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Increasing levels of carbon dioxide in Arctic coastal seas
Date:6/18/2012

and carbon dioxide is consumed. This leads to the level in the sea being lower than in the air, and the sea absorbs carbon dioxide from the air," says Irne Whlstrm.

The western East Siberian Sea receives also a major contribution from rivers, both directly from the land and from the neighbouring Laptev Sea.

"The river water contains high levels of organic matter, which is partially broken down to carbon dioxide in the sea. This leads to the level in the sea being higher than in the air, and thus carbon dioxide flows from the sea into the air, accelerating climate change."

The Laptev Sea had an excess of carbon dioxide during the late summer of 2008 that was of the same order of magnitude as the western East Siberian Sea, probably caused by the breakdown of organic matter from the land.

The results suggest that the Laptev Sea has changed from being a sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide to become a source of carbon dioxide during the late summer. This will probably be reinforced by a higher air temperature, particularly if parts of the large reservoir of stored organic matter in the Arctic tundra thaw and are carried to the sea. This will further increase the rate of temperature rise of the Earth.


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Contact: Irne Whlstrm
irene.wohlstrom@chem.gu.se
46-317-869-053
University of Gothenburg
Source:Eurekalert  

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