Deep Seas and Climate Change
Scientists believe that the restoration of species diversity after a particularly intense cooling period may have taken thousands of years, and concluded that the ecosystem collapse could have resulted from natural cooling or anthropogenic warming in the face of altered current circulation patterns. The study confirms that the entire planet, including the deep seas, is at risk for great change if global warming continues.
Groundbreaking experiments have recently shown that deep sea trenches may have a significant role in climate change. Scientists have discovered that the deepest parts of the Earth’s oceans trap far more carbon dioxide that previously thought. Preliminary data suggest that the ocean’s trenches accumulate large amounts of the greenhouse gas because they trap more organic matter and sediment than other parts of the ocean. The Earth’s oceans absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide. More than 50 percent of the gases emitted into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels is absorbed by ocean water.
Using new technology, researchers now plan to evaluate the amount of carbon stored in trenches and compare their findings with data from other parts of the ocean. The comparison will illuminate the effects trenches have on climate regulation and increase our understanding of the role they play in the deep sea carbon cycle.