We count on the ocean to act as a “carbon sink,” sucking much of the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Without this, global warming would be progressing much more quickly. But now scientists say that the amount of carbon dioxide being absorbed by the world’s oceans has diminished.

BBC News reports that “scientists believe global warming might get worse if the oceans soak up less of the greenhouse gas,” and quotes environmentalist Roger Harrabin as saying, “The researchers don’t know if the change is due to climate change or to natural variations. But they say it is a tremendous surprise and very worrying because there were grounds for believing that in time the ocean might become ‘saturated’ with our emissions?unable to soak up any more.”

In the Oct. 23 edition of the Independent, Steve Connor also writes about the “dramatic decline in the ability of the Earth to soak up man-made emissions of carbon dioxide, and a corresponding acceleration in the rate of increase of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.”

Connor says “the discovery that more carbon dioxide from human activities is lingering in the air rather being absorbed by the world’s forests and oceans has alarmed scientists who believe that it signals a potentially dangerous turn of events for the global climate. They fear that a much anticipated ‘feedback’ in the global climate?when increases in carbon dioxide in the air trigger further increases in atmospheric concentrations of the gas?has already begun to occur decades before many predicted.”

Art credit: gimp-savvy.com

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