Monday November 27, 2023


Carbon storage has been a key focus in recent years to draw down natural and anthropogenic sources of carbon dioxide and help the fight against global warming, and particularly focuses on terrestrial forests and soils, as well as wetland mangroves and seagrasses.

An alternative carbon reservoir can be found in marine sediments, such as those on marginal continental shelves, which account for only 8% of the world’s ocean area but have the capacity to store 80% of the planet’s organic carbon (126.2 teragrams per year). Marine organic carbon is derived from phytoplankton and the metabolic actions of microbes in sediments, while terrestrial sources from riverine transport and coastal erosion also bring carbon-rich material to the ocean floor.

New research, published in Frontiers in Marine Science, has calculated carbon storage in the western Pacific Ocean since 1855, noting specifically the negative impact of reservoir construction on carbon stocks.

Dr. Haili Ma, of the Ocean University of China, and colleagues took 17 sediment cores from the South Yellow Sea and East China Sea, measuring for total organic carbon (the concentration of organic carbon in a sample, derived from nature through plants, for example).

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