Sequestering ‘blue carbon’

Sequestering blue carbon through better management of coastal ecosystems

UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY

Utah State University ecologist, Trisha Atwood investigates sequestration of blue carbon of vegetated coastal habitats. CREDIT Peter Macreadie, Deakin University

LOGAN,UTAH, USA — Focusing on the management of carbon stores within vegetated coastal habitats provides an opportunity to mitigate some aspects of global warming. Trisha Atwood from Utah State University’s Watershed Sciences Department of the Quinney College of Natural Resources and the Ecology Center has collaborated with several co-authors from Australia, including lead author Peter Macreadie from Deakin University, in an article published in the May 2017 issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

“If we are going to fight off climate change not only do we need to cut CO2 emissions,” Atwood states. “But we also need to protect and restore natural carbon sinks like coastal wetlands.”

Although vegetated coastal ecosystems occupy only 0.2 percent of the ocean’s surface, they play a disproportionately large role in the capture and retention of global carbon. As a result, bio sequestration in vegetated coastal habitats, a process that takes up atmospheric CO2 and stores it for millennia in marine soils (e.g. blue carbon), is emerging as one of the most effective methods for long-term carbon storage.

Researchers are learning how to increase the sequestration of the blue carbon. Historically, resource managers have relied on best-management practices to protect and restore vegetated coastal habitats. Researchers now theorize that incorporating catchment-level management strategies in addition to the preservation of shoreline vegetation can help keep global warming to under 2 degreesC. These highly productive vegetated coastal habitats, including seagrasses, tidal marshes and mangroves, provide the best opportunities to capture and retain marine-based carbon.

Three key environmental processes influence blue carbon sequestration: nutrient inputs, bioturbation and hydrology. When these processes are altered by human actions, such as eutrophication of coastal ecosystems, it can result in large amounts of CO2 and methane being released back into the atmosphere. Managing these three processes provides the best option to protect the carbon with its’ long-term storage capacity.

“Wetlands have a tremendous capacity for storing carbon long-term,” Atwood said. “This research highlights three ways in which we can protect and improve this capacity.”

She and her co-authors demonstrate that these actions have the potential to profoundly alter rates of carbon accumulation and retention in vegetated coastal habitats around the globe.

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58 thoughts on “Sequestering ‘blue carbon’

    • It’s funny just how much these Id-iotas are really missing their opportunities. All they really need to do is, instead of preaching “Cutting Carbon” and vilifying the necessary gas. This would have played far better for them had they simply stated that “protecting the wetlands is necessary for the habitat it represents and the species that it is home for” and far more people would be supportive. If they hadn’t mentioned Carbon AND Global Warming and simply allowed that to be an unstated side benefit perceived by the AGW crowd it would be a non issue. Take references to “AGW” and “Carbon” and “Climate Change” out of their papers and represent them as beneficial without the scare tactics and hyperbole.

    • I’d be more interested if the author emphasized getting rid of invasive species of plants and encouraging the growth of native species. This gets tiresome after a while.

  1. The better reason for protecting coastal wetlands is that they serve as crucial nurseries for much coastal marine life like shrimp, crab, juvenile fish. There aren’t enough of them (0.2% of ocean, ocean ~half of biological sinks) to be a significant carbon sink.

    • Exactly. Mangroves are seething with life and a massive combustion phenomenon. Obviously you can’t smell the CO2, but the activity is remarkably pungent.
      This paper another nasty outbreak of management. It has become a pandemic.
      I wonder how they think they would “manage” the vast, bubbling, stinking mass of mangroves on the shoreline upwind of where I live. This has to be the reason why the CO2 levels climb from around 380 – 390 to 425 – 450 after sundown. There are frequent “spikes” that could be out-gassing from the Coral Sea, but are more likely caused by the the local brew within the mangroves.
      The only practical management measure is law; it is an offense to remove mangroves, and one resident copped a massive fine a few years ago for trying to “improve” his view of the ocean by cutting some down. The whole area gradually shifts over time due to changes in sandbar dispositions. There is gradual accretion occurring, but Gaia did manage to swallow his swimming pool, (At the time I was one of the regulators, and had warned him that the area was vulnerable and anything paced there was “sacrificial”.)
      There is another “management” scheme that seeks to prevent discharge of sediment from the estuaries, which is blamed on humans, but most of it is natural. Fortunately this is mostly unsuccessful, There are places where beach sand replenishment is undertaken because natural sources have been blocked, but eventually that gets picked up by the long-shore drift.

