From: naturenews
Published December 10, 2008 09:58 AM

Ozone hole weakens oceanic carbon sink

A new model links stratospheric ozone depletion to ocean acidification.

The hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica may be impairing the Southern Ocean's ability to mop up carbon dioxide from Earth's atmosphere, according to work presented at a meeting in France today.

Earth's oceans are the largest sink of carbon dioxide, with the Southern Ocean accounting for more than 40% of the annual oceanic uptake of the greenhouse gas, says Andrew Lenton, a marine biochemist at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris. In theory, seas should soak up more carbon dioxide as levels of the gas in the atmosphere rise.


But recent measurements have bucked simulations1–3 and shown that the Southern Ocean's surface waters have higher carbon levels than expected, which also makes them more acidic. As a result, the amount of CO2 that the ocean absorbs each year has also flattened out.

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