The Southern Ocean is one of the world's biggest reservoirs of carbon, known as a carbon sink. When carbon is in a sink -- whether it's an ocean or a forest, both of which can lock up carbon dioxide -- it stays out of the atmosphere and does not contribute to global warming.
The new research, published in the latest edition of the journal Science, indicates that the Southern Ocean has been saturated with carbon dioxide at least since the 1980s.
This is very alarming because Human activity is the main culprit according to researcher of this study Corinne Le Quere.
The phenomenon wasn't expected to be apparent for decades, Le Quere said in a telephone interview from the University of East Anglia in Britain.
We thought we would be able to detect these only the second half of this century, say 2050 or so. But data from 1981 through 2004 show the sink is already full of carbon dioxide. So I find this really quite alarming.
The second aone is a study by NASA that reports that vast areas of snow in Antarctica melted in the summer of 2005.
NASA's QuikScat satellite detected extensive areas of snowmelt, shown in yellow and red, in west Antarctica in January 2005.
Tags: Antarctica, Global Warming