    • Exactly, look at the delta on the Mississippi where wetlands have been diminished for a multitude of reasons, mostly all of which are man made. And also allow hurricanes to do much more damage than they would have if robust wetlands were firmly entrenched. Protect and restore wetlands for the right reason, which is to protect the natural environment, species protection which deserve a right to live as well, and overall water quality that is a benefit to everybody and everything. Talking about ‘blue carbon’ must have only been to get the financial grant to write the piece. Blue Carbon does have a catchy, sexy rhythm to it though.

  2. They should look on the bright side. As cagw causes more sea-level rise, all that CO₂ will be buried deeper.

  3. …at the very least….when we start to run out
    …we’ll have a better idea where to look

  4. Wetlands eventually turn carbon into coal. :-)

    Trouble is, the planet needs that CO2…. NOW. !!

  5. “If we are going to fight off climate change …..”
    I read that and laughed.
    Do any of these people really believe that reducing CO2 will actually change the climate of planet earth!

  6. “Blue carbon” eh? I look forwaed to hearing about red, green, purple, pink, yellow and white carbon.

  7. I live part time on the Chesapeake Bay and managing and restoring wetlands here will help tremendously.. help clean up the water and bring sea creatures back. Reducing probably CO2 not so much.

    • One of the sad things about the CAGW movement is how it contaminates good science.
      Because of the way they have misused models, there are many who now automatically reject any study as soon as the word model is used.
      This is another example of projects that are good and needed (wetland restoration) that will now be looked at with suspicion because some have tried to tie it to CAGW.

  8. “But we also need to protect and restore natural carbon sinks like coastal wetlands.”

    It is a travesty that people working on life sciences regard coastal life as “carbon sinks”.

  9. Coastal wetlands can sequester considerably less than 1% of annual human carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere (one third of which is coming from communist China), that is, they are utterly negligible as a carbon sink.

    Tidal salt marshes, mangroves and seagrass meadows may be important for a number of reasons, but the “blue carbon” thing is definitely not among them.

    What the heck Trisha Atwood from Utah State University’s Watershed Sciences Department of the Quinney College of Natural Resources and the Ecology Center is talking about? Why does she think no one is able to do a simple back of the envelope calculation?

  10. “If we are going to fight off climate change not only do we need to cut CO2 emissions,” Atwood states…”

    Seriously, where should one begin in educating apparent adults that they cannot ever “fight off climate change”?
    I recall my PhD supervisor once saying that “you are what you teach”. I don’t think I’m a natural teacher at all, and have failed him in many ways, but I only see despair when confronted with this.

    I causes me genuine distress to think that such people are not lying and that, in the early part of the 21st century, they actually believe such a thing is possible. Should I just go along with the easy assumption that they do know better but think it is OK to espouse such lies in public, or think that their better instincts are being suppressed?

    • Why? First, you have to get them to understand that they’ve been fed a load of baloney that would stagger a delicatessen owner. They do this because they don’t know any better. Tell Ms. Atwood that she’s a walking carbon unit and see what she says.

      • Well, I didn’t actually ask about the “why?”. Things are bad enough without addressing motives. I was kinda hoping for some good news.

    • michael hart wrote, “Seriously, where should one begin in educating apparent adults that they cannot ever “fight off climate change”?”

      +1

    • I’m already doing my bit each evening, sequestering that evil CO2 in my beer, so others don’t have to.

      You can thank me later. Donations of Czech and Belgian beer are always welcome :)

  11. Andrew,

    All who wish to volunteer should send photos to

    Ms xxxxx yyyyyy @ domain-dot-com.

    Looking forward to examining yours.

