Oceans Mitigate Global Warming
New findings show that our ocean, and the unique molecule—
water—are designed to ameliorate climate catastrophes
For Saturday, here are some news items relating to climate that should be good news for climate worriers. Catastrophic swings in climate appear to be mollified by water, the oceans, and the life forms that live in them. All these news items come from pro-warmist sources.
Headlines and brief statements are provided; feel free to browse the details in the articles.
Slime for the climate, delivered by brown algae (Max Planck Institute for Marine Biology, 26 Dec 2022). Brown algae—seaweed—has an unrecognized ability to store carbon.
Brown algae take up large amounts of carbon dioxide from the air and release parts of the carbon contained therein back into the environment in mucous form. This mucus is hard to break down for other ocean inhabitants, thus the carbon is removed from the atmosphere for a long time, as researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen now show. They reveal that the algal mucus called fucoidan is particularly responsible for this carbon removal and estimate that brown algae could thus remove up to 550 million tons of carbon dioxide from the air every year – almost the amount of Germany’s entire annual greenhouse gas emissions.
Oceans hold enormous potential in climate change fight (Heriot Watt University, 21 Dec 2022). Researchers at this university in Edinburgh think they can enhance ocean’s ability to act as a carbon sink. It already absorbs 25% of the global CO2 in the atmosphere.
The oceans are a huge carbon dioxide reservoir and we want to enhance that sink providing it does not harm marine eco-systems and that it can be done safely and responsibly. —Dr Phil Renforth
Groundwater replenishes much faster than scientists previously thought (Phys.org, 21 Dec 2022). Groundwater replenishes twice as fast as previously thought, this article says.
A large part of the world’s liquid freshwater supply comes from groundwater. These underground reservoirs of water—which are stored in soil and aquifers—feed streams, sustain agricultural lands, and provide drinking water to hundreds of millions of people.
The paper about this new finding is in Geophysical Research Letters. Its three key points show that scientists have underestimated how groundwater flow rate affects the water cycle. That’s another unknown that may change climate models.
- A global recharge data set indicates that climate strongly shapes the fraction of precipitation that will recharge groundwaters.
- This recharge data set indicates more recharge globally than existing global hydrological models suggest.
- Thus, more groundwater must contribute to evaporation and streamflow than represented by current global models and water cycle diagrams.
Glaciers have existed on Earth for at least 60 million years – far longer than previously thought (The Conversation, 15 Dec 2022). This article shows that even evolutionists know that life has prospered through far worse climate swings than scientists are projecting now. Glaciers retreated, but they came back.
As the climate cooled over the past 66 million years, Earth was pushed from a “greenhouse” into an “icehouse”, triggering ice ages and the growth of glaciers. The most dramatic cooling happened around 34 million years ago, when Antarctica first developed the ice sheets which now cover most of the continent in up to 4km of ice. However, it was less clear when the continent’s mountain glaciers first formed….
Our results instead indicate that Antarctica had glaciers even when it was much warmer than now and was mostly covered by dense sub-tropical forests. At the time, those were probably the only glaciers on Earth.
Meet the Neuston, the Diverse Organisms Living at the Ocean’s Surface (The Scientist, 2 Jan 2022). For a diversion, look at this gallery of surface-dwelling creatures. Who knows what impact these exotic and complex creatures have on ocean ecology, climate and the global food chain? Amanda Heidt confesses, “The ocean’s surface harbors an ecosystem of colorful, understudied life, ranging from protists and cnidarians to insects.”
Whales could be a valuable carbon sink, say scientists (Phys.org, 15 Dec 2022). It’s an amazing possibility: whales, among the largest animals, help mitigate climate change?
Nature-based solutions to fight climate change take a holistic approach that promotes biodiversity and ecosystem preservation. While many efforts have focused on planting trees or restoring wetlands, researchers publishing in Trends in Ecology and Evolution on December 15 advocate for the importance of understanding the carbon sequestration potential of the planet’s largest animals—whales.