Scientists have long known that the ocean plays an essential role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere, but a study from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) shows that the efficiency of the ocean’s “biological carbon pump” has been drastically underestimated, with implications for future climate assessments. Marine chemist Ken Buesseler and his co-authors call on their fellow oceanographers to adopt a new metric for estimating the depth of the ocean’s sunlit layer, thus its ability to take up carbon.

© Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Video by Elise Hugus, UnderCurrent Productions