The ocean carbon cycle [credit: IAEA]
“Based on our model calculations, we assume that current estimates of oceanic carbon uptake must be substantially corrected upwards”, said one researcher. A major revision, of ‘roughly 10% of our carbon budget’, is suggested. Phytoplankton hold the key.
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Phytoplankton need light and nutrients to grow. The microscopic algae rarely find both at the same time in sufficient quantities in the ocean. In the upper water layers, they usually lack nutrients, and further down, they lack light.
A new study led by the Helmholtz Center Hereon now says: Phytoplankton can migrate back and forth between deeper layers and the water surface.
If this were confirmed, it would have enormous consequences for the calculations of the natural carbon pump and thus for current calculations of the carbon budget.
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