"Marine snow" and its carbon storage power

Our planet's oceans play a vital role in absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2), acting as an important "carbon sink""Marine snow is the key" According to recent research, these blue giants are even more efficient than previously thought, with a carbon storage capacity 20% greater than estimated.

Oceans: the key to fighting climate change

A surprising discovery: increased carbon sequestration

Scientists from France's CNR, in a study published in the journal Nature, discovered that the oceans can store around 15 billion tons of carbon per year. This exceeds the 11 billion tonnes that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) previously estimated in its sixth report for 2021.

The role of plankton and “marine snow” in carbon sequestration

The process of carbon sequestration in the ocean is very interesting. Plankton plays an important role by absorbing CO2 and converting it into organic tissue through photosynthesis. After death, plankton falls to the sea floor, decomposing into particles that create what is called "marine snow" along with ice crystals and salt. These particles, denser than seawater, sink to the ocean floor, storing carbon and providing essential nutrients to a variety of marine life.

The study was carried out in the Arctic, where marine snow is most common. The researchers found that marine snow can capture and retain up to 1.700 tons of carbon per square kilometer. This is equivalent to the carbon emissions of around 1.000 cars.

As the climate warms, marine snow is reducing. However, researchers believe that marine snow could still be an important carbon sink, even if its extent decreases.

marine snow

"Marine snow" is still not enough

While a 20% increase in the ocean's capacity to store carbon dioxide is significant, scientists warn that it is not an immediate solution to the climate crisis. This CO2 absorption process continued for tens of thousands of years and was not enough to counteract the exponential increase in CO2 emissions since the Industrial Revolution of 1750.

However, this discovery is important for reframing our understanding of the ocean's role in long-term regulation of global climate. This discovery highlights the importance of protecting our oceans and better understanding their role in climate change mitigation.

Oceans are not only essential for marine life but also play an important role in stabilizing our planet's climate. This knowledge reinforces the need for global policies and actions to protect and care for our oceans, which are essential for the future of the Earth.


With information of: https://www.nature.com/