    :>)))

  12. “If we are going to fight off climate change not only do we need to cut CO2 emissions,” Atwood states. “But we also need to protect and restore natural carbon sinks like coastal wetlands.” But the reality is that there is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate. There is no such evidence in the paleoclimate record and plenty of scientific rational that the climate sensivity of CO2 is really zero. A radiant greenhosue effect has not been observed in a real greenhouse, in the Earth’s climate system, or on any planet in the solar sytem with a thick atmosphere. So cutting CO2 emissions will have no effect on climate. The work done on climate models shows that the climate change we are experiencing is caused by the sun and the oceans over which Mankind has no control. We, Mankind, do not have the power to fight off climate change.

    • willhaas wrote, “But the reality is that there is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate.”

      Sure there is. Here’s your evidence: a nice, big CO2-shaped hole in the Earth’s emission spectrum (except over Antarctica). This is a slide from Prof. Will Happer’s 2014 UNC physics colloquium. This is actual measured emission data, from the Earth:

      Do you see the giant hole in the emission spectra centered on 15 µm (except over Antarctica)? That’s the effect of CO2. That’s CO2’s so-called “greenhouse effect” blocking the escape of 15 µm radiation from the Earth.

      You can also see water vapor, ozone, and — barely — methane, in those graphs. Water vapor absorption runs from about 5 µm to 8 µm, and also from 15 µm to beyond the left-end of the graphs, so it overlap CO2 mostly on the long-wavelength side of the CO2 absorption band. The notch around 9.5 µm is ozone. The effect of methane is largely masked by H2O vapor, but you can see methane’s tiny little notch at 7.7 µm (wavenumber 1300 nm^-1), mostly in the view from above southern Iraq, where the atmosphere is especially dry.

      Perhaps what you meant was that there’s no evidence that additional CO2 from mankind’s activities has a major effect on climate. That’s at least arguably true, depending mostly on your definition of “major.”

      Or perhaps what you meant is that the various proposed draconian regulatory regimes and “renewables” incentives which most climate activists support to reduce CO2 emissions cannot possibly affect CO2 levels enough to meaningfully reduce global warming. If so, I entirely agree.

      But the claim that CO2 in the atmosphere has no effect on climate is definitely untrue.

      For a very in-depth treatment, I recommend Prof. Happer’s colloquium:

      • Clarification: when I wrote “this is actual measured emission data, from the Earth,” I meant the radiation is from the earth. The measurements are from orbit.

      • There is plenty of evidence that CO2 has LWIR absorption bands but that is not evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate. In their first report the IPCC published a wide range of possible values for the climate sensivity of CO2. In their last report the IPCC published the exact same values. So after more than two decades of study the IPCC has found nothing that would allow them to narrow their guestimates as to the climate sensivity of CO2 one iota. There is plenty of scientific rational to support the idea that the climate sensivity of CO2 is zero. There is also no evidence that the radiant greenhouse effect upon which the AGW conjecture is based, even exists anywhere in the solar system including the Earth.

      • Oh, come on, willhaas. When the atmosphere absorbs radiation, it warms up. The green enclosed area represents radiation which is absorbed by the atmosphere, but which would have escaped to space were it not for the (misnamed) “greenhouse effect” of CO2. (Sorry for the ugly freehand artwork.)

      • daveburton and willhaas:

        You seem to be talking past each other and I write in hope of helping to resolve that problem.

        As daveburton says,

        When the atmosphere absorbs radiation, it warms up.

        but as willhaas says,

        There is plenty of evidence that CO2 has LWIR absorption bands but that is not evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate.

        Strangely, you are both right at least empirically when considering anthropogenic (i.e. man-made) global warming (AGW).

        At issue is whether additional atmospheric CO2 concentration from existing levels has a discernible effect on global temperature.

        Global temperature varies for many reasons. And as I keep pointing out, increase to atmospheric CO2 concentration is one of the lesser reasons.

        For example, cloud effects are a more important reason (they affect temperature, precipitation, etc.). Good records of cloud cover are very short because cloud cover is measured by satellites that were not launched until the mid-1980s. But it appears that cloudiness decreased markedly between the mid-1980s and late-1990s
        (ref. Pinker, R. T., B. Zhang, and E. G. Dutton (2005), Do satellites detect trends in surface solar radiation?, Science, 308(5723), 850– 854.)

