Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Increasing levels of carbon dioxide in Arctic coastal seas

19.06.2012
The Arctic coastal seas absorb the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide to an ever-decreasing extent. This leads to an increase in the level in the atmosphere and an increase in the rate of warming in the Arctic. This is the conclusion from research carried out at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Most scientists consider that changes to the Earth’s climate are caused by increasing amounts of greenhouse gases released by humans from, for example, the combustion of fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide plays a major role in this process.

The oceans absorb carbon dioxide

Approximately half of the emission of carbon dioxide from human combustion of fossil fuels was absorbed by the oceans up until 1994. As the amount of carbon dioxide in the oceans rises, however, their capacity to absorb the gas falls, and it remains in the atmosphere.

“The greenhouse gases raise the temperature of the Earth and this increase is particularly noticeable in the Arctic. It is even more pronounced in Siberia and its coastal seas,” says Iréne Wåhlström, researcher in marine chemistry.

The increase in temperature has an impact on the environment in the Arctic – the cover of sea ice is lower, for example, and the supply of water from rivers increases, the permafrost thaws and the rate of coastal erosion increases.

“One consequence is that organic matter that has been stored in soil is carried to the seas, where it is partially broken down to carbon dioxide,” says Iréne Wåhlström.

Climate change affects the carbon dioxide system

Iréne Wåhlström has investigated two of the coastal seas off Siberia, the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea, in a ship-borne expedition, and – in the case of the Laptev Sea – by mathematical modelling.

The East Siberian Sea has a western part and an eastern part, into which water flows from the Pacific Ocean.

“The level of marine photosynthesis is high in these waters during the summer, 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 Iréne Wåhlström.

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.

The thesis has been successfully defended.

Bibliographic data
Authors: Wåhlström, I., Omstedt, A., Björk, G., Anderson, L.G.,
Title: Modelling the CO2 dynamics in the Laptev Sea
Journal: Arctic Ocean: Part I , J. Mar. Syst., accepted 2012.

For more information, please contact: Iréne Wåhlström, Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Gothenburg
Telephone: +46 31 786 9053
E-mail: irene.wohlstrom@chem.gu.se

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://www.gu.se
http://hdl.handle.net/2077/28865

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Giant see-saw of monsoon rains detected
26.09.2016 | Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung

nachricht A new 3D viewer for improved digital geoscience mapping
20.09.2016 | Uni Research

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First quantum photonic circuit with electrically driven light source

Optical quantum computers can revolutionize computer technology. A team of researchers led by scientists from Münster University and KIT now succeeded in putting a quantum optical experimental set-up onto a chip. In doing so, they have met one of the requirements for making it possible to use photonic circuits for optical quantum computers.

Optical quantum computers are what people are pinning their hopes on for tomorrow’s computer technology – whether for tap-proof data encryption, ultrafast...

Im Focus: OLED microdisplays in data glasses for improved human-machine interaction

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.

“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...

Im Focus: Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Discovery of New Materials

With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...

Im Focus: Complex hardmetal tools out of the 3D printer

For the first time, Fraunhofer IKTS shows additively manufactured hardmetal tools at WorldPM 2016 in Hamburg. Mechanical, chemical as well as a high heat resistance and extreme hardness are required from tools that are used in mechanical and automotive engineering or in plastics and building materials industry. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden managed the production of complex hardmetal tools via 3D printing in a quality that are in no way inferior to conventionally produced high-performance tools.

Fraunhofer IKTS counts decades of proven expertise in the development of hardmetals. To date, reliable cutting, drilling, pressing and stamping tools made of...

Im Focus: Launch of New Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing

At AKL’16, the International Laser Technology Congress held in May this year, interest in the topic of process control was greater than expected. Appropriately, the event was also used to launch the Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing. The group provides a forum for representatives from industry and research to initiate pre-competitive projects and discuss issues such as standards, potential cost savings and feasibility.

In the age of industry 4.0, laser technology is firmly established within manufacturing. A wide variety of laser techniques – from USP ablation and additive...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Laser use for neurosurgery and biofabrication - LaserForum 2016 focuses on medical technology

27.09.2016 | Event News

Experts from industry and academia discuss the future mobile telecommunications standard 5G

23.09.2016 | Event News

ICPE in Graz for the seventh time

20.09.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

New switch decides between genome repair and death of cells

27.09.2016 | Life Sciences

Nanotechnology for energy materials: Electrodes like leaf veins

27.09.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

‘Missing link’ found in the development of bioelectronic medicines

27.09.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>