Oceans absorbing carbon dioxide more slowly, scientist finds

November 24, 2009

The world's oceans are absorbing less carbon dioxide (CO2), a Yale geophysicist has found after pooling data taken over the past 50 years. With the oceans currently absorbing over 40 percent of the CO2 emitted by human activity, this could quicken the pace of climate change, according to the study, which appears in the November 25 issue of Geophysical Research Letters.

Jeffrey Park, professor of geology and geophysics and director of the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies, used data collected from atmospheric observing stations in Hawaii, Alaska and Antarctica to study the relationship between fluctuations in global temperatures and the global abundance of on interannual (one to 10 years) time scales. A similar study from 20 years ago found a five-month lag between interannual temperature changes and the resulting changes in . Park has now found that this lag has increased from five to at least 15 months.

"No one had updated the analysis from 20 years ago," Park said. "I expected to find some change in the lag time, but the shift was surprisingly large. This is a big change."

With a longer lag time, atmospheric CO2 can no longer adjust fully to cyclical before the next cycle begins, suggesting that the oceans have lost some of their ability to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. Weaker CO2 absorption could be caused by a change in ocean circulation or just an overall increase in the surface temperature. "Think of the oceans like soda," Park said. "Warm cola holds less fizz," Park said. "The same thing happens as the oceans warm up."

Increases in CO2 levels have tended to precede increases in temperature over the past century, with the human influence on climate accumulating over many decades of burning and clearing forests. However, this relationship is reversed on interannual time scales, with multiyear temperature cycles leading multiyear cycles in CO2 levels.

Park found particularly strong correlations between sea-surface temperatures and CO2 levels in tropical areas. Conversely, in places with a lot of trees and other biomass to soak up much of the atmospheric CO2, there was little or no correlation between temperature and CO2 on interannual time scales. In those places, such as the vast forests of North America and Eurasia, a large annual CO2 cycle synchronizes with the seasonal growth and decay of plants.

"Researchers have used climate models that suggest the oceans have been absorbing less CO2, but this is the first study to quantify the change directly using observations," Park said. "It strengthens the projection that the oceans will not absorb as much of our future CO2 emissions, and that the pace of future climate change will quicken."

More information: doi:10.1029/2009GL040975

Source: Yale University (news : web)

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3 / 5 (6) Nov 24, 2009
A note to physorg, I think you need to run possibly the biggest science news story this century. It appears that Man Made Global warming science is not only wrong, but it is truely a scam.



Please investigate these allegations. If it turns out to be true, ie. Al Gore et al lied, manipulated the data, persecuted those speaking the truth, please be the leader in exposing the truth.

If this release is a fraud (ie. the emails and data released have been tampered with and modified to make global warming scientist look like frauds) let us know as well.

3.2 / 5 (9) Nov 24, 2009
They might as well have said the following, *With the oceans currently absorbing over 40 percent of the CO2 emitted by white males, this could quicken the pace of climate change, according to the study* As usual - it's all our fault.

Freethinking is correct - this GW is truly a scam -just like Paul Ehrlich's *overpopulation* scare and Paddocks *Famine 1975!* (the only redeeming value about this book is that it's politically incorrect).
3.7 / 5 (9) Nov 24, 2009
I swear I just saw an article on this site that effectively said "Don't worry, the ocean is an endless sink for CO2!"

Makes you wonder where the actual facts are, and how many of these "studies" manipulate the data to fit their own perceptions. Those two articles linked in the comment above are very disturbing - thank you for posting them.

While it looks like AGW is on its way out, though, this doesn't mean we should stop looking into renewable energy sources. Regardless if we are causing warming or not, fossil fuels will eventually run out and we'll need a fully developed alternative-energy economy by then. Less carbon legislation, more alternative energy research!
3 / 5 (8) Nov 24, 2009
FYI, I hate fossil fuels. I hate NO, CO, Smog and all the other pollution. (C02 not being pollution though). I think the internal combustion engine is old technology that needs to be replaced. I think we shouldn't be importing fuel from countries that want to destroy us.

That said, let us speak the truth. Let us work on real environmental problems. Lets get rid of all the liberal (or any, but liberal is predominate right now) bias in research and focus on the truth and not just agendas. Let us do what is best for people.

I once talked to a AGW believer about african people, how they burn dung for fuel and how bad that was and we should provide gas stoves to reduce pollution. She was furious. Dung is all natural, renewable and carbon nutral. Gas released C02 and used non-renewable resources.

How many people have died because of AGW agenda? Lets have an true investigation. If AGW is a true scam, lets jail those who lied. If these documents are forged, tell us now.
3 / 5 (4) Nov 25, 2009
I have not had the opportunity to browse through the 60-odd Mb of documents, I can only say what I see whith my own eyes. Where I live, in North Sweden, the climate is getting warmer, parasitic organisms that once were killed off by winter are thriving, and trees are invading the former permafrost, reducing the area providing the lichen the reindeers rely on.
Reply to danman5000 -I think I saw an article stating that the ocean is dissolving a similar fraction of CO2 as before, but this is not a license to produce more CO2 -first, because science often produce seemingly conflicting results that are only solved by better models, and secondly because the CO2 reduce the pH level of the oceans, threatening to dissolve the shells of clams and arthropods.
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 25, 2009

And where I have been living for the last 9 years has been getting colder. Regions climates shift. CO2 produced by humans is insignificant. CO2 levels, like temperatures, change without human intervention. Scammers are playing on your fears and ignorance to take your money, take your freedom, reduce your living standard. Dont believe me take a look at what the proponants of AGW want to do. Then take a look at their data. Then take a look at their emails.
not rated yet Nov 27, 2009
CO2 produced by humans is insignificant.
Reference please?
2 / 5 (1) Nov 28, 2009
One fact needs to be kept in mind. This is not an opinion, nor is it a theory. It really is quite easy to measure the CO2 for the last few hundred years, and CO2 levels today are about 30% higher than they were in 1750.

Whether or not you believe in global warming, or believe that mankind has had a hand in it, the above is simply indisputable.

Birger's experience is being reported all around the globe by ordinary people, not scientists. These reports are coming in by the tens of thousands from Alaska, Siberia, Scandinavia, Iceland, and Greenland.

Whole cultures in the north are being affected right now. Not in the future, not just as projected by scientists models. So this blather about emails and what some narrow minded scientist said to another is just noise.
1 / 5 (1) Nov 28, 2009
Thanks, Parsec-
Well said. Something that rarely gets stated is that research is continually being published that points to the failure of many interrelated systems worldwide. Not failure, exactly, but change. Changes that will contribute to larger changes that will have/ARE HAVING global effects. NEGATIVE effects in terms of human interests- not to mention the interests of all other life on this planet, just as you and Birger have pointed out.

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