Earths oceans and other ecosystems still absorbing about half the greenhouse gases emitted by people
Earth's oceans, forests and other ecosystems continue to soak up about half the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere by human activities, even as those emissions have increased, according to a study by University of Colorado and NOAA scientists published August 1 in the journal Nature. The scientists analyzed 50 years of global carbon dioxide (CO2) measurements and found that the processes by which the planet's oceans and ecosystems absorb the greenhouse gas are not yet at capacity. "Globally, these carbon dioxide 'sinks' have roughly kept pace with emissions from human activities, continuing to draw about half of the emitted CO2 back out of the atmosphere. However, we do not expect this to continue indefinitely," said NOAA's Pieter Tans, a climate researcher with NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo., and co-author of the study. The University of Colorado's Ashley Ballantyne is lead author.