Jeremy Werdell, oceanographer at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, discusses the importance of microscopic plankton in the global carbon cycle. With his colleagues, Jeremy is working to answer important questions about how much carbon dioxide the oceans are absorbing, and how that might change in the future.
Jeremy Werdell is studying how microscopic plankton in the oceans are responding to our changing climate. As a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, he knows that Earth's oceans and land cover have been doing us a favor. As people burn fossil fuels and clear forests, only half of the carbon dioxide released stays in the atmosphere, warming and altering Earth’s climate. The other half is removed from the air by the planet’s vegetation ecosystems and oceans. But Jeremy and other scientists are still trying to answer important questions about how carbon dioxide emissions get absorbed by the land and the ocean — and how this could change in the future.
Later this month, the United Nations climate meeting in Paris (Conference of Parties, aka COP-21) will focus on setting limits on future levels of human-produced carbon emissions.