Climate change - why seas matter
Keskiviikko 25.7.2018 klo 16:37 - Mikko Nikinmaa
Compared to the terrestrial environment the seas contain fifty times more carbon dioxide. Further, about half of all photosynthetic carbon dioxide removal is done by oceanic organisms, mainly phytoplankton, which partly remove carbon from circulation, when they sink to seabottom after dying.
An increasing temperature decreases the solubility of carbon dioxide and ocean acidification means that the equilibrium between carbon dioxide, bicarbonate and carbonate is driven towards carbon dioxide. Further, the pollution of the seas has resulted in reduced photosynthesis despite eutrophication in some areas.
The net result of the above is that liberation of the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, from the seas to the atmosphere increases simultaneously as its photosynthetic fixation decreases. Furthermore, the marine environment enters vicious circle: the higher the temperature and lower pH, the more carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere and causes further temperature increase.
The well-being of the seas thus matters - also in mitigating climate change.