The "carbon sink" and global warming

According to this week's Science magazine, the ocean's ability to absorb carbon may be far greater than previously estimated. That means that atmospheric CO2 gets eliminated perhaps twice as much as global warming alarmists thought, before this news came out.

Why? Well, it turns out that there is a whole variety of tiny phytoplanktons --- single-celled plants --- that are called picoplanktons because they are so small. They were just shown to absorb and "sequester" huge amounts of carbon. Picoplanktons then sink to deep levels of the ocean, resulting in a "carbon sink." They take carbon out of the air, in their trillions. 

That's a crucial component of any model of carbon flow on earth.

To understand greenhouse gases you need to know the amount of input, and the amount of output. But now the output is a lot bigger than current models estimated! So the atmosphere can absorb a lot more CO2 than previously thought and the oceans will remove it from the carbon cycle.

So you thought global warming was settled science? "Just basic physics," as a NASA True Believer recently said. Well, Mother Nature just drilled a hole in your "basic physics" test tube, and it's leaking carbon. 

An old rule in science: Never, never make up your mind before the data are in.


RT Barber, "Picoplankton do some heavy lifting." Science, Vol. 315, Feb 9, 2007, pp. 777-778.

T.I. Richardson & G.A. Jackson, "Small phytoplankton and carbon export from the surface ocean."

James Lewis blogs at
If you experience technical problems, please write to