Carbon dioxide levels rising at a breakneck speed in the air are also finding their way into water bodies, thereby contaminating them. It is said that oceans in the world soak up almost 30 percent of the carbon dioxide emitted by us humans. In a way, they have thwarted the accumulation of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere and, hence global warming too.
And now a research study by oceanographer Wei-Jun Cai from the University of Delaware, along with other experts in the fields from different other universities have shown that the water over the continental shelves has larger proportions of carbon dioxide in it, thus making it highly acidic. This does not bode well for the ocean ecosystem and the marine organisms it is home to, though.
Findings of Research Can Help in Global Carbon Budget
The research study published in Nature Communications on January 31, could be particularly useful to scientists trying to figure out the global carbon budget.
To conduct the study, the researchers made use of both recent and historical data from the past 35 years to uncover the patterns for absorption of carbon dioxide in the coastal ocean. They discovered that the carbon dioxide level in the open ocean is growing in tandem with that in the atmosphere. In coastal ocean, on the other hand, they are rising at a slower pace.
This is on account of a shallower coastal ocean which can swiftly transfer sequestered carbon dioxide to the deep ocean. Smaller in size than open ocean, the coastal zones exchange large amounts of carbon dioxide between air and water.