Dying seagrass is releasing massive amounts of carbon dioxide

23 May 2012. Mowing down seagrass meadows will cut loose carbon. NewScientist.

SEagrass has as much carbon as the world’s forests and the carbon dioxide contained in them could be released as they are dying off from water pollution, dredging, and climate change.  They’re already declining 1.5% per year, releasing 299 million tons of carbon back into the environment (Nature Geoscience, DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1477).  So much carbon is stored by seagrass now and since the ice age in the top few feet of soil below, that if the seagrass dies, more than twice the Earth’s world-wide emmissions from fossil fuels in 2010 would be released.

“These are scary numbers,” says Kendrick, from the University of Western Australia. “It does look like there’s going to be a global tipping point for many of these environments.”

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