Ocean: New source of global warming


ICY NORTH. An aerial view of the research ship 'Polarstern' (North Star) sailing on the Artic Ocean at the North Pole, October 6, 2011. Photo by EPA/Stefan Hendriks / Alred Wegener Institute handout

Oceans that grow more acidic through Man’s fossil fuel burning emissions, can amplify global warming by releasing less of a gas that helps shield Earth from radiation, a study said on August 25. The authors warned the potentially vast effect they uncovered is not currently factored into climate change projections. Scientists say that man’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions contribute to planetary warming by letting the Sun’s heat through the atmosphere but trapping heat energy reflected back from Earth, so creating a greenhouse effect. They also lower the pH balance of the world’s oceans, making them more acidic, and hamper production of dimethyl sulfide (DMS). Using climate simulations, the team said an 18% decline in DMS emissions by 2100 could contribute as much as 0.48°C (0.9°F) to the global temperature.

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