Navigation Links
Antarctica glacier retreat creates new carbon dioxide store
Date:11/9/2009

Large blooms of tiny marine plants called phytoplankton are flourishing in areas of open water left exposed by the recent and rapid melting of ice shelves and glaciers around the Antarctic Peninsula. This remarkable colonisation is having a beneficial impact on climate change. As the blooms die back phytoplankton sinks to the sea-bed where it can store carbon for thousands or millions of years.

Reporting this week in the journal Global Change Biology, scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) estimate that this new natural 'sink' is taking an estimated 3.5 million tonnes* of carbon from the ocean and atmosphere each year.

Lead author, Professor Lloyd Peck from BAS says,

"Although this is a small amount of carbon compared to global emissions of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere it is nevertheless an important discovery. It shows nature's ability to thrive in the face of adversity. We need to factor this natural carbon-absorption into our calculations and models to predict future climate change. So far we don't know if we will see more events like this around the rest of Antarctica's coast but it's something we'll be keeping a close eye on."

Professor Peck and his colleagues compared records of coastal glacial retreat with records of the amount of chlorophyll (green plant pigment essential for photosynthesis) in the ocean. They found that over the past 50 years, melting ice has opened up at least 24,000 km2 of new open water (an area similar to the size of Wales) and this has been colonised by carbon-absorbing phytoplankton. According to the authors this new bloom is the second largest factor acting against climate change so far discovered on Earth (the largest is new forest growth on land in the Arctic).

Professor Peck continues, "Elsewhere in the world human activity is undermining the ability of oceans and marine ecosystems to capture and store carbon. At present, there is little change in ice shelves and coastal glaciers away from the Antarctic Peninsula, but if more Antarctic ice is lost as a result of climate change then these new blooms have the potential to be a significant biological sink for carbon."


'/>"/>

Contact: Linda Capper
LMCA@bas.ac.uk
44-012-232-21448
British Antarctic Survey
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Algae and pollen grains provide evidence of remarkably warm period in Antarcticas history
2. Unlikely life thriving at Antarcticas Blood Falls
3. First comprehensive inventory of life in Antarctica
4. Scientists find 245 million-year-old burrows of land vertebrates in Antarctica
5. Explorers marvel at Brittlestar City on seamount in powerful current swirling around Antarctica
6. Antarcticas coldest, darkest season draws Montana State University researchers
7. Observing sustainable tourism in Antarctica
8. Exploration of lake hidden beneath Antarcticas ice sheet begins
9. Massive dinosaur discovered in Antarctica sheds light on life, distribution of sauropodomorphs
10. Texas researchers and educators head for Antarctica
11. Shrinking Bylot Island glaciers tell story of climate change
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/4/2017)... BLOOMINGTON, Ill. , Oct. 4, 2017  GCE Solutions, a ... powerful new data and document anonymization solution on October 4, 2017. ... the pharmaceutical field to comply with policy 0070 of the European ... documents and data. ... Innovation by GCE Solutions ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... N.Y. and ITHACA, N.Y. ... ) and Cornell University, a leader in dairy research, ... with bioinformatics designed to help reduce the chances that ... With the onset of this dairy project, Cornell University ... Consortium for Sequencing the Food Supply Chain, a food ...
(Date:5/6/2017)... , May 5, 2017 ... just announced a new breakthrough in biometric authentication ... exploits quantum mechanical properties to perform biometric authentication. These ... smart semiconductor material created by Ram Group and ... finance, entertainment, transportation, supply chains and security. Ram ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... Iowa (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... based in Vilnius, Lithuania, announced today that they have entered into a multiyear ... is to provide CRISPR researchers with additional tools for gene editing across all ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... the first-ever genomics analysis platform specifically designed for life science researchers to ... of pioneering researcher Rosalind Franklin, who made a major contribution to the ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical ... place on 7th and 8th June 2018 in San Francisco, CA. The Summit brings ... well as several distinguished CEOs, board directors and government officials from around the world ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... ... Disappearing forests and increased emissions are the main causes of the evolving ... those living in larger cities are affected by air pollution related diseases. , That ... countries globally - decided to take action. , “I knew I had to take ...
Breaking Biology Technology: