Amazon powers Atlantic Ocean’s carbon sink: study

CHICAGO, July 22, 2008 (AFP) – Nutrients carried by the Amazon River help create a carbon sink deep in the Atlantic Ocean, a new study has found.

“If we choose as a human society to fertilize areas of the oceans, these are the places that probably would get a lot more bang for the buck in terms of iron fertilization than we would at high latitudes,” Capone said.

The study released Monday was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The key ingredients transported by the river are iron and phosphorus.

These elements are all that an organism called a diazotroph needs to capture nitrogen and carbon from the air and transform them into organic solids that then sink to the ocean floor.

Researchers from the United States, Greece and England found that the Amazon carries these elements hundreds of kilometers into the ocean and has an impact on the carbon and nitrogen cycles much farther afield than previously thought.

It is likely that other rivers also help seed carbon sequestering in the world’s oceans, wrote senior author Doug Capone of the University of Southern California.

The findings may help