Navigation Links
Study in Science cites impact of anthropogenic nitrogen on ocean biology, atmospheric CO2

VIRGINIA KEY, Fla. Since the 1980s Dr. Joseph M. Prospero, professor of Marine and Atmospheric Chemistry at the University of Miamis Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, has pioneered studies in the worldwide measurement of aerosols, fine particles suspended in the atmosphere and carried by winds. His teams work focuses on the aerosol chemistry of the marine atmosphere. They are particularly interested in the long-range transport of pollutants from the continents to the oceans and their impact on climate and on biogeochemical processes in ocean waters.

Starting in 1980 Prospero established a network of island stations in the North and South Pacific Oceans. These stations made continuous measurements of the concentration of major aerosol species that play a role in climate: mineral dust, nitrate, sulfate, and sea salt. The network was eventually extended to the Indian Ocean and Antarctica. Throughout the 80s and into the late 90s the UM team maintained a total of 30 stations in constant operation in all ocean regions. The data obtained are unique and they have played a critical role in the development and testing of the global chemical transport models used in the recent climate assessment carried out by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Prosperos data plays a central role in a paper that appears in the May 16 issue of Science, Impacts of Atmospheric Anthropogenic Nitrogen on the Open Ocean. Spearheaded by Dr. Robert Duce from Texas A&M, the study highlights the importance of the Earths nitrogen cycle, and its vital link to the global carbon cycle, especially the atmospheric concentration of CO2, the greenhouse gas responsible for most of the global warming effects observed during the past century.

Scientists have long known that biological processes in the ocean play an important role in the global carbon cycle. Algae and other forms of marine life take up CO2 and nutrients from ocean surface waters and, through the process of photosynthesis, reproduce and grow rapidly in total mass. This process draws CO2 from the atmosphere and partially offsets the growth of CO2 from human activities. Every year approximately one-third of the CO2 released into the atmosphere because of human activities, is taken up by the oceans.

Consequently any processes that affect the ocean uptake of CO2 can have an effect on global warming.

Various nitrogen compounds, especially nitrates and ammonium, play an important role in oceans photosynthesis by acting as fertilizers that stimulate the growth of marine organisms. Because of human activities, the emission rates of these compounds have increased greatly over the last 100 years. The transport of these compounds to the oceans, mostly through the atmosphere, have acted to increase the draw-down of CO2 from the atmosphere.

The paper in Science compares emissions of nitrogen compounds in the year 1860, before humans had a great impact on pollution emissions, with current emissions. Today pollutant nitrogen deposition to the oceans accounts for about ten percent of the draw-down of CO2 from the atmosphere to the ocean. However, the deposition of these pollutants also results in the increased emissions of nitrous oxide, N2O, which is also a potent greenhouse gas. The net effect is that the N2O emissions offset about one-third of the effects of the increased drawdown of CO2 due to pollution deposition.

The team who wrote the paper appearing in Science also estimates emissions for the year 2020 using scenarios from the IPCC report. All of us are concerned that the amount of anthropogenic nitrogen transported to the oceans will to continue to rise in the future, commented Prospero.


Contact: Barbra Gonzalez
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

Related biology news :

1. Childhood obesity indicates greater risk of school absenteeism, Penn study reveals
2. A study by the MUHC and McGill University opens a new door to understanding cancer
3. Study begins to reveal clues to the cause and progression of sepsis
4. Clones on task serve greater good, evolutionary study shows
5. New study warns limited carbon market puts 20 percent of tropical forest at risk
6. New study examines how rearing environment can alter navigation
7. Study links cat disease to flame retardants in furniture and to pet food
8. New continent and species discovered in Atlantic study
9. Study shows link between alcohol consumption and hiv disease progression
10. Feeling hot, hot, hot: New study suggests ways to control fever-induced seizures
11. Study finds environmental tests help predict hospital-acquired Legionnaires disease risk
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015  Rubicon Genomics, ... for U.S. distribution of its DNA library preparation ... and Rubicon,s new ThruPLEX Plasma-seq kit. ThruPLEX Plasma-seq ... the preparation of NGS libraries for liquid biopsies--the ... diagnostic and prognostic applications in cancer and other ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... -- Munich, Germany , October ... automatically maps data from mobile eye tracking videos created ... that they can be quantitatively analyzed with SMI,s analysis ... , October 28-29, 2015. SMI,s Automated Semantic Gaze ... tracking videos created with SMI,s Eye Tracking Glasses ...
(Date:10/23/2015)... , Oct. 23, 2015 Research and ... the "Global Voice Recognition Biometrics Market 2015-2019" ... --> The global voice recognition biometrics ... 2014-2019. --> --> ... has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... CITY , Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna ... affirms that its business and prospects remain fundamentally ... , Zoptrex™ (zoptarelin doxorubicin) recently received DSMB recommendation ... to completion following review of the final interim ... Phase 2 Primary Endpoint in men with heavily ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Jessica Richman and Zachary Apte, ... their initial angel funding process. Now, they are paying it forward to other ... stage investments in the microbiome space. In this, they join other successful ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: HALO ) will be presenting at the ... on Wednesday, December 2 at 9:30 a.m. ET/6:30 a.m. PT . ... a corporate overview. th Annual Oppenheimer Healthcare Conference ... a.m. PT . Jim Mazzola , vice president of ... --> th Annual Oppenheimer Healthcare Conference in ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris ... of IIROC on behalf of the Toronto Stock Exchange, ... release there are no corporate developments that would cause ... --> --> About Aeterna ... . --> Aeterna Zentaris is a ...
Breaking Biology Technology: