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Blue Carbon


Blue Carbon

The worlds river systems sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide by transporting decaying organic material from land to the ocean. Although river transport of carbon to the ocean is not large enough to bail humans out of our global warming problem, knowing how much carbon rivers transport is important part of understanding the global carbon cycle that regulates Earth's climate. Scientists from WHOI recently calculated the first direct estimate of how much and in what form organic carbon is exported to the ocean by rivers. (Illustration by Eric S. Taylor, WHOI Creative © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Round and round goes carbon around our planet. At the same time, figuratively, carbon makes the world go ’round. The…

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The ocean’s carbon pump works better than we thought!

Scientists have long known that the ocean plays an essential role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere, but a study from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) shows that the efficiency of the ocean’s “biological carbon pump” has been drastically underestimated, with implications for future climate assessments. Marine chemist Ken Buesseler and his co-authors call on their fellow oceanographers to adopt a new metric for estimating the depth of the ocean’s sunlit layer, thus its ability to take up carbon.

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The ocean’s ‘biological pump’ captures more carbon than expected

Buesseler sediment trap

Scientists have long known that the ocean plays an essential role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere, but a new study from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) shows that the efficiency of the ocean’s “biological carbon pump” has been drastically underestimated, with implications for future climate assessments.

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The Ocean Twilight Zone’s crucial carbon pump

Ken Buesseler

When CO₂ enters the ocean, where does this heat-trapping gas go? WHOI geochemist investigates how much carbon from the surface ocean is dispatched to the ocean twilight zone–the midlayer of the ocean–and on to the deep ocean.

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