An essential role in the ocean’s ecosystem is played by organisms known as phytoplankton. Currently, a hot topic in the field of biology is how global warming affects the production of phytoplankton. New research on the matter with data collected by the Climate Change Initiative (part of the European Space Agency) has resulted in a 20-year timeline about the living carbon pump of the ocean, leading to discoveries.
Phytoplankton is an array of free-floating plants found in the ocean. They are not visible to the naked eye, but they play a crucial role in Earth’s carbon cycle. How this works is they absorb as much carbon dioxide as all of the terrestrial plants combined.
The term primary production is used in ecology to describe how organic material is synthesized from water and CO2, with the aid of sunlight in a process known as photosynthesis.
New Information about Phytoplankton, the Carbon Pump of the Oceans
All variations in this primary productivity process have an impact on the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, in the world’s oceans, and on the biodiversity of the world, with a particularly strong impact on the world’s aquatic species.
It is believed that the surface of the oceans will continue to increase in temperature as a result of the growing amount of atmospheric greenhouse gases. As that happens, the primary productivity of phytoplankton must be watched systematically, consistently, and closely. This will be done through both on-site measurements and satellite imagery, which provides a global view of the entire phytoplankton system and its response to changes in climate.
A new study in the Remote Sensing journal, with information collected from the Ocean Colour Climate Change Initiative, has observed the patterns of primary phytoplankton production and its variation throughout the years. In situ measurements combined with long-term satellite imagery has given an estimate of global annual productivity starting in 1998 through 2018.