In 2010, Western Australia experienced a marine heatwave that triggered what is now called a ‘carbon bomb’ which damaged the seagrass meadow. This bomb released a high amount of carbon to the surface, carbon that was usually stored below the surface. Australia did not add this event to their carbon emissions levels but, were they to have done that, it would have raised it up to 20%.
All about seagrass
For those that do not know, seagrass is as the name suggests: a plant that looks like grass and grows in shallow waters. This plant is important since it is able to collect and store carbon below the surface. It is able to store this carbon for thousands of years. If seagrass is somehow disturbed by an abrupt impact either in the form of a heatwave of by more trivial things like anchors, it will rapidly release that stored carbon. The levels of seagrass have been seen to decrease slowly each year.
How is carbon released
Dead seagrass releases carbon when oxygen starts to get into its layers by changing the bacteria.
Going back to the main topic of the article, a team of researchers found out that around 22% of seagrass was dead after the 2010 heatwave, compared to the 2002 levels of seagrass.
Raised carbon levels
Researchers have stated that due to this heatwave, it should be expected that in the next 40 years around 21 tons of CO2 will be released in the atmosphere. This is an unprecedented number that was not taken into account before.
They also say that in order to preserve seagrass inappropriate tourism and fishing should be limited. In a worst-case scenario, species of seagrass that are not native to the Australian sea could be transported in order to start collecting carbon and hopefully minimize the damage level.
Karen and her husband live on a plot of land in British Columbia. They aim to grow and raise a significant part of their food by maintaining a vegetable garden, keeping a flock of backyard chickens and foraging. They are also currently planning a move to a small cabin they hand built. Karen’s academic background in nutrition made her care deeply about real food and seek ways to obtain it. Thus sprung Anna’s interest in backyard gardening, chicken and goat keeping, recycling and self-sufficiency.