        Over that recent period of less than two decades, the Earth’s reflectivity decreased to the extent that if there were a constant solar irradiance then the reduced cloudiness provided an extra surface warming of 5 to 10 W/sq metre. This is a lot of warming. It is between two and four times the entire warming estimated to have been caused by the build-up of human-caused greenhouse gases in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution. (The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that since the industrial revolution, the build-up of human-caused greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has had a warming effect of only 2.4 W/sq metre).

        Empirical – n.b. not model-derived – determinations indicate climate sensitivity is less than 1.0°C for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 equivalent. This is indicated by the studies of
        Idso from surface measurements
        http://www.warwickhughes.com/papers/Idso_CR_1998.pdf
        and Lindzen & Choi from ERBE satellite data
        http://www.drroyspencer.com/Lindzen-and-Choi-GRL-2009.pdf
        and Gregory from balloon radiosonde data
        http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/OLR&NGF_June2011.pdf

        Indeed, because climate sensitivity is less than 1.0°C for a doubling of CO2 equivalent, it is physically impossible for the putative AGW to be large enough to be detected. If something exists but is too small to be detected then it only has an abstract existence; it does not have a discernible existence that has effects (observation of the effects would be its detection).

        And that is why decades of research conducted at an annual cost of more than $2.5 billion p.a. has failed to find any evidence for AGW.

        I hope that helps.

        Richard

      • richardscourtney wrote:

        Empirical – n.b. not model-derived – determinations indicate climate sensitivity is less than 1.0°C for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 equivalent. This is indicated by the studies of
        Idso from surface measurements
        http://www.warwickhughes.com/papers/Idso_CR_1998.pdf
        and Lindzen & Choi from ERBE satellite data
        http://www.drroyspencer.com/Lindzen-and-Choi-GRL-2009.pdf
        and Gregory from balloon radiosonde data
        http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/OLR&NGF_June2011.pdf

        Thank you, Richard, for a very interesting comment.
         

        It appears that the Lindzen & Choi link on Dr. Spencer’s site has gone dead, but TheWayBackMachine has a copy, here:
        http://web.archive.org/web/20130221062933/http://www.drroyspencer.com/Lindzen-and-Choi-GRL-2009.pdf
         

        One thing which I think slightly reduces the gap between the alarmists’ favored climate sensitivity numbers and those estimates of climate sensitivity derived from measurement data is that the latter are based on comparisons made over relatively short time periods (at most a few decades). That means they are determinations of TCR sensitivity, rather than ECS.

        The alarmists typically quote ECS numbers (AR5 says central value 3°C, and range 1.5 to 4.5°C), which represent a hypothetical equilibrium state achieved after several centuries, and ECS is typically estimated to be about 1½× TCR.

        So 1.0°C TCR is about 1.5°C ECS, which is equal to the low end of the IPCC’s range, i.e., half of their central value.

        That would be consistent with about half of the 20th century’s reported warming being due to anthropogenic GHGs (and the other half being some combination of natural factors and/or exaggeration of the reported warming).
         

        Jack Barrett also discusses several approaches to estimating sensitivity, here:
        http://www.barrettbellamyclimate.com/page29.htm
        with some additional discussion here:
        http://www.barrettbellamyclimate.com/page51.htm

        He finds TCR values ranging from 0.70 ±0.15 to 1.84 ±0.11 °C for a doubling of CO2. (Since one CO2 doubling is commonly estimated to be equivalent to about 3.7 W/m² forcing,† that’s 0.19 to 0.50 °C/W²).

        Discussing the higher-end figure, Jack also mentions that the IPCC uses a figure of 0.5 °C/W² for the effect of a forcing before feedbacks, and he dryly notes that, “the similarity between the two values is some indication that the feedbacks incorporated into the GCMs are overdone.”

