The coastal areas of the world’s oceans, once thought to be a source of atmospheric carbon dioxide, are now seen to absorb carbon, according to a new paper published in the journal Nature.
In a comprehensive review of the latest research into the carbon cycle of coastal regions, a team of researchers, including Thomas S. Bianchi, the Jon L. and Beverly A. Thompson Chair of Geological Sciences at the University of Florida, contends that human activities have transformed the role these systems play in the global carbon budget. Bianchi was responsible for the continental shelves in this paper. They add, however, that much additional research and monitoring is necessary to calculate just how much these activities are affecting carbon flux from these coastal subsystems. The coastal ocean consists of rivers, estuaries, tidal wetlands and the continental shelf. “The effects of climate change, including sea-level rise, will add even more uncertainty over how coastal oceans affect the global carbon cycle,” said Bianchi.
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