National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce

What's New

Hydrothermal Fluid and Particle Sampler on front of the Alvin submersible, in the process of collecting a high-temperature water sample from the Main Endeavour Field. Photo credit: WHOI

September 30, 2015

A paper just published in Nature Geoscience shows a newly recognized role for hydrothermal vents in the global carbon cycle. This new research, by PMEL/JISAO researcher David Butterfield and colleagues, shows that hydrothermal vents may act as a recycling and decomposition system for dissolved organic carbon (DOC), an important constituent of the global carbon pool. The scientists found that high temperatures, like those found at hydrothermal vents, can effectively remove DOC not broken down by other processes, like microbial or sedimentary degradation. The implication for the global carbon cycle is that hydrothermal vents act as the ocean’s ‘pressure cooker’, breaking down and removing unreactive and old carbon that would otherwise persist indefinitely.

Read more about PMEL’s Earth-Ocean Interactions Program or the article in Nature Geoscience.

PMEL in the News

September 30, 2015

A global expert on ocean acidification has urged Ireland to become involved in monitoring its potential impact on the State’s multimillion-euro seafood sector.

September 28, 2015

The long list of maladies attributed to El Niño continues to grow. In addition to affecting weather patterns around the world, the climate phenomenon also has a profound impact on ocean levels in the Pacific that can hurt coral reefs.