but I thought…

The oceans’ ability to act as a “carbon sink” soaking up greenhouse gases appears to be decreasing, research shows, leading to new fears about global warming.

One of the authors of the study, published on Saturday in a paper for the Journal of Geophysical Research, said the change may have been triggered by climate change and may also accelerate the process by leaving more CO2 in the atmosphere.

Natural processes mean the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is reduced when the gas dissolves into the waters of the oceans which cover much of the surface of the earth, turning them into vast “sinks” storing the carbon safely. But the new study suggests the amount of carbon dioxide entering the oceans is declining, possibly because warmer global weather has heated the water near the surface.

Professor Andrew Watson, of the school of environmental sciences at the University of East Anglia, warned that the process may fuel climate change. “It will be a positive feedback, because if the oceans take up less CO2 then CO2 will go up faster in the atmosphere and that will increase the global warming.”

Sydney Morning Herald, 22 Oct 2007