The Earth’s warming climate is reducing snow and ice. The warming of the polar seas causes the sea surface to freeze less in winter and glaciers to retreat, generating more open, ice-free water. Less sea ice provides a longer growing season for marine plants called microalgae (phytoplankton) and removes more carbon, in the form of carbon dioxide, from the atmosphere. The growth of microalgae provides more food for animals that eat the algae and store this carbon through growth of their bodies. The carbon stored by marine life is called blue carbon. When marine animals die some of the blue carbon is buried in the seabed, and that carbon is removed from the carbon cycle. This trapping of carbon in the seabed or in other places is called sequestration. The amount of polar blue carbon increases with climate warming. This is known as negative feedback on climate change. Any negative feedback on climate change is important to help combat global warming. In this article explains what we have learned from measuring blue carbon.
Authors: Barnes, David K.A. ORCID record for David K.A. Barnes