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Global Ocean is Absorbing More Carbon from Fossil Fuel Emissions

The new research published by NOAA and international partners in Science finds as carbon dioxide emissions have increased in the atmosphere, the ocean has absorbed a greater volume of emissions. Though the volume of carbon dioxide going into the ocean is increasing, the percentage of emissions — about 31 percent — absorbed by it has remained relatively stable when compared to the first survey of carbon in the global ocean published in 2004.

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AOML-led Carbon Dioxide Sampling Effort Helps Quantify the Ocean’s Role in Global Carbon Budget

Researchers with the Global Carbon Budget released their annual update for the global carbon budget in December 2015, revealing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels increased slightly in 2014 (+0.6%), but are projected to decline slightly (by est. -0.6%) in 2015. The global oceans serve as a natural buffer, offsetting increased emissions by absorbing an estimated 27% of human-produced CO2 from the atmosphere in 2014. Data collected, in part, from long-term surface ocean CO2 monitoring efforts, funded by NOAA’s Climate Program Office and the Ocean Acidification Program, indicate that the oceans removed about 10.7 billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere in 2015.

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