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Can our Oceans Keep Cleaning Up our Air?

How deep is the ocean’s capacity to buffer against climate change? Right now our oceans absorb almost one-third of all our greenhouse gas emissions. During the past three decades, increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide have largely been matched by corresponding increases in dissolved carbon dioxide in the seawater, but climatologists don't know if the ocean can continue mopping up human-produced carbon at the same rate. Warmer water can't hold as much carbon dioxide, so the ocean's carbon capacity is decreasing as it warms.

Previous studies on the topic have yielded conflicting results. One of the biggest challenges in figuring out how climate is affecting the ocean is simply a lack of data, with available information clustered along shipping lanes and other areas where scientists can take advantage of existing boat traffic. But now there is direct observational evidence that climate change is negatively impacting the ocean's ability to do this job. Researcher Galen McKinley says, "The ocean is taking up less carbon because of the warming caused by the carbon in the atmosphere."

In 1998, Whitley Strieber had never heard of climate change, but the Master of the Key burst into his hotel room in Toronto and told him all about it. The new edition of The Key, with a foreword that talks about how many of his statements later turned out to be true, is in bookstores NOW, and if you can't find it there, you can get it from Whitley's book collection--along with a free, autographed bookplate!




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