Warming oceans less able to store organic carbon, study suggests

Categories: News
Published on: January 6, 2015

The Carbon Brief / Robert McSweeney / 06 January 2015

Ocean silt measurementThe oceans’ ability to store carbon may be reduced by global warming, a new study suggests. The research finds that warmer ocean temperatures limit how much organic carbon is being transported into the deep ocean.

This could cause a positive feedback loop, the authors suggest, with carbon storage in the oceans reducing as global temperatures rise further.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that since the 1970s, oceans have taken up more than 90 per cent of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases. A warming ocean has implications for sea level rise, but also for its ability to store organic carbon, a new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds.