Scientists have discovered that Fjords are amazing carbon dioxide consumers, so much so that they may be delaying man-made climate change.
If you've never seen a fjord, you're missing out. But here you go:
Besides being possibly the most beautiful thing you'll ever see in your entire life, Fjords are particularly talented at getting rid of all that carbon dioxide we humans like emitting so much.
Fjords are deep, narrow and elongated ocean inlets formed by glaciers. Norway is famous for them, but they are found all over the world. They cover less than 1% of the Earth's surface, but according to the Nature Geoscience journal, they absorb 18 million metric tons of carbon every year. That's 11% of the total carbon absorbed by ocean sediments worldwide. That means fjords carbon burial rates are roughly double the ocean's average rate.
I think we have them to thank, considering they've been buffering the planet from man-made climate change. Even when we try to destroy the planet it still tries to save us. Here's how it works:
Fjords are plentiful with lush greenery, which soak up the carbon dioxide from the air. Some of the carbon may return to the air when the plant dies, but most is buried in the soil or washed into rivers. Fjords are excellent at storing carbon – they funnel lots of carbon-rich river water into deep, calm reservoirs with low oxygen levels, which inhibit bacteria from freeing carbon into the air.
Between ice ages the Fjords prevent carbon from flowing out to the continental shelf, and ultimately blocking the release of airborne C02 – ergo: it's actively slowing climate change.
“This finding has important implications for improving our understanding of global carbon cycling and climate change.”-- Candida Savage, New Zealand University of Otago
Alaskan fjords seem to absorb more carbon than fjords in other parts of the world, and scientists don't know why. However, they point out that the carbon absorption is still nowhere near enough to reverse what humans have done to the atmosphere.
What you can do
Plant trees to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere for everyone
Planting trees is a great way to restore the landscape, whether its 1 tree or thousands, and trees 'breathe' CO2 from the atmosphere. Our core calculation is that each tree will absorb 200kg of CO2 from the atmosphere over its main growing lifetime (we've allowed 30 years).