Southern Ocean remains CO2 sink

The Southern Ocean remains a major store of planet-warming carbon dioxide (CO2) despite changes in its currents and wind speeds caused by climate change, reported Reuters, citing a study published this week in Nature Geoscience.


Oceans absorb a large portion of the excess CO2 created by human activities, acting to slow global warming. The Southern Ocean –located between Australia and Antarctica — is the largest of these "carbon sinks".


Previous research had suggested that the ocean was losing its CO2 absorbing ability because global warming had affected its ocean currents and increased its westerly winds. The latest study — which compares ship-based measurements of the ocean since the 1960s and more recent data from hundreds of robotic floats — indicates that the Southern Ocean has maintained its ability to soak up excess CO2.


"It’s a positive thing. It’s one thing it looks like we don’t have to worry about as much as we thought," said Steve Rintoul of the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, part of a team researchers that also included scientists from the Institute for Marine Research at the University of Kiel in Germany.


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