by Universiy of Washington, Nov 13, 2023 in PhysOrg
To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of declining phytoplankton in the North Atlantic may have been greatly exaggerated. A prominent 2019 study used ice cores in Antarctica to suggest that marine productivity in the North Atlantic had declined by 10% during the industrial era, with worrying implications that the trend might continue.
But new research led by the University of Washington shows that marine phytoplankton—on which larger organisms throughout the marine ecosystem depend—may be more stable than believed in the North Atlantic. The team’s analysis of an ice core going back 800 years shows that a more complex atmospheric process may explain the recent trends.
The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.