Polar ocean ‘soaking up less CO2’

One of Earth's most important absorbers of carbon dioxide is failing to soak up as much of the greenhouse gas as it was expected to, the BBC reported scientists as saying on Thursday.

The decline of Antarctica’s Southern Ocean carbon "sink" – or reservoir – means that atmospheric CO2 levels may be higher in future than predicted, said a study by an international team, published in the journal Science.

Carbon sinks are vital as they mop up excess CO2 from the atmosphere, slowing down global warming.

This effect had been predicted by climate scientists, and is taken into account – to some extent – by climate models. But it appears to be happening 40 years ahead of schedule.

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