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34 Billion Tons of Carbon Get Stored in World's Oceans, Impacting Marine Life

N Gruber, ETH Zurich

Humans are pumping a lot of carbon into our environment. Since most of those emissions come in the form of exhaust from power plants, ships, and cars, you might think that carbon stays in atmosphere. But much of it is actually stored in the oceans.

A team of international scientists spent 10 years measuring how our oceans absorb carbon – and how that carbon changes oceans. One of them was University of Hawaii oceanographer Christopher Sabine.

He told The Conversation that the world's oceans are absorbing 7 million tons of carbon every day. All of that carbon is having a noticeable impact on the marine ecosystem. Increasing concentrations of carbon make it more difficult for any creatures that grow using calcium carbonate, like corals and some shell fish.

The higher levels of carbon are also making the oceans noisier, by impeding the creation of a chemical compound that helps absorb soundwaves in ocean water.

The full study on carbon sequestration in the ocean can be read here.


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