Sunday, June 11, 2006

ECOLOGY: Getting a Better Picture of the Ocean's Nitrogen Budget -- Kolber 312 (5779): 1479 -- Science

Climate modelers face many challenges... very crude and non-physical perscriptions for cloud formation is one of the biggies. But there are also significant uncertainties in th biological processes that are essential to the Carbon and Nitrogen cycles. Without a fundamental understanding of these mechanisms, it's very difficult to predict whether the climate will continue to respond in a nearly linear manner or if some non-linearity will set it. That could be good (e.g., increase in CO_2 consumption by more ocean biomass) or bad (e.g., gulf stream reversing and sending Europe to the freezer). So it is very important to improve out understanding of the actual mechanisms responsible for the the current state of the Carbon and Nitrogen cycles. The study below might be a key step in improving our understanding of the Nitrogen cycle. ECOLOGY: Getting a Better Picture of the Ocean's Nitrogen Budget -- Kolber 312 (5779): 1479 -- Science

Key quotes from the article...
"There is an apparent deficit of about ~90 Tg required to support the existing level of oceanic new production.... The authors have reassessed the rates of nitrogen fixation by this organism [Trichodesmium], substantially narrowing the nitrogen deficit."

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