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Emission of CO2 Levels Higher In Antarctica Than Believed

The team used the pH measurements to calculate the amount of dissolved carbon dioxide, and then uses that to figure out how strongly the water is absorbing or emitting carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

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Antarctica
Antarctica melting away at alarming rate: Study. Flcikr

The open water nearest to the sea ice surrounding Antarctica releases significantly more carbon dioxide in winter than previously believed, showed a study conducted using an array of robotic floats.

The robotic floats diving and drifting in the Southern Ocean around the southernmost continent made it possible to gather data during the peak of the Southern Hemisphere’s winter from a place that remains poorly studied, despite its role in regulating the global climate.

“These results came as a really big surprise, because previous studies found that the Southern Ocean was absorbing a lot of carbon dioxide,” said lead author Alison Gray, Assistant Professor at the University of Washington.

CO2, Antarctica
Carbon atoms move between rocks, rivers, plants, oceans and other sources in a planet-scale life cycle. Flickr

In the Southern Ocean region, carbon atoms move between rocks, rivers, plants, oceans and other sources in a planet-scale life cycle.

It is also among the world’s most turbulent bodies of water, which makes obtaining data extremely difficult.

According to the study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the floating instruments collected the new observations. The instruments dive down to 1 km and float with the currents for nine days.

Antarctic-sea
The open water nearest to the ice surrounding Antarctica releases more carbon dioxide. IANS

Next, they drop even farther, to 2 km, and then rise back to the surface while measuring water properties.

After surfacing they beam their observations back to shore via satellite.

Unlike more common Argo floats, which only measure ocean temperature and salinity, the robotic floats also monitor dissolved oxygen, nitrogen and pH — the relative acidity of water.

Also Read: In the Video: Possibilities of Ocean Floor Mapping

The study analysed data collected by 35 floats between 2014 and 2017.

The team used the pH measurements to calculate the amount of dissolved carbon dioxide, and then uses that to figure out how strongly the water is absorbing or emitting carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. (IANS)

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Antarctica’s Ice Melting Six Times Faster Due To Global Warming: Study

Warming ocean water will only speed up ice loss in the future.

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Antarctica, Ice
The Collins glacier on King George Island has retreated in the last 10 years and shows signs of fragility, in the Antarctic, Feb. 2, 2018. VOA

Global warming is melting ice in Antarctica faster than ever before — about six times more per year now than 40 years ago — leading to increasingly high sea levels worldwide, scientists warned on Monday.

Already, Antarctic melting has raised global sea levels more than half an inch (1.4 centimeters) between 1979 and 2017, said the report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a peer-reviewed US journal.

And the pace of melting is expected to lead to disastrous sea level rise in the years to come, according to lead author Eric Rignot, chair of Earth system science at the University of California, Irvine.

“As the Antarctic ice sheet continues to melt away, we expect multi-meter sea level rise from Antarctica in the coming centuries,” Rignot said.

Iceberg, Antarctica
Iceberg, Antarctica, Pixabay

A rise of 1.8 meters (six feet) by 2100, as some scientists forecast in worst-case scenarios would flood many coastal cities that are home to millions of people around the world, previous research has shown.

For the current study, researchers embarked on the longest-ever assessment of ice mass in the Antarctic, across 18 geographic regions.

Data came from high-resolution aerial photographs taken by NASA planes, along with satellite radar from multiple space agencies.

Researchers discovered that from 1979 to 1990, Antarctica shed an average of 40 billion tons of ice mass annually.

By the years 2009 to 2017, the ice loss had increased more than sixfold, to 252 billion tons per year.

A glacier is shown in a photo taken in Half Moon Bay, Antarctica, Feb. 18, 2018.
A glacier is shown in a photo taken in Half Moon Bay, Antarctica, Feb. 18, 2018. VOA

Even more worrying, researchers found that areas that were once considered “stable and immune to change” in East Antarctica, are shedding quite a lot of ice, too, said the study.

“The Wilkes Land sector of East Antarctica has, overall, always been an important participant in the mass loss, even as far back as the 1980s, as our research has shown,” Rignot said.

Also Read: Emission of CO2 Levels Higher In Antarctica Than Believed

“This region is probably more sensitive to climate than has traditionally been assumed, and that’s important to know, because it holds even more ice than West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula together.”

Warming ocean water will only speed up ice loss in the future, Rignot said.

Recent research has shown that oceans are heating up faster than previously thought, setting new heat records in the last few years. (VOA)