Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Arctic sea ice helps remove CO2 from the atmosphere

22.09.2014

Climate change is a fact, and most of the warming is caused by human activity. The Arctic is now so warm that the extent of sea ice has decreased by about 30 pct. in summer and in winter, sea ice is getting thinner. New research has shown that sea ice removes CO2 from the atmosphere. If Arctic sea ice is reduced, we may therefore be facing an increase of atmospheric concentration of CO2, researchers warn.

Due to global warming, larger and larger areas of sea ice melt in the summer and when sea ice  freezes over in the winter it is thinner and more reduced. As the Arctic summers are getting warmer we may see an acceleration of global warming, because reduced sea ice in the Arctic will remove less CO2 from the atmosphere, Danish scientists report.


Dorte Haubjerg Søgaard from University of Denmark/Grønlands Naturinstitut studies how sea ice removes CO2 from the atmosphere. Photo: Søren Rysgaard.


Photo below: A frost flower has emerged on new sea ice. Photo: David Barber

"If our results are representative, then sea ice plays a greater role than expected, and we should take this into account in future global CO2 budgets", says Dorte Haubjerg Søgaard, PhD Fellow, Nordic Center for Earth Evolution, University of Southern Denmark and the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, Nuuk. 

Sea ice draws CO2 from the atmosphere

Only recently scientists have realized that sea ice has an impact on the planet's CO2 balance.

"We have long known that the Earth's oceans are able to absorb huge amounts of CO2. But we also thought that this did not apply to ocean areas covered by ice, because the ice was considered impenetrable. However, this is not true: New research shows that sea ice in the Arctic draws large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere into the ocean", says Dorte Haubjerg Søgaard.

Dorte Haubjerg Søgaard has just completed her studies of sea ice in Greenland. The studies show that sea ice may have a major impact on the global carbon cycle, and that chemical processes have a much greater impact on the sea ice's ability to remove CO2 than biological processes. The research is published as a series of articles in scientific journals.

"The chemical removal of CO2 in sea ice occurs in two phases. First crystals of calcium carbonate are formed in sea ice in winter. During this formation CO2 splits off and is dissolved in a heavy cold brine, which gets squeezed out of the ice and sinks into the deeper parts of the ocean. Calcium carbonate cannot move as freely as CO2 and therefore it stays in the sea ice. In summer, when the sea ice melts, calcium carbonate dissolves, and CO2 is needed for this process. Thus, CO2 gets drawn from the atmosphere into the ocean - and therefore CO2 gets removed from the atmosphere", explains Dorte Haubjerg Søgaard.

The biological removal of CO2 is done by algae binding of carbon in organic material.

Frost flowers also contribute

Another important discovery is that every winter flower-like ice formations are formed on the surface of newly formed sea ice. They are called frost flowers. Dorte Haubjerg Søgaard has discovered that these frost flowers hold extremely high concentrations of calcium carbonate, which can have a further significant impact on the potential CO2 uptake in the Arctic.

Contact

Ph.d. Dorte Haubjerg Søgaard, Tel: +299321200 and doso@natur.gl.

Ref:

The relative contributions of biological and abiotic processes to carbon dynamics in subarctic sea ice, Polar Biology: Dorte Haubjerg Søgaard, David N. Thomas, Søren Rysgaard, Ronnie Nøhr Glud, Louiza Norman, Hermanni Kaartokallio, Thomas Juul-Pedersen, Nicolas-Xavier Geilfus. doi 10.1007/s00300-013-1396-3.

Ikaite crystal distribution in winter sea ice and implications for CO2 system dynamics, The Cryosphere: S. Rysgaard, D. H. Søgaard, M. Cooper, M. Pućko, K. Lennert, T. N. Papakyriakou, F. Wang, N. X. Geilfus, R. N. Glud, J. Ehn, D. F. McGinnis, K. Attard, J. Sievers, J. W. Deming, and D. Barber. doi:10.5194/tc-7-707-2013.

Frost flowers on young Arctic sea ice, The climatic, chemical and microbial significance of an emerging ice type, Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres: D. G. Barber, J. K. Ehn, M. Pućko, S. Rysgaard,  J. W. Deming,  J. S. Bowman, T. Papakyriakou, R. J. Galley and  D. H. Søgaard. doi: 10.1002/2014JD021736.

Autotrophic and heterotrophic activity in Arctic first-year sea ice: seasonal study from Malene Bight, SW Greenland, Marine Ecology: Dorte Haubjerg Søgaard, Morten Kristensen, Søren Rysgaard, Ronnie Nøhr Glud, Per Juel Hansen, Karen Marie Hilligsøe.doi:10.3354/meps08845.

Birgitte Svennevig | Eurek Alert!

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle
22.06.2018 | Technical University of Denmark

nachricht Polar ice may be softer than we thought
22.06.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>