Without whales, we would breathe 50% less oxygen and 40% more CO2. Marine biologists have recently discovered that the largest animals on earth, whales, especially grate whale species, strongly affect the absorption of huge CO2 amounts in their lives.
One whale insulates 33 tons of carbon dioxide in its lifetime, which lasts 60 years on average. The tree absorbs 22 kg of CO2 in the same period.
Whale Waste Is a Valuable Food Source
The smallest being of the oceans is phytoplankton. An invisible miniature is a very important producer of oxygen on Earth. Phytoplankton reportedly captures about 37 billion tons of CO2 per year (40 percent of all CO2 emissions globally), producing at least 50% of all oxygen in our atmosphere. In compared, 1.7 trillion trees capture the same amount of CO2, that is equivalent to the four Amazon forests.
Microscopic phytoplankton lives in symbiosis with whales. Whale waste contains substances, mainly nitrogen and iron, that phytoplankton needs to grow. Minerals are brought to the surface of the ocean by whale natural movement.
More Whales, Less Greenhouse Gas
Estimates suggest that a significant amount of phytoplankton is in areas where whales are most prevalent.
According to International Monterary Fund report: “Protecting whales could add significantly to carbon capture because the current population of the largest great whales is only a small fraction of what it once was. Sadly, after decades of industrialized whaling, biologists estimate that overall whale populations are now to less than one fourth what they once were. Some species, like the blue whales, have been reduced to only 3 percent of their previous abundance. Thus, the benefits from whales’ ecosystem services to us and to our survival are much less than they could be.”
Only 1 percent of whale population growth will have a potentially significant impact on millions of tons of greenhouse gas reductions.
Source and credit: https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2019/12/natures-solution-to-climate-change-chami.htm, pixabay.com