The British Antarctic Survey has found that the retreating glaciers in Antarctica are exposing more open water that has become home to colonies of phytoplankton. Phytoplankton uses carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to photosynthesize, and can live for hundreds of years. Dead phytoplankton floats to the bottom of the ocean, where it is buried in the bottom sediment and serves as a sink for carbon dioxide. Scientists estimate that this new phytoplankton explosion is removing 3.5 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere and ocean every year, or the equivalent of 12.8 million tons of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere.
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