Arctic sea ice helps remove CO2 from the atmosphere

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

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 , larger and larger areas of 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.

"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.

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.

Arctic sea ice helps remove CO2 from the atmosphere
A frost flower was just created on new sea ice. Credit: David Barber

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.

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 , which can have a further significant impact on the potential CO2 uptake in the Arctic.


Explore further

Large sea ice changes North of Swalbard

More information: 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

Citation: Arctic sea ice helps remove CO2 from the atmosphere (2014, September 22) retrieved 18 September 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-09-arctic-sea-ice-co2-atmosphere.html
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Sep 22, 2014
What planet are climate researchers living on? Most of the year the global sea ice was above the average:
http://arctic.atm...rend.jpg
This means at least two things:
1. Greater albedo, hence more sunlight reflected back to space, so no one can cay "Polar Amplification" with straight face anymore.
2. More CO2 captured, not less, as this article implies.

Sep 22, 2014
What planet are climate researchers living on? Most of the year the global sea ice was above the average:
http://arctic.atm...rend.jpg
This means at least two things:
1. Greater albedo, hence more sunlight reflected back to space, so no one can cay "Polar Amplification" with straight face anymore.
2. More CO2 captured, not less, as this article implies.

First of all your "above the average", applies only to the last 2 years, and it is for both poles, so to say "no one can cay "Polar Amplification" with straight face anymore" is disingenuous. As the amplification is only taking place in the Arctic at present .... and no, I'm not repeating the reasons for the nth time again, at least not yet.
Second, amplification will eventually occur in the Antarctic too, and CO2 sinking will reduce, as the article correctly implies.

Sep 23, 2014
Either the ice at the poles has gotten thicker or it is melting away, you cannot have it both ways and lying about climate is nothing more the political scare mongering.....get rid of the UN and it's corruption...

Sep 23, 2014
Either the ice at the poles has gotten thicker or it is melting away, you cannot have it both ways and lying about climate is nothing more the political scare mongering.....get rid of the UN and it's corruption...


It is doing both those things in the Arctic, as anyone who, like me, regularly views the NSIDC website.
There is no scaremongering other than from journalists (it sells) and the UN has nothing to do with the IPCC - that is a group of experts coining up with a consensus of findings that inform politicians. Like all deniers you put the cart before the horse.

Oct 21, 2014
It's a fact that World Wide Global Temperatures have not risen in the last 20 years.
It is a fact that deep oceans temps have not increased.
It is a fact that if you want grants you must like you study somehow to AGW.
It is a fact that AGW proponents like Al Gore are making millions from this AGW scare.
It is a fact that AGW proponents are hypocrites. How many private jets does Al Gore and other multimillionaire AGW proponents have? How many mansions, monster cars, etc. If they are concerned... why don't they lead by example.

Basically AGW boils down to is money for rich elite and more power for corrupt governments.

If you want corruption and incompetence.... you can vote for democrat. (Unfortunately.... democrats have a habit of voting often, even when dead, in jail, or otherwise prohibited from legally voting, stuffing ballots.)

NOM
Oct 21, 2014
If you want corruption and incompetence.... you can vote for democrat.
Do you realise that you are on a british website?
Do you realise that most of the posters here are not from your country?
Do you realise that most of the world can't tell the difference between the political parties in your country?
Do you realise that most of the world don't care about the politics of your country?

Oct 22, 2014
Yes and Progressives from the UK support the Progressives in the USA. Physorg actively supports Obama and the Democrats by posting articles that promote the Democrats agenda.

Before the last election, physorg ran article after article promoting Obamacare, repeating the lies that it will reduce healthcare costs, that it will improve healthcare access, and that it will be good for the USA economy. Whenever Obama made a point (gun control, environment, healthcare, renewable energy) made a point, Physorg copied that point in an article and ran an article in support.

Even today, you can watch the articles on Phyorg and they parrot the DNC's talking points. My guess is that phyorg gets money either directly from the US government (like webmd receiving millions of dollars to support Obamacare) or from the Democratic National Congress.

For Progressives, For Democrats, truth doesn't matter only agenda matters.

Oct 22, 2014
So why does Physorg run DNC talking points, why are there so many DNC and Paid Progressive (USA) Government Trolls on this site, if this site has no influence on US politics?


Oct 25, 2014
TegiriNenashi claimed
What planet are climate researchers living on? Most of the year the global sea ice was above the average:
Mate, problems with your post:-

1. Pity U didn't bother to do a piecewise average on the lower red graph from ~2000, you'd see MORE samples below 0 than above previously.
2. There is NO indication of mass (Shown previously mass is decreasing)

If you wish to be see seriously in science then you SHOULD know already to post raw data so relative averages of 5, 10 yrs etc can be determined, plotted & discussed. Since you went to trouble then u must support your claim with CSV's etc such as of the graph linked.

TegiriNenashi further claimed
2. More CO2 captured, not less, as this article implies.
Look more closely without propaganda at YOUR link, if fact it could show that DESPITE increased absorption CO2 is STILL climbing which (thanks TegiriNenashi) is therefore proof we have even more latent problems re CO2 !

Oct 25, 2014
freethinking lying again
It's a fact that World Wide Global Temperatures have not risen in the last 20 years.
Although you MUST include oceans, here is site used by deniers showing increases:- http://www.woodfo...rg/notes
It is a fact that deep oceans temps have not increased.
Only true thing said but you IGNORE upper ocean temps, ie ~top Km or so

Why is that ?
It is a fact that AGW proponents like Al Gore are making millions from this AGW scare.
How - precisely ?
Basically AGW boils down to is money for rich elite and more power for corrupt governments.
Unlike republican support for oil companies, seen their incomes recently:-
http://en.wikiped...d_losses

Several million regularly paid to those to sell their integrity obfuscating science.

Don't you notice freethinking your approach has so much political propaganda, no education & selective bias, why not look at fundamentals of science evidence ?

Oct 25, 2014
TegiriNenashi proves he's unbalanced in data mining
Most of the year the global sea ice was above the average:
You linked from artic.atmos.uiuc.edu BUT, why were U expressly unfair ?

It looks so much like you WANT to be seen (so easily) biased, here are links from the SAME site which refute your claim (further to your earlier link):-

Which way is the mean moving TegiriNenashi ?
http://arctic.atm...ctic.png

Does this look like its rising on the right TegiriNenashi ?
http://arctic.atm...ctic.png

& this interesting interactive link too, we going up or down TegiriNenashi ?
http://arctic.atm...ive.html

Can't you see TegiriNenashi, you are shown wrong AGAIN, incompetent or lying - which ?

Oh & WHERE is mass report TegiriNenashi ?

Understand now how to communicate effectively & be smarter TegiriNenashi ?

Oct 25, 2014
freethinking Proves he cannot "do science" is ONLY able to focus on Politics
For Progressives, For Democrats, truth doesn't matter only agenda matters.
Why freethinking, have you NEVER been able to understand that properties of greenhouse gases have nothing to do with ANY politics ?

Show us/FIND an experiment which changes its instrumented output depending on whether a republican or democrat operates instruments ?

Or would you claim its only instruments manufactured by democrat companies that show CO2 is a greenhouse gas ?

Care to find a republican run company that produces instruments which show CO2 is NOT a greenhouse gas ?

Here is a simple question for U freethinking but, careful it requires a fair to good education in physics (nothing to do with politics):-

"How can adding a greenhouse gas to the atmosphere with known thermal properties of re-radiation NOT increase thermal resistivity ?"

Over to you - Science please :-)

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