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Climate Change and Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

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Since the industrial revolution, scientists have documented a trend of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas. This observation has been an issue of major environmental concern in the view of the potentially devastating effects of climate change on ecosystems and human survival. Recent studies by scientists led by Wei-Jun Cai have served to underscore this fact by showing that the Arctic region and the globe are faced with a major climate challenge due to the continued melting of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. This research has indicated that the major concern is the increasing heat absorption as deeper ocean water layers get exposed to sunlight as well as the possible loss of white ice reflectivity or the albedo (An Ice-Free Arctic Ocean Will Not Absorb More CO2, n.d).This paper discusses the recent observations that Arctic Ocean basin do not have an indefinite ability to continue acting as a CO2 sink when conditions are ice-free caused by the escalating warmer temperatures.

It is worth noting that sensitivity to climate changes in the Arctic is considered the highest on the Earth’s surface. In addition, the region experiences more pronounced acidification than any other ocean. Recent decades have seen the Arctic Ocean experience a steady increase in the rate of sea ice melt. According to Cai, et al. (2010), this has been especially so in the light of the indications of the three summers from 2007 to 2009. The recent research by Cai et al. has been built on the postulation that more and more CO2 would be absorbed from the atmosphere under ice-free conditions in the Arctic Ocean. Therefore, the research investigates the impact of sea ice melt on the concentration of CO2 on the surface water of the Ar...

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...temperatures will continue causing ice melt in summer. Consequently, the surface water carbon dioxide partial pressure will continue to increase, further reducing the ability of the CO2 sink to take up more CO2. The high-resolution survey further points to the fact that the future will see an increased air-sea CO2 flux. This is due to the exposure of more area of sea water as well as long periods when the Arctic Ocean surface will be subjected to ice-free conditions. Though this is expected, the capacity of the CO2 sink in the Arctic Ocean to continue taking up CO2 is predicted to weaken due to equilibration of pCO2 of surface water with the atmosphere. The survey highlights four major factors which facilitate this equilibrium. These include low CO2 fixation, surface warming, shallow mixed-layer depth, and strong stratification of surface water (Cai, et al., 2010).
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