• A research proves that the great ocean deserts act as drains for CO2

    September 06, 2013

    A study conducted by researchers of the University of Oviedo concludes that the great ocean areas consume more carbon dioxide than what they produce, a decisive factor for climate change

    Are the great ocean deserts drains of CO2 or, on the contrary, are emitters of this gas that contributes to the greenhouse effect? This is one of the questions that for many years researchers from all around the world have been trying to answer, since it can be one of the factors that contribute to climate change. Researchers from the University of Oviedo have concluded that these vast water surfaces absorb more carbon dioxide than what they produce.

    The CARPOS Project (CARbon Flow measured by the Plankton in Subtropical Oligotrophic environments: a langranian approximation) has been funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, and has had the participation of scientists from the Universities of Vigo (coordination) and Oviedo, and the Spanish Instituto of Oceonography has studied what is the behavior of these great ocean deserts in the subtropical area. The prestigious PLOS One journal has published part of the results of the project in an article signed by researchers of the University of Oviedo.

    The scientists of the CARPOS project have conducted more than 400 measurements on the same body of water, which they followed for days, to see the evolution of the parameters

    The scientists have approached the analysis of the consumption and emission of CO2 with a langranian approximation, that is to say, conducting the measurements of the experiment in the same body of water, instead of doing so in different parts of the ocean. The team signaled a great body of water with buoys equipped with different oceanographic sensors to take samples at different depths during ten days, in order to understand how algae and other microbian organisms developed, which are decisive for the attraction and emission of carbon dioxide.

    The research team of CARPOS worked in the subtropical region, at a distance from the Iberian coast equivalent to ten days of navigation, in a campaign that lasted two months. The researchers developed a total of 10 experiments with around 400 measurements conducted in total. The samples taken were stored in 2-liter bottles used to observe the growth of the algae, the changes in the concentration of oxygen and other significant parameters.

    The analysis of the data obtained has allowed the scientists to conclude that these ocean deserts, which translate into around 70% of the water surface of the world, show a small superavit of consumption of CO2 in comparison to what they emit.

    Authors of the article: Carlos Cáceres, Fernando González Taboada, Juan Höfer and Ricardo Anadón.