugged

USFUNPLUGGED is brought to you by the Environmental Safety Community Outreach Liaison’s of USF. Here to educate, assist and encourage, we want you to get involved with the GREEN movement taking place on campus!

Unplugged Rewind


%d bloggers like this: