Giving a fresh insight into how oceans affect climate change, a new study shows that carbon stored in deep in the Southern Ocean, re-connected with the atmosphere, drives a rise in atmospheric CO2 and climate change.
There were heavy concentrations of dissolved CO2 in surface waters of the Southern Atlantic Ocean which coincided with the rises in atmospheric CO2 at the end of the last ice age.
So, these regions acted as sources of CO2 to the atmosphere.
Currently, the oceans contain around 60 times more carbon than the atmosphere and that carbon can exchange rapidly between these two systems.
“The magnitude and rapidity of the swings in atmospheric CO2 across the ice age cycles suggests that changes in ocean carbon storage are important drivers of natural atmospheric CO2 variations,” said Miguel Martinez-Boti from the University of Southampton.
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