Climate change may have its origins in the Arctic Ocean. A study that was published in Geophysical Research Letters claims that the ocean is releasing more carbon than it is taking in due to runoff from the Mackenzie River in Canada. As a result, the Arctic’s carbon emissions will only increase as the ocean warms.

According to scientific estimates, the Arctic may absorb up to 180 million metric tons of carbon every year. This is over three times the amount of carbon emissions from New York City. Because of this, the Arctic is one of the planet’s most significant carbon sinks, and if it begins to act in opposition to this, climate change could swiftly get out of control.

The researchers in the study examined the relationship between the small, chilly ocean and the flow from Canada’s carbon-rich Mackenzie River in order to pinpoint precisely why the Arctic is having difficulties. The river empties into the Beaufort Sea, a section of the Arctic Ocean; photos taken at the point where the two meet have shown milky water swirls.

According to the experts, the Mackenzie River’s trapped sediment and elevated carbon levels are the cause of this milky discharge. Moreover, it gradually warms the Arctic when it mixes with it, thawing additional permafrost and increasing carbon emissions from the region. To better understand the interactions between these two bodies of water, the researchers ran simulations.

These calculations indicate that the river is effectively shifting the scales of carbon balance by causing a significant outgassing in the southeast Beaufort Sea. This indicates that a net amount of CO2 equivalent to the yearly emissions from 28,000 gasoline-powered cars—roughly 0.13 metric tons—is currently being released by the oceans.

Seasonal variations exist in Arctic carbon emissions, of course, but they are significantly more noticeable in the warmer months when the river discharges more. According to the scientists, this demonstrates why it’s critical to discover solutions to stop the ocean temperatures from increasing any higher.

Regretfully, no official plan to address climate change has yet been developed. Nonetheless, some factions are advocating for the building of an orbiting sunshade in order to mitigate solar radiation and lower worldwide temperatures. Furthermore, things might get problematic if US woods cease to absorb carbon within the next 50 years, as some have predicted.

Topics #Arctic Ocean warms #atmosphere #carbon