Ocean Health and Carbon Sequestration
Written by: Allie Willison, Staff Writer at Blueland
June 5, 2021
There is no greater natural force than the sea. It’s important that we celebrate and protect the wild behemoth called the sea that protects us and our planet.
Why is our Ocean Health so important?
The ocean is essential to human life-- countless communities around the world rely on it for their livelihood, over 3 billion people. It’s our largest source of protein. We use it for travel and for energy. It’s also home to over 200,000 known species and estimated up to 2 million more that remain unknown.
The ocean has been negatively affected by excessive carbon emissions and global warming. We’re constantly hearing how the ice caps are melting, coral reefs are dying, species are going extinct-- even currents are weakening.
Much of this can be traced back to human activities forcing nature to work overtime.
What is Carbon Sequestration in the Ocean?
Carbon sequestration is the process by which carbon is removed from the atmosphere and held in solid or liquid form. The ocean absorbs about 30% of the carbon produced by humans.
Like the atmosphere, the ocean is one of our carbon pumps, constantly working through the carbon in the air. Since humans have disrupted the natural carbon cycle, there is more carbon in the atmosphere than ever before and therefore more carbon being stored in the ocean than ever before too.
The ocean is the largest carbon sink. It acts as a physical carbon pump, cycling carbon down into the depths.
It’s estimated that the ocean stores 50 times more carbon than the atmosphere. In the Polar regions, dense water drags carbon down into the deep sea-- low temperatures being able to facilitate atmospheric CO2 dissolution more so than warmer climates. This is one reason environmentalists worry about the warming of the Polar Regions, they’re far too important to this necessary carbon cycle.
Carbon sequestration works hard to cycle harmful emissions out of the atmosphere, but the natural processes nature has in place can’t keep up anymore. This will affect ocean health even more if we don’t lessen our emissions in the coming years.
What can you do to help Ocean health?
You can take action by committing to ocean conservation. There are countless non-profits that monitor, research, and offer volunteer opportunities to help clean up our oceans. If you’re landlocked, even a small donation can help!
Made a promise this World Oceans Day to keep our seas clean!
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