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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.

Many models have predicted that a warming ocean will take up less carbon because higher temperatures lead to smaller phytoplankton, which take less carbon to the bottom of the ocean when they die. The amount of carbon these plankton take with them is typically calculated based on the Redfield ratio.

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