The Global Climate Model Doesn’t Properly Capture Pulses Of Carbon That Sink To The Deep Sea

Source: Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Photo: Sven Scheuermeier/Unsplash


More than two miles below the ocean’s surface, microbes, worms, fishes, and other creatures great and small thrive. They rely on the transport of dead and decaying matter from the surface (marine snow) for food at these dark depths.

Up near the  from the atmosphere is incorporated in the bodies of microscopic algae and the animals that eat them. When they die, these organisms sink to the depths, carrying  with them.

This supply of carbon to the  isn’t steady. At times, months’ to years’ worth of marine snow falls to the abyss during very short “pulse” events.

In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), MBARI scientists and their collaborators show that there has been an increase in pulse events off the coast of California. They also show that, although such episodes are very important to the , they are not well represented in .

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Photo: Sven Scheuermeier/Unsplash

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