Oceans failing to absorb more carbon

Oceans failing to absorb more carbon

The oceans are losing the capacity to soak up rising man-made carbon emissions, which is increasing the rate of global warming by up to 30 per cent, scientists said yesterday. Researchers have found that the Southern Ocean is absorbing an ever-decreasing proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The excess carbon, which cannot be absorbed by the oceans, will remain in the atmosphere and accelerate global warming, they said.

Expect more of these “it's worse than we thought” moments.

Comments (One comment)

Henry Sterling / August 13th, 2007, 6:10 am / #1

Is nobody else sick of hearing carbon dioxide referred to as “carbon”? Anyone with a basic knowledge of school chemistry knows full well that carbon is a black solid, whereas carbon dioxide is a colourless gas. The former is an element, the latter is a compound.

And no, this is not a minor, petty distinction. The word “carbon” is not an abbreviated form of “carbon dioxide”. You do not abbreviate something if you alter its meaning in doing so. If I were to write an article about “water” pollution but referred to water as “hydrogen”, it would be utterly absurd. Yet, precisely the same thing has been done with respect to carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is an oxide of carbon, and as we all know, a compound has properties totally unlike its component elements. The water analogy is sound because water is an oxide of hydrogen.

This is extremely important this. Just how do we expect to tackle global warming when the public is being misinformed and miseducated like this every time it is mentioned? In doing so the media, amongst others, has been totally irresponsible. I was stunned and shocked to see this expression used in a chemistry magazine once (chemistry world, RSC). Has the world gone less intelligent in the past decade? This might explain a great many things.

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