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Carbon process: Upwelling

Updated Sunday, 7th May 2000

The turbulence of water in the oceans can send carbon on a journey.

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Iguana in the Galapagos Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright:

The deep ocean floor looks placid and undisturbed by movement, except for the occasional bottom-dwelling creatures. But, behind the calm, there are massive movements of water. And in that water, carbon is carried.

The deep sea currents transport dissolved carbon around the globe. This journey can take hundreds of years, until the carbon reaches certain parts of the polar and equatorial regions.

In places like the Galapagos Islands, winds cause the surface waters to move aside and sub-surface waters are drawn up to replace them.

The water often contains large amounts of dissolved carbon and other vital nutrients. The nutrients support an explosion of life, as the dissolved carbon is returned to the surface.





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