        He also noted that we’ve already seen almost half of the warming effect of a doubling of CO2, and that “a further warming of ~1°C expected and that will only occur if there is sufficient fossil fuel burned to cause the required increase of CO2 concentration… Such a possible change does require to be taken seriously.”
         

        (†However, Prof. Will Happer has found evidence that CO2’s forcing is commonly overestimated by about 40%.)

        Whew, there’s a lot of HTML markup in this comment. I wonder how much of it I botched?

      • Sigh. I was so worried about botching the HTML markup that instead I botched the text. “W²” should be “m²” in both places where I wrote it, of course.

      • I thank you for your efforts. One reseacher has pointed out that the original radiametric calculations of the climate sensivity of CO2 are too great by more than a factor of 20 becuse what was neglected is tthe fact that a doubling of CO2 will cause a slight decrease in the dry lapse rate in the troposphere which is a cooling effect and would wipe out most of any possible warming due to LWIR absorption. Then there is the issue of H2O feedback. Besides being the primary greenhouse gas, H2O is a primary coolant in our atmopshere moving heat energy from the surface to where clouds form via the heat of vaporiztion. According to energy balance models, more heat energy is moved by H2O then by both convection and LWIR absorption band radiation combined. The cooling aspects of H2O is evidenced by the fact that the wet lapse rate is significantly less than the dry lapse rate which is a cooling effect. The feedback effect of H2O is negative as it has to have been for the Earth’s climate to have been stable enough for life to evolve.

        In the tropospere, convection and conduction is much more important than LWIR absorption band radiation. In the lower troposphere in the 15 micron CO2 absorption band, a CO2 molecule holds an absorbed photon of energy on average .2s before radiating it away. In that same time that same CO2 molecule interacts with other molecules on the order of a billion times, sharing energy with each interaction. We must also remember that a good absorber is also a good radiator so that CO2 does not really trap heat.

        From first principals it be derived that the atmosphere on averages keeps the Earth’s surface on average 33 degrees warmer than it would be without an atmophere due to what some have called a convective greenhouse effect caused by the heat capacity of the atmosphere, the depth of the atmopshere, and gravity. 33 degrees C is what has been calculated and 33 degrees C is what has been observed. There is no room for an additional radiant greenhouse effect caused by the LWIR absorption properties of some trace gases. The radiant greenhouse effect has not been observed.

      • willhaas wrote, “…what was neglected is tthe fact that a doubling of CO2 will cause a slight decrease in the dry lapse rate in the troposphere which is a cooling effect and would wipe out most of any possible warming due to LWIR absorption.”

        That’s real, but I don’t think it has been neglected. Lapse rate feedback seems to be one of the few negative feedbacks of which most alarmist climate scientists are aware.

        I don’t know whether it’s being handled correctly, but I don’t think it is neglected.
         

        willhaas continued, “Then there is the issue of H2O feedback. Besides being the primary greenhouse gas, H2O is a primary coolant in our atmopshere moving heat energy from the surface to where clouds form via the heat of vaporiztion. According to energy balance models, more heat energy is moved by H2O then by both convection and LWIR absorption band radiation combined.”

        I believe that’s true, and if warmer temperature increases evaporation rate it should accelerate that water-cycle cooling, making it another negative feedback.
         

        willhaas continued, “The cooling aspects of H2O is evidenced by the fact that the wet lapse rate is significantly less than the dry lapse rate which is a cooling effect. The feedback effect of H2O is negative as it has to have been for the Earth’s climate to have been stable enough for life to evolve.”

        Water has multiple effects. Some are negative, but others are positive, and some are too poorly understood to classify either way.

        The climate alarmists are sure that the net effect is very strongly positive (i.e., “amplifying,” not meaning “good”). I’ve seen scant evidence of that.
         

        willhaas continued, “In the lower troposphere in the 15 micron CO2 absorption band, a CO2 molecule holds an absorbed photon of energy on average .2s before radiating it away. In that same time that same CO2 molecule interacts with other molecules on the order of a billion times, sharing energy with each interaction.”

