The Southern Ocean – a global carbon sink

Since the industrial revolution, Carbon Dioxide (CO2) has been increasing faster than ever before in Earth's history.

Coupled with this is the increase in Earth's temperature. Because of their ability to absorb and store atmospheric CO2, oceans can be thought of as a carbon sink. Several factors such as the physical mixing by strong winds, the cold temperature (that allows for greater concentration of gases to dissolve) and the large amount of photosynthesis that occurs, makes the Southern Ocean a hugely important carbon sink. It is estimated that over 25% of human produced CO2­is absorbed in the Southern Ocean.

An assessment task, marking schedule and powerpoint linking to the Science 1.14 - Carbon cycling achievement standard is available for teachers and students.


AS 90953 Science 1.14 - Demonstrate understanding of carbon cycling

SCI 1.14 Carbon Cycling Assessment Schedule

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SCI 1.14 Carbon Cycling Assessment Task

76K file

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SCI 1.14 Carbon Cycle Southern Ocean

20M file

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SCI 1.14 Carbon Cycle Southern Ocean

154K file

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