IPCC neglected to account for coastal waters absorbing far more co2 than they emit since the industrial revolution, according to research published in Nature today. This from Science Daily:
Coastal portions of the world’s oceans, once believed to be a source of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere, are now thought to absorb as much as two-thirds more carbon than they emitted in the preindustrial age, researchers estimate.
“The evidence suggests that human activities in coastal zones will continue to have an important impact on global carbon cycling,” Bauer said. “It’s a tricky area of study, but omitting the coastal ocean from the overall carbon budget leaves a gap in projections for future atmospheric CO2 levels.”
Prior to the industrial age, decomposing plant materials in coastal waters and sediments likely led to the release of carbon dioxide. The Nature paper suggests that microscopic plant growth in coastal areas, fueled by fertilizer runoff, is now leading to greater uptake of CO2. It also suggests that the atmospheric buildup of carbon dioxide caused by the burning of fossil fuels is further contributing to this uptake of CO2 by coastal waters.