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Algae stole our carbon

发布时间:2019-03-08 02:17:08来源:未知点击:

By Debora MacKenzie CURRENTS spreading into the ocean from the coast of Spain may provide an important clue to where the world’s carbon is going. Every year living things and fossil fuels produce more CO2 than can be accounted for in the atmosphere. Scientists think that photosynthesis must soak up the missing CO2, but they can’t get the figures to add up. At a meeting last week, European oceanographers said they may have found part of the “missing sink”. The water surging into the open ocean from the Iberian Peninsula may pull more carbon out of the air than previously suspected. Nutrient-rich water from a deep upwelling near the coast causes a burst of algal growth. When algae are eaten, the CO2 they absorbed is recycled back into the atmosphere. But some of the water from the upwelling travels hundreds of kilometres further into the open Atlantic, causing even more algae to grow. In the open ocean, the algae simply die and sink—taking their carbon with them. “What we didn’t realise before was how much of an effect this has,” says Fauzi Mantouri,