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:3/22/2017)... , March 21, 2017 Optimove ... used by retailers such as 1-800-Flowers and AdoreMe, ... — Product Recommendations and Replenishment. Using Optimove,s machine learning ... personalized product and replenishment recommendations to their customers ... on predictions of customer intent drawn from a ...
(Date:3/16/2017)... CeBIT 2017 - Against identity fraud with DERMALOG solutions "Made in Germany ... ... one project, multi-biometric solutions provide a crucial contribution against identity fraud. (PRNewsFoto/Dermalog Identification Systems) ... Used combined in one project, multi-biometric solutions provide a crucial contribution ... ...
(Date:3/7/2017)... Brandwatch , the leading social intelligence company, today ... to uncover insights to support its reporting, help direct future ... UK,s leading youth charity will be using Brandwatch Analytics social listening ... better understanding of the topics and issues that are a priority ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/24/2017)... VILLAGE, Calif. , March 24, 2017   ... dermatology and aesthetics company, today announced that Richard ... Officer, effective March 24.   Peterson, who brings ... succeed John Smither , who is retiring at ... Sienna in an advisory capacity. Peterson joins Sienna from ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... 23, 2017  Northwest Biotherapeutics (OTCQB: NWBO) (NW ... therapies for solid tumor cancers, today announced that ... it announced last Friday, March 17, 2017. ... investors securities totaling 28,843,692 shares, comprised of 18,843,692 ... shares of Class C Warrants pre-funded at the ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... March 23, 2017 Kineta, Inc., a ... novel therapies in immuno-oncology, today announced the discovery ... molecule compounds that activate interferon response factor 3 ... demonstrate immune-mediated tumor regression in a murine colon ... who demonstrated complete tumor regression to initial drug ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... , ... March 23, 2017 , ... ... solutions, today announced the hire of Dr. Sigmund “Sig” Floyd as Vice President ... strategic partnerships and joint development activities. , “Dr. Floyd’s career has spanned 30 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: