Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fjords are 'hotspots' in global carbon cycling

05.05.2015

While fjords are celebrated for their beauty, these ecosystems are also major carbon sinks that likely play an important role in the regulation of the planet's climate, new research reveals.

The finding is newly published in the international journal Nature Geoscience.

After studying sediment data from worldwide fjord systems, the researchers, who include Dr Candida Savage of New Zealand's University of Otago, estimate that about 18 million tonnes of organic carbon (OC) is buried in fjords each year, equivalent to 11% of annual marine carbon burial globally.


While fjords are celebrated for their beauty, these ecosystems are also major carbon sinks that likely play an important role in the regulation of the planet's climate, new research reveals.

Credit: Candida Savage

Dr Savage and colleagues calculated that per unit area, fjord organic carbon burial rates are twice as large as the ocean average.

"Therefore, even though they account for only 0.1% of the surface area of oceans globally, fjords act as hotspots for organic carbon burial," Dr Savage says.

Fjords are long, deep and narrow estuaries formed at high latitudes during glacial periods as advancing glaciers incise major valleys near the coast. They are found in North Western Europe, Greenland, North America, New Zealand, and Antarctica.

As deep and often low oxygen marine environments, fjords provide stable sites for carbon-rich sediments to accumulate, Dr Savage says.

Carbon burial is an important natural process that provides the largest carbon sink on the planet and influences atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels at multi-thousand-year time scales.

In the Nature Geoscience article, the researchers suggest that fjords may play an especially important role as a driver of atmospheric CO2 levels during times when ice sheets are advancing or retreating.

The Earth is currently in an interglacial period after ice sheets receded around 11,700 years ago.

During glacial retreats, fjords would trap and prevent large volumes of organic carbon flowing out to the continental shelf, where chemical processes would have caused CO2 to be produced, says Dr Savage.

Once glaciers started advancing again this material would likely then be pushed out onto the shelf and CO2 production would increase.

"In essence, fjords appear to act as a major temporary storage site for organic carbon in between glacial periods. This finding has important implications for improving our understanding of global carbon cycling and climate change," she says.

The research involved fieldwork in Fiordland and analysing data from 573 surface sediment samples and 124 sediment cores from fjords around the world.

Dr. Candida Savage | EurekAlert!

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A materials scientist’s dream come true

21.08.2018 | Materials Sciences

Quantum bugs, meet your new swatter

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

A novel synthetic antibody enables conditional “protein knockdown” in vertebrates

20.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>