Does the ocean absorb any carbon?



  1. 0 Votes

    Yes. It typically takes about a year for the ocean to absorb gases from the atmosphere, so it occurs at slow rate. However increasing CO2 in the atmosphere is said to be resulting in increased absorption into the ocean, resulting in ocean acidification. Also, increased freshwater content resulting from the melting of ice caps has diluted sodium content, which is thought to speed up the absorption process. 

  2. 0 Votes

    Yes.  In the early 2000, it was estimated that the ocean absorbed between 1/4 and 1/3 of man-made carbon dioxide, both through the solubility cycle and the biological cycle.  The solubility cycle, by which the ocean pulls carbon dioxide out of the air to maintain an equilibrium between the carbon content of the air and water, is by far the main factor in ocean absorption of carbon dioxide, while the bilogical cycle, by which carbon is pulled from the surface of the ocean downward, plays a negligible role. 

    In recent years, scientists have become increasingly concerned about the effect that the increased carbon content in the ocean will have on ocean life.  Since carbon dioxide dissolves in the ocean into carbonic acid, the absorption of carbon dioxide into the ocean leads to an increase in the ocean’s acidity, which could impair ocean life.

  3. 0 Votes

    Yes. Oceans are carbon sinks because they absorbs more carbon than they produce. A 2009 article found on The Earth Institute of Columbia University’s site supports what Maddie said, stating that the oceans absorb over a quarter of human-produced carbon dioxide, and that they took in 2.3 billion tons of CO2 created by fossil fuel burning in 2008. The most carbon is absorbed from the Southern Ocean near Antarctica, because it dissolves better in cold water than warm.

    The same study has also found evidence that not only are the oceans absorbing less of a percentage of CO2 due to greater emissions, but that the more acidic the ocean becomes, the less carbon dioxide it can absorb period. This means that more carbon will be absorbed into the atmosphere and other carbon sinks like forests.

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