Forecasting Change: World Oceans Day

Oceans act as a crucial buffer against carbon pollution

FILE - The sun rises above the Atlantic Ocean as waves crash near beach goers walking along a jetty, Dec. 7, 2022, in Bal Harbour, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File) (Wilfredo Lee, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ORLANDO, Fla. – On June 8 we celebrate World Oceans Day, a special occasion to acknowledge the invaluable role of the ocean in supporting humanity and safeguarding our planet from the perils of climate change.

Encompassing approximately 70% of the Earth’s surface, the oceans exert a profound influence on every corner of our globe, transcending geographical boundaries. They play a pivotal role in shaping the global climate, nurturing the well-being of millions of individuals worldwide, and serving as a primary source of sustenance and nourishment for billions.

Furthermore, the oceans act as a crucial buffer against the impacts of carbon pollution, absorbing roughly 90% of the excess heat generated and curbing approximately 26% of the CO2 emissions derived from human activities such as burning fossil fuels

Credit: Climate Central

When it comes to carbon storage, the oceans outshine all other reservoirs. With a capacity 45 times greater than that of the atmosphere and 12 times more extensive than land ecosystems, they stand as the planet’s largest repository of carbon, capable of capturing and retaining billions of tons over extensive periods.

The duration for which carbon remains sequestered within the ocean primarily hinges on its depth. In shallower waters, carbon can be stored for shorter durations, ranging from months to years. However, when transported to the profound depths of the ocean, it has the potential to remain secluded from the atmosphere for centuries. If the carbon sinks even deeper, finding its way to the seafloor, it may become locked within sediments for millennia, establishing a stable and enduring storage solution.

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About the Author:

Tom Sorrells is News 6's Emmy award winning chief meteorologist. He pinpoints storms across Central Florida to keep residents safe from dangerous weather conditions.