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March 22 2013

Oceans May Absorb More Carbon Dioxide


For a while, Adam Martiny and some of his fellow scientists had suspected something was not right in how researchers understand the oceans. The object of their suspicion was something called the Redfield ratio, a principle stating that, when nutrients are not limiting, ocean microorganisms always have the same ratio of three elements: carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus.

This matters now because the Redfield ratio is used to help modelers and biogeochemists understand how important elements like nitrogen and carbon cycle in the oceans. If the Redfield ratio does not hold true, climate researchers might have to adjust how that process is represented in their climate models.

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