(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists at the University of Sydney in Australia have revealed that global warming, which occurred about 13 million years ago, has significantly accelerated the circulation of deep water in the oceans.
It is known that the ocean absorbs a quarter of all carbon dioxide that is emitted when fossil fuels are burned.
Planktonic organisms use the carbon dissolved in seawater to build shells, and when they die, they sink to the bottom, where they form the largest isolated reservoir of carbon on Earth. However, it was not known how global warming might affect this process.
The researchers analyzed data collected from drilling 200 wells to map deep sea sediments. Breaks in sedimentation indicate strong deep water currents, and continuous sedimentation is associated with calmer conditions.
It turned out that over the past 13 million years, as the Earth gradually cooled, breaks in sediments became more and more rare, that is, deep-sea circulation slowed down significantly.
Before that, a warmer climate was established on Earth, when global temperatures were 3-4 degrees Celsius higher than today, which made deep-sea circulation more intense.
According to the researchers’ findings, warmer oceans are potentially more efficient at storing carbon. However, to predict the consequences of modern global warming and its impact on the World Ocean, additional studies are needed.
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