Massive Ocean Eddies Contribute to Carbon Capture

Published on August 2nd, 2012 | by

Ocean Whirlpool

Massive ocean eddies about sixty miles in diameter help move carbon from the ocean’s surface into its depths, where it stays for hundreds or thousands of years.

Scientists have known that about one fourth of the Earth’s carbon dioxide is stored under the oceans, but until recently, they weren’t sure of the mechanism moving the carbon from the ocean’s surface to its depths.  After examining ten years of data from deep sea robots, the team found five of massive eddies in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica.

The settling of carbon to the ocean floor provides a buffer against climate change.  With the seas warming and changing, will the eddies slow down or speed up or change in some other way?

Scientists find CO2-sucking funnels in Southern Ocean (via AFP)

Scientists said Sunday they had unraveled the mechanism by which Earth-warming carbon is sucked deep into the Southern Ocean to be safely locked away — a process that may itself be threatened by climate change. Wind, eddies and currents work together to create carbon-sucking funnels, said the research…

Ocean whirlpool via Shutterstock

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