Sea floor degradation could accelerate climate change

Scientists have found that seafloor degradation due to activities such as trawling could accelerate the pace of climate change.

2 mins read
Sea floor degradation could accelerate climate change

According to the study published in the journal “Frontiers in Marine Science”, researchers from the UK and Norway used underwater cameras to examine the bottoms of parts of the Barents Sea during two cruises by ship in 2017-2019.

The researchers also identified the creatures living in the areas they studied and collected samples to see how much carbon they stored.

The researchers found that these creatures store much more carbon than previously thought, and that activities such as trawling and deep-sea mining are causing the seafloor to deteriorate.

In this context, the researchers revealed that sea floor degradation could also lead to accelerated climate change.

Deep-sea mining and trawling could reduce the oceans’ carbon storage by disrupting or destroying the habitats of these creatures, the iC3 polar research center told Barents Observer.

“This study reveals how little we know about how life in the deep ocean affects the global carbon cycle and the benefits that nature in the ocean provides to society,” said Dr. David Barnes, one of the authors of the study, as reported by the Observer.

Deep-sea mining is a “disaster” for the sea

Norwegian authorities announced in June 2023 that the government wanted to open part of its continental shelf for commercial deep-sea mining, in line with the country’s strategy to reduce dependence on oil and gas in search of new economic opportunities.

On December 5, 2023, Norway’s minority government and the two major opposition parties agreed on deep-sea mining in the Arctic Ocean, despite objections from environmental groups.

Describing the decision as a “disaster” for the sea, environmental groups warn that this step will threaten biodiversity in the region.


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