Feeds

Boffins nail oceanic carbon capture process

It’s official: the Southern Ocean sucks

High performance access to file storage

The world’s oceans are known to be carbon sinks, but the process that draws CO2 from the air down into the deep ocean hasn’t been documented.

Until now.

A team of British and Australian scientists have identified huge plunging currents – as much as 1,000 kilometers wide – that appear to be key to the process of storing CO2 in the deep ocean. Those currents, the researchers say, are the result of local eddies (resulting from a combination of wind, currents, and massive whirlpools) that create localized pathways down from the surface.

Published in Nature Geoscience, the research used Argo robotic floats to help explore ocean dynamics up to 2 Km down, along with analysis of temperature, salinity, and pressure data.

The Argo floats – 80 in total – were deployed in 2002 and collected data for ten years as the basis of this research. CTD (conductivity, density and temperature) profilers were also used to collect data at depths of up to 7 Km, the researchers say.

The Southern Ocean is an important carbon sink (at least for those who believe that anthropogenic carbon emissions are driving climate change – a list which now includes formerly skeptical scientist Richard Muller). It’s calculated to take up as much as 40 percent of the CO2 absorbed by oceans (which in turn soak up a quarter of total annual emissions).

The British Antarctic Survey’s Dr Jean-Baptiste Sallée says the study means scientists are “better placed to understand the effects of changing climate and future carbon absorption by the ocean.”

Collaborator Dr Richard Matear of Australia’s CSIRO noted that while observations had measured the CO2 found in the deep ocean, it’s important to identify the pathways used to get there – particularly since significant climate change could change the behavior of those processes.

Southern Ocean currents are also affected by other atmospheric changes like ozone depletion, which could also change its effectiveness as a carbon sink.

He told The Conversation that the processes the team is researching “sets how much carbon the ocean can take up”.

As well as mapping the processes for incorporation in future modeling, the scientists believe the research could also help assess the effectiveness of methods proposed to increase the ocean’s carbon capture. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.