Ocean CO2 will accelerate warming

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 26 April 2011

Global warming of the world’s oceans can return huge stores of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere quicker than previously thought, Australian researchers say.

Air bubbles in an ice core; these bubbles preserve an archive of CO2 and other gases in the atmosphere.

The oceans can take in and hold about 30 percent of human carbon dioxide emissions dissolved in their depths, slowing the rise of global warming somewhat, but as the warming continues the oceans emit CO2 and accelerate the warming, researchers say.

However, while previous studies have suggested it requires between 400 and 1,300 years for this to happen, a new study has reduced that time period significantly, NewScientist.com reported Monday.

“We now think the delay is more like 200 years, possibly even less,” says Tas van Ommen from the Australian Antarctic Division in Hobart, who led the study.

Van Ommen and colleagues studied CO2 bubbles trapped in Antarctic ice cores and compared their measurements with records of atmospheric temperatures from the same time period.

When temperature went up carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased, as expected, but the ice core data showed the lag was about 200 years, much shorter than previous studies found, the researchers said.

Climate modeling will need to be done before any speculation on how the results relate to current warming, Van Ommen said.

Source: UPI

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