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Carbon Cycle


Chasing Ocean ‘Snowflakes’

Chasing Ocean ‘Snowflakes’

Scientists envision putting a flotilla of devices in the ocean to act as “eyes” that can track the “marine snow” that drifts down into the ocean.

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Mission to the Ocean Twilight Zone

Mission to the Ocean Twilight Zone

The twilight zone is a part of the ocean 660 to 3,300 feet below the surface, where little sunlight can reach. It is deep and dark and cold, and the pressures there are enormous. Despite these challenging conditions, the twilight zone teems with life that helps support the ocean’s food web and is intertwined with Earth’s climate. Some countries are gearing up to exploit twilight zone fisheries, with unknown impacts for marine ecosystems and global climate. Scientists and engineers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are poised to explore and investigate this hidden frontier.

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A Mighty Mysterious Molecule

A Mighty Mysterious Molecule

What gives sea air its distinctive scent? A chemical compound called dimethylsulfide. In a new study, WHOI scientists show that the compound may also be used by marine microbes to communicate with one another.

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Earth’s Riverine Bloodstream

Earth's Riverine Bloodstream

Like blood in our arteries in our body, water in rivers carry chemical signals that can tell us a lot about how the entire Earth system operates.

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Tracking a Trail of Carbon

Tracking a Trail of Carbon

Lake Titicaca in the Andes Mountains of South America is an extraordinary place to explore ancient human civilization, Earth’s climate history, and the flow of carbon through our planet.

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Of The River and Time

Of The River and Time

The Fraser River in western Canada is flowing with tiny time capsules. Inside them is a fascinating history of Earth’s…

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Elemental Journeys

Elemental Journeys

Humans have changed the face of the Earth by significantly altering the natural movements of chemicals on the planet’s surface,…

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Deep-sea Detectives

Deep-sea Detectives

  Links to related materials Mid-Ocean Ridges—Articles, illustrations, and video showing how new seafloor crust forms Mapping the Seafloor with…

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To Fertilize, or Not to Fertilize

To Fertilize, or Not to Fertilize

Global warming is “unequivocal,” the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported in November 2007. Human actions—particularly the burning of…

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Earth Can’t Soak Up Excess Fossil Fuel Emissions Indefinitely

Earth Can't Soak Up Excess Fossil Fuel Emissions Indefinitely

Earth?s land and oceans have been soaking up the excess carbon Earth?s land and oceans have been soaking up the excess carbon dioxide that humans have pumped into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. But there are limits.
A new-generation computer model indicates that the capacity of land and ocean to absorb and store the heat-trapping greenhouse gas will reach its peak by the end of the century?removing a brake that has been tempering the effects of global warming.

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The Rain of Ocean Particles and Earth’s Carbon Cycle

The Rain of Ocean Particles and Earth's Carbon Cycle

WHOI Phytoplankton photosynthesis has provided Earth’s inhabitants with oxygen since early life began. Without this process the atmosphere would consist of carbon dioxide (CO2) plus a small amount of nitrogen, the atmospheric pressure would be 60 times higher than the air we breathe, and the planet’s air temperatures would hover around 300°C. (Conditions similar to these are found on Earth’s close sibling Venus.

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