        Yes. In fact, Prof. Will Happer (who is an expert on it) says it is close to 1 second.
         

        willhaas continued, “From first principals it be derived that the atmosphere on averages keeps the Earth’s surface on average 33 degrees warmer than it would be without an atmophere due to what some have called a convective greenhouse effect caused by the heat capacity of the atmosphere, the depth of the atmopshere, and gravity.”

        I don’t know what that means (“convective greenhouse effect?”), but the surface of the Moon averages at least about 90°C colder than the Earth’s average temperature.

        Trying to be more precise, this paper reports lunar temperatures ranging from an average high of 392K to an average low of 95K near the equator, and from an average high of 200K to an average low of 50K near the poles. Averaging those four temperatures yields 184.25K = -89°C, which is about 104°C colder than Earth.

        I’ve also seen a figure of 91°C given for the difference between average temperatures on the Earth and Moon. I don’t know the source for that, but both 104°C and 91°C are a lot more than 33°C.
         

        willhaas continued, “33 degrees C is what has been calculated and 33 degrees C is what has been observed.”

        No, the temperature of the Earth without an atmosphere has never been observed. Fortunately.
         

        willhaas continued, “There is no room for an additional radiant greenhouse effect caused by the LWIR absorption properties of some trace gases. The radiant greenhouse effect has not been observed.”

        No, +33°C is the figure commonly given for the approximate ground-level warming effect of natural GHGs in the Earth’s atmosphere.

      • “I don’t know whether it’s being handled correctly, but I don’t think it is neglected.” The calculations that I am talking about explicitely assumed that a doubling of CO2 will not change the lpase rate but it will. The lapse rate is a measure of the insulating effects of the atmosphere. The lapse rate is a function of the chat capacity of the atmopshere and gravity and has nothing to do with the LWIR absorption properties of component gases. Converting all CO2 in our atmosphere to its components, C and O2 would actially result in an increase in the insulation properties of the Earth;s atmosphere and would result in warming.

        “The climate alarmists are sure that the net effect is very strongly positive (i.e., “amplifying,” not meaning “good”). I’ve seen scant evidence of that.” The net feedback has to be negative for the Earth’s climate system to have been stable enough for life to evolve. The evidence is that we are here.

        “No, +33°C is the figure commonly given for the approximate ground-level warming effect of natural GHGs in the Earth’s atmosphere.” But the 33 degrees C figure has nothing to do with the LWIR absorption properties of so called greenhouse gases. The 33 degrees C is a function of the heat capacity of the atmosphere, the depth of the atmosphere and gravity which all come together to form a convective greenhouse effect. This convective greenhouse effect has been observed on all planets in our solar system with thick atmopsheres and it has nothing to do with the LWIR absorption properties of component gases. It is gravity that reduces cooling by convection.

      • Willhaas wrote, “The net feedback has to be negative for the Earth’s climate system to have been stable enough for life to evolve. The evidence is that we are here.”

        That is incorrect, but it is such a common point of confusion that I explained it in detail, on my web site, here:
        http://www.sealevel.info/feedbacks.html#definition
         

        If you think that 33°C is the temperature difference between the current Earth and the Earth with no atmosphere, then why do you suppose that the Moon is at least 90°C colder than the Earth (on average)? After all, the Earth and Moon receive the same amount of sunlight, and the Moon is quite a bit darker than the Earth, on average.

  13. Research Grant Money goes to any Idiot that mentions Global Warming or Climate Change. ROFLMFAO !!

  14. Search for ” blue carbon ” and you will find the topic having been supported by government grants that usually flow after the funding agency asks, with a Request for Proposals (RFPs), researchers to work on a topic.
    There is nothing new in this paper except to see how folks that never thought of climate change and CO2 can include all the buzzwords — 2 C°, sinks, and so on.
    If they used 97%, I missed it.

    Do the materials have a blue or blue-gray color, or does the name come from the notion that marshes and so on have a blue color? Chemistry might explain, if one’s chemistry is up to the task. Mine is not.

  15. I preferred the penis paper written by the “junk paper” computer program, also reviewed today. It’s twisted logic & use of jargon was funnier than this article. I rate it a C-. Even better is that the penis paper authors admit it is a hoax, which the authors of this tripe will never do.

