The Increasing Westerly Winds weaken Southern Ocean Carbon Sink

According to a new study of lake sediments from sub-Antarctic for the first time discovers that the increment in westerly winds are minimizing the ability of the Southern Ocean to absorb carbon dioxide from the environment. As the Southern Ocean presently absorbs over 40% of carbon dioxide, produced by humans, the carbon sink could maximize the climate change, and the results are significant. The researchers are published in 2018 23rd July in the Nature Geoscience journal. 

The southern hemisphere westerly winds are strong because for the continental landmasses between Antarctica and South America to slow them down. They play a vital role in generating the carbon dioxide that could exchange between the ocean and the atmosphere. They do this by managing the rate of upwelling of old carbon-rich water. This may determine that how much carbon can be absorbed in the Ocean surface. Since the last decades, there has been an expanding of Westerly winds and climate modelers. This has been unable to agree on weather and weakened the carbon sink of the Southern Ocean. 

The group of international scientists measured the rate of wind accumulation that blows sea minerals and salts in a 12,000-year lake sediments records from sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island. They show that the intensity of higher wind can directly correspond with the increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide that is measured in ice cores. This may increase the power of wind and reduce the Southern Ocean carbon sink capacity. 

Co-lead author, palaeo-climate scientist Dr. Krystyna Saunders from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and the University of Bern says that this is a vital discovery. The new record of Southern Hemisphere westerly winds stated that there had been a massive change in this wind over the past 12,000 years. This is an opposite mark to the climate model simulations.  This shows a small change in wind speed over the same period.

Co-lead author, palaeo-climate scientist Dr. Steve Roberts from British Antarctic Survey says that they have developed a brand new method for measuring winds from lake sediments on Sub-Antarctic Islands. These are the land masses from where you can collect all these data. 

Senior author, palaeo-climatologist and team leader Professor Dominic Hodgson from British Antarctic Survey says that the evidence from the ice cores and the lake sediments now takes them a step nearer to understand the measurement of carbon dioxide in the Southern Ocean and how it impacts on climate change.