Science Special - Blue Carbon

Happy Friday readers! This week on Science Friday we're featuring papers that highlight the potential for the oceans to help sequester and store carbon (often called "blue carbon"). While the oceans naturally absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (causing ocean acidification and other harmful effects on local ecosystems), there are natural mechanisms in the ocean that could be restored or enhanced that store carbon in a way that's beneficial for the ocean. Read up on ocean approaches to carbon removal below. 

This UNEP Report titled, "Fish Carbon: Exploring Marine Vertebrate Carbon Services", does an excellent job of explaining the different oceanic mechanisms that could possibly store carbon. It also speaks to the "co-benefits" of oceanic approaches, noting that enhancing or managing these carbon cycles could increase food security and safeguard biodiversity. 

 Source: UNEP Fish Carbon Report

Source: UNEP Fish Carbon Report

Next, this piece from Scientific American titled, "How Fish Cool Off Global Warming", runs the numbers on the benefits of ocean carbon approaches and finds that acquatic life absorbs "enough carbon dioxide to avert $74 billion to $222 billion in climate damage per year." Read more to hear the author's take on the state of the scientific knowledge on blue carbon approaches. 

Finally, this research paper published in Process Safety & Environmental Protection, "Negative Carbon via Ocean Afforestation," explores the ability to "forest" oceans with macroalgae to produce biomethane to replace traditional fossil electricity and fuels.