Oceans are revealed as the primary management of CO2 by new satellite time series
More grass growing means less dust blowing – good news for land – terrible news for the Blue Planet!
Launched in 2014, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) has been collecting NASA’s first detailed, global measurements of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The OCO-2 team recently released its first full year of data, which is critical to analyzing and understanding Earth’s carbon cycle.
One recognizable pattern over the year is the annual uptake and release of carbon as each hemisphere passes through the seasons. In the winter, carbon dioxide levels are at their peak in the northern hemisphere, when there is little plant or phytoplankton growth to offset emissions from human activities and natural sources. At the same time, CO2 concentrations drop in the southern hemisphere, which is bathed in summer sunlight and plant growth (especially plant growth in ocean pastures) . The pattern reverses as the hemispheres change seasons. According to the new measurements, atmospheric CO2 changes by 8 to 12 parts per million (2 to 3 percent) from winter through the “spring drawdown” in the northern hemisphere. This is visible in the maps below from March-April and August 2015.
Our Blue Planet is 72% Ocean
But most dramatic of all the obvious effects is the correlation of where there is more ocean than land there is less CO2! This is not so much an indictment of CO2 emissions from we “bad land creatures” it is rather evidence that we should be singing the praises of our ocean pastures.
Tragically ocean pastures everywhere are in a cataclysmic state of decline due to the most potent effect of our high and rising CO2 on land which promotes the growth of ‘grass’. Global greening is producing more ‘ground cover’ and that ground cover prevents vital mineral dust from reaching, renewing, and sustaining growth in ocean pastures.
More grass growing means less dust blowing
Though atmospheric carbon has been measured from stations on the ground—most famously at Mauna Loa in Hawaii—the value of the ‘OCO-2 satellite’ record is that it makes consistent measurements with the same instrument over all land and sea surfaces.
OCO-2 is NASA’s first spacecraft dedicated to studying the manmade and natural sources and sinks of carbon dioxide from the top of the atmosphere to the surface. It takes at least 100 times more carbon dioxide measurements than all other ‘earthly’ sources combined.
“The new, exciting thing from my perspective is that we have more than 100,000 measurements each day of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” said Annmarie Eldering, OCO-2 deputy project scientist, based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“Armed with this pile of data, we can start to investigate more fully this question of sources and sinks and how different parts of the world contribute to these processes.”
Carbon naturally cycles through earthly environments. Ocean water naturally absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere where it bonds to water to make that water more acidic H2O + CO2 = H2CO3 (carbonic acid). The vast majority of plant life and photosynthesis on this ‘blue planet’ takes place in ocean pastures whose phytoplankton provide up to 90% of the photosynthesis on the planet. Trees, crops, and other plants on land also manage carbon dioxide via photosynthesis and turn it into there standing biomass made up of roots, stems, branches, and leaves.
For most of human history, this rhythmic exchange of carbon has been more-or-less steady, in balance via Natures most important Yin and Yang relationship. But the cycle has been thrown off in the past few centuries as ever-growing human populations have burned fossil fuels, cleared forests, and tilled soils for agriculture.
The first and foremost effects of our anthropogenic CO2 (fossil fuel CO2) is via a slightly complicated synergistic mechanism in Nature. Our CO2 helps plants on land to grow better and bushier and the lands of this planet are covered mostly not with trees but with grass! With dramatic global greening the additional grass/ground cover is preventing dust from blowing in the wind to nourish and sustain ocean pastures. The result is a collapse of the all important ocean pastures around the world
Evidence of Ocean Pasture Collapse and the Cure
The Great Ocean Dyings
Evidence of ocean pasture collapse is seen in an increasing drum beat of terrible news of mass dyings of ocean life. Just in the past week or two news of mass dyings of squid on the coast of Chile and sea birds in Alaska are proof positive of the collapse of ocean pasture plant life.
The death toll in the form of a great ocean dying is impossible to ignore but yet while such news reports see some attention for a day or few this increasing and compounding calamity is largely ignored.
It is not ‘politically correct’ to speak of the crisis of CO2 being anything but a crisis of ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming.’ This is especially true when one sees that the solution to the CO2 crisis that is decimating ocean pastures is simple, proven, safe, sustainable, immediately deployable, and astonishingly low cost.
Replenishing the dust we deny our oceans through our grass growing CO2 will cost mere millions of dollars per year to restore ocean pasture productivity in all of the world’s seven seas. In the bargain those revived and sustained ocean pastures returned to health in 2-5 years will send to us as an eco-dividend billions of additional fish that will swim into our nets and onto the plates of people to help end world hunger.
Unconscionably this safe simple immediate cure for the greatest harm our CO2 wreaks upon our world is attacked by all sides in the world of ‘climate change/CO2’ as a solution that costs mere millions to resolve more than half the global CO2 problem for millions instead of the trillions in new climate/carbon taxes approved by 195 nations at the recent Paris climate conference offers not only hope but healing at a price “too cheap to meter.’ Those with eyes on their piece of the trillion dollar annual climate prize are outraged and willing to engage in every dirty trick in the book to keep the simple affordable truth from the world.
Not convinced of the crisis of the great ocean dyings here’s a partial list of news reports of the past few years. Make sure you have a box full of eye drying tissues before reading the list of hundreds of news reports, with links!