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New method of measuring ocean carbon dioxide uptake could lead to climate change 'early warning syst
Published December 4 in the journal Science, the peer-reviewed study will greatly improve our understanding of the natural ocean 'sinks' and enable more accurate predictions about how the global climate is changing.
The new technique could also lead to the development of an 'early-warning system' to detect any weakening of the ocean sinks -- seen by some scientists as the first signal of more pronounced climate change.
Led by Prof Andrew Watson of UEA's School of Environmental Sciences, the researchers used a network of commercial ships carrying chemical sensors in their engine rooms -- combined with other information such as satellite observations of sea surface temperature -- to map the uptake of atmospheric CO2 by the entire North Atlantic Ocean.
The results suggest that the North Atlantic absorption of CO2 varies substantially over periods of several years and is sensitive to regional changes in climate.
"These exciting results from our new coordinated network represent the first time scientists have observed CO2 uptake over any large region of the world -- either land or ocean -- with such accuracy," said Prof Watson.
"Our new method estimates the flux and how it varies from year to year and season to season, showing patt
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