  16. Tear down Seattle!
    Restore our ‘blue carbon’ coastal bogs!

    What we need right here is a paean to lost blue carbon…. Enjoy!
    Am I Blue? – George Strait

  17. The first line of the paper, pay-walled.
    “As the world begins its transition to a low- carbon economy, removing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) through biosequestration will be necessary to keep global warming under 2°C. “

    “Abstract

    To promote the sequestration of blue carbon, resource managers rely on best-management practices that have historically included protecting and restoring vegetated coastal habitats (seagrasses, tidal marshes, and mangroves), but are now beginning to incorporate catchment-level approaches. Drawing upon knowledge from a broad range of environmental variables that influence blue carbon sequestration, including warming, carbon dioxide levels, water depth, nutrients, runoff, bioturbation, physical disturbances, and tidal exchange, we discuss three potential management strategies that hold promise for optimizing coastal blue carbon sequestration: (1) reducing anthropogenic nutrient inputs, (2) reinstating top-down control of bioturbator populations, and (3) restoring hydrology. By means of case studies, we explore how these three strategies can minimize blue carbon losses and maximize gains. A key research priority is to more accurately quantify the impacts of these strategies on atmospheric greenhouse-gas emissions in different settings at landscape scales.”

    There is an interesting open access paper adjacent which concluded with a brief statement about rising sea level. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ecy.1628/full

    “Although we have characterized the effects of Sesarma at the creek heads as negative, because they kill plants and increase erosion, the overall effects of Sesarma on marsh geomorphology are likely positive. As sea level rises, the amount of water moving on and off the marsh platform with each tide (the tidal prism) increases. In the absence of a creek network with the capacity to handle this tidal prism, the likely result would be increased ponding of water on the marsh platform at ebb tide, which would be deleterious to marsh plants. Thus, by promoting creek growth, Sesarma may be increasing marsh resilience to sea level rise.”

    Some is mesocosm work and the R squares are often not very good, but it seems to be a fairly good paper, and at least points out the problem with “good and bad.”

    I may still have marsh mud molecules in my skin and the only “blue” I recall seeing on a marsh was a sheen from an oil spill. Natural marshes are full of hydrocarbons, but this reminds me of a slogan from a New Orleans group about “..keeping Lake Pontchartrain blue…” Number (3) above will ruin that, not that it was ever possible.

  18. These environments typically have insignificant TOC (total organic carbon) when preserved in the geologic record, so I’d say their “disproportionate” carbon sink meme might be a reach. I guess restoring habitats for increased biodiversity, better maintained fisheries, and preventing coastal erosion/creating sediment traps no longer brings in the environmental funds these days, now it has to be about your favorite color of carbon.

  19. There are decades of research on the flux of materials into and out of marshes, with the simplistic view abandoned long ago. The brown on the marsh shown in the picture will become wrack, might be some blue water over it in hurricane. It is not only research, but projects “engineering” habitats that chase the money. If these were bridges, some I know about would not be safe to drive on, the worst to walk on. Some of the problem is that it is not easy, but a lot seems to be from a lack of homework and using the environment as an excuse for other projects (Pork).

  20. As suggested by John F. I did a quick search since if I ever heard of blue carbon it must have bounced off. They don’t seem to know about the relatively new sequester fad about oysters, you get both nitrogen and carbon, if you can keep it. Let’s see calcium carbonate, maybe we need to sequester pH, somebody needs to write a paper. There is blue on the inside of some shells, forgot the compound.

    • Well, it is obviuos, is it not?
      Black carbon is inherently evil and malicious, always to blame all that faults earth. Deadly, even profitable in its malignantly evil ways of awesome death and disruption.
      Green carbon, of course, is friendly and supportive, elvish in its life-giving essence of wholesome goodness.
      Blue carbon is purifying and cleansing, evoking the memory of the ancient pure blue seas from which we sprung, and into which the land must return.

      /poetic pedantry and illusion.

  21. I agree completely: instead of “draining the swamp” in Washington DC, we need to tear it down and let it return to swamp. We must do it NOW…for the children.

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