Japanese and Russian scientists have discovered that the Sea of Japan is absorbing significantly less CO2 than it was a decade ago. Professor Kitack Lee from Pohang University of Science and Technology said that “the increase in atmospheric temperature due to global warming can profoundly influence ocean ventilation, thereby decreasing the uptake rate of CO2″. Ocean ventilation is the process where seawater moves, flows, mixes and drags absorbed CO2 from the surface to depths. As the oceans absorb 11 billion tonnes of CO2 each year, any global decrease in oceanic absorbtion could be catastrophic, leaving significantly more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The research, which was undertaken with the Russian Pacific Oceanological Institute, showed that absorbtion rates between 1999 and 2007 were almost half that of the period between 1992 and 1999 and critically showed that the process of ocean mixing where CO2 is taken to lower depths has significantly weakend.
First posted